Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stealing Moments...(Or, making time for you...)

The message music plays.

I get happy, because it's you. We talk all day, through work and play, speak about whatever may...

Come on! I was just joking. You know that. We laugh, laugh some more. Talk about whatever will...

Be that as it may, it's still new to me, to you, to us. Stole a whole day away from it all, just me and...

You know how you get that funny feeling? Like, when a new friendship blooms? I had it all that day. Excitement, nervousness, especially when I touched...

Your hand was by your side. A couple of times, I wanted to reach out, thought it might have been too early, you know? Sometimes, you never know when the time is right, or maybe it never will be...

Right now, I'm talking to you. Waiting on your response to silly questions, serious questions, and the like. We started talking about relationships and I started to wonder about a relationship between me and...

You said that you have high standards. I applauded you for that. Deep in my mind, I wondered if I could pass that test, with flying...

Colors of that day, the greens and purples and yellows and blues stay in my mind. Man, that was the most fun I've had in a long...

Time seems to fly when I see you. Get the urge sometimes to spend every moment with you, only because you seem to "get" me. Same music, same tastes, and I've got to admit, you look good, but it's not all about the...

Physical things we did weren't much. Shook hands here, maybe a hug there. All I can think about is the last time we saw each other. We hugged three times and each time I wondered if it would be a crime to steal a...


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Day After (Or, I forgot to give you this...)

EDIT: This is part two. For part one, click here.




Dr. Wright looked at us. Just stared.

I was about to lose my mind. After I told her everything that happened last night from my point of view, all she has to say is "Interesting"?

Dr. Wright asked us as we plowed in office an hour ago why was there two new additions to her Saturday afternoon session. That's when I told her what went down.

Marisa was bouncing her leg like a furious woman. She sat beside me on one love seat. Across from us, were Robert and Natalie. I haven't said two things to my wife since yesterday. Natalie was almost vacant. Staring out of the window, chewing on her nails, she wasn't involved in the conversation at all, she just told Dr. Wright to ask me what happened.

"Natalie," Dr. Wright finally quizzed, "Is there something that you can add to this?"

Nat huffed. "I don't really have anything to say to that cheater."

I sneered at her. "Cheater? Last night was the FIRST time I've ever stepped out on you! How long have you and Robert been going at it, huh?"

Robert looked at me as if he wanted to hit me. "Hey, don't bring me into this."

Marisa snapped, "Oh, you were already in this, the minute you started with her. So, answer the question, husband. How long have you two been seeing each other behind our backs?"

Dr. Wright looked over at Robert, and waited for an answer.

He wrung his hands together. The look of worry and fear washed over him for a quick second. "Since the first night I met her."

Me and Marisa both dropped our mouths open at the same time.

Robert began. "It was... sudden. She excused herself to the bathroom. And I got that call from the office, remember? I went to the phone area, and called the office back. As soon as I hung up, she walks out of the bathroom, looking... weird. I asked her if she was ok, and she asked me how I could handle you two being friends. I told her that sometimes I couldn't handle it. It always seemed like Marisa was closer to you than me." He looked at me right in my eyes. "She agreed, said that she felt that way sometimes, and that she wished you would talk to her the way you talked to Marisa. So, we exchanged contact information. At first, it was lunch meetings. Then, we started seeing each other after work. One night, about 5 months ago, we just kissed. And since then, we've been seeing each other. I love Natalie." He held her hand. "The same way you love Marisa."

I couldn't hold it any longer. "That's why we've only had one dinner date together?!? Because you two couldn't keep it together while you were around us?!?" I pointed at Natalie. "You. You lied. Told me that we were drifting apart because I didn't understand how hard you had to work. That's the reason we ended up here in the first place-"

Dr. Wright cleared her throat. "I must apologize, but I'm going to cut this short. This is getting out of hand. Also," she looked at Natalie, "you lied to me about why you needed marriage counseling. And that, young lady, I cannot condone. Ladies, gentlemen, you can use the room as long as you like, but I say good day to all of you." And with that, she stood up, and walked out.

I stood up. "So, what now? What are we gonna do?"

Natalie looked at me. "I loved you. Loved you, even though I knew it wasn't going to work between us. Married you, even though I knew you cared for Marisa more than you did me. Tried marriage counseling, even though I knew it was my fault we were breaking down. I love you now. I always will. With that being said, it's a couple of things you might need to know before we end this."

Marisa looks at Natalie. Natalie smirks at her.

"Natalie," Marisa says softly, "don't do this..."

I look at Marisa, then look back at Natalie.

"Robert wasn't the first person I cheated on you with. Marisa was."

The initial shock took my breath away. I stammered. "I....I-I......what?"

Robert had tears in his eyes. He stood up, took off his wedding ring. "Marisa, you can have the house. I just want my stuff and the car. That's it. You'll get everything else. I'll send the papers through my lawyer. Natalie, we are through. I can't be with someone like you. It was.... fun. But it's over." He looks at me, somberly. "I hope that you can make it through this. And I feel for you, I really do. I apologize for putting you through this. Hopefully, you can forgive me. One day." And with that, he places the ring in Marisa's hand, and walks out of the room.

I look at Marisa. I wanted to slap the taste out of her mouth. My face felt hot. I couldn't think properly.

Natalie continued. "It was after our honeymoon. Marisa called you and you guys talked for about 3 hours, laughing and chuckling. And even though the conversation wasn't private, not in the least bit, I still wanted to know what she had that I didn't. So, I called her the next evening. I told her I needed to meet up with her, talk to her about you. She agreed, and we met at her house. Robert wasn't there, he was out. I told her straight up that I wanted to see what you saw in her. She broke it down, told me that you loved me, more than you ever loved anyone else, including her. I asked why did you two seem so close and why couldn't I feel some of that closeness. I wanted to see her love from her point of view. We kissed-"

Marisa yelled, "That's enough, Natalie! Stop, don't do this to him!"

Natalie snapped right back. "Do what? It's already done, and you helped it out. I want my husband back, I want to work it out with him." She looks at me. "I love you. Please, forgive me, let's just work this out, I know we can make it work."


She cried out, "No?!? Why not? Baby-"

"Don't. Don't even think for one second that you can come back... after all of this... you betrayed me, slept with my best friend, slept with her husband... and yet, you think it's something salvageable out of this? Am I supposed to just lay down and forget everything? Go home. Pack your stuff. Get out. Go to your mother's. Go to Diane's. Just go. Don't be there when I get there."

Natalie bursts into tears. She runs from the room.

I stand, back to Marisa, looking out of the window.

She walks up behind me, places her hands on my shoulders.

"Don't touch me. Traitor. How could you do this? To ME?!? I'm supposed to be your best friend. How could you keep this from me? You knew. YOU KNEW. All along, you knew. You knew when I came to you about going to marriage counseling. You knew when I was breaking down, slowly, but surely. You said NOTHING. What do I have left? What did you gain out of this? WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?" I was breathing heavily. Hot tears streaked down my face.

"Because I love you. And I wanted you for myself. I planned it from the beginning. Robert was cheating on me long before he met Natalie. Natalie confided in me that night that she doesn't think it's gonna work between you two, because she doesn't love you enough to spend the rest of her life with you. I slept with Natalie, knowing that she'll do anything to keep that secret from you, including coming to marriage counseling. So, that night she met Robert, Robert played himself to a T. He hit on her when they both disappeared from the table. She fell for it, because she's a sucker for a cute face. Now, it's just me and you. We can finally admit our feelings for each other. Start over, start a relationship, and a family."

I looked at her as if she was possessed by the devil. "You LOVE me? I don't think you even know the meaning of the word. 12 years of friendship, and you throw it away because you were too scared to tell me. Start a relationship? With you? You must be crazy." I walk towards the door. "You ruined my life. I have nothing to go home to but empty drawers and echoing walls. I should slap you, choke you, make you feel all my pain. But I'm not. I'm going to leave you with this: I hope you find someone who truly loves you. Loves you more than anything else in this world. And when you finally decide to spend the rest of your life with him, he leaves you. Just like I am. Good luck, Marisa."

I walk out of the office and head towards the elevator. I hear the sobs come from the other room. Every fiber of my being wants to go console her, tell her I was wrong, that maybe we could work through this, that maybe I can be the one that can be her love forever. But the elevator doors close.

Oh well.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Aniversary (Or, a million and one questions...)

Friday afternoon, 3:19PM

I walked into my office, ready to file the last of my papers and jet. I was ready to have a weekend with my wife, alone, something I have done with her since... well, since we got married. With her always working, I was always at home on the weekend, watching SportsCenter like it was going out of style.

But not this weekend.

It was our anniversary weekend. She told me she took off from her residency, she's "accidentally" leaving her BlackBerry and pager in her desk at work, and gonna concentrate on me and her.

Almost twelve months of marriage, and 3 of those, we spent in marriage counseling. We needed it. As a doctor on call, she wasn't home all the time. I filled the lonely space as much as possible, with hobbies, friends, and a lot of Xbox 360. It wasn't always like this, she was home more often, well, until the head doctor at the hospital quit all of a sudden. That was about a month after the honeymoon. Then, it went from cooking dinner for her and eating together to fast food for me, and the vending machine for her. A lot of sleepless nights followed, waiting up for her. That turned into me going to bed at 9PM. She rarely beat the sun home. 18 hour days. Spent the rest of her free time sleeping alone because I was at work.

But all of that was gonna change. I truly believed it.

After filing the last of my papers, I sit at my desk, and check my email for the last time. Two emails. One from Stanley, telling me that he needs someone to come in tomorrow, and if I could do it, it would help him out so much.


The second came from Marisa, my partner here at the office. She was letting me know to relax and have fun this weekend, and that if I need Monday, let her know and she'll cover for me. I laugh and shake my head. She's been my friend since freshman year in college. Marisa knew all about my issues. She caught me once or twice having a moment, and she consoled me. We were friends after all, been so for 12 years and I enjoyed going out with her and her husband Robert when I was invited. Robert met Natalie once when we went to dinner together. They seemed to hit it off well, and I was hoping that we could become friends, all of us.

It'll come when it comes.

I shut my computer down, grab my coat, walked down to Marisa's office and knocked on the door. I cracked it open, peeked my head in and overheard her and her husband having a.... discussion. That's what she called them, anyway.

"Robert, we had reservations tonight at The Real Folk Blues. No, I can't just call them back and get refunds for the tickets. They're booked solid for the next week, you know it's The Roots tour coming, and after that, Erykah Badu will be here. No, I don't want to go by myself, what's the point? No, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. You couldn't say no?" She notices me and waves me in. I closed the door behind me. She sighs and says "Ok, fine. I'll call and cancel. No, it's fine, really. No, don't worry, I'll be fine. No. No. Ok. Go. Love you, too. Bye."

She hangs the phone up, shaking her head.

"Well, my plans are shot to hell. You out of here?"

I smile sheepishly. "Yeah, I'm done. Natalie should be at the house getting ready. I'm sorry to hear you won't be there tonight, it would've been fun, the four of us."

"Yeah, I really wanted to see Andre' 3000 tear the house down tonight. At least you and Nat should be getting down and having fun. Looks like it's me, some Ben and Jerry's and Tyler Perry. Are you excited?"

I smile like a kid at a candy store with 20 bucks. "You know it. Haven't been on a real date since... since we all went out last time. Shame I had to think about it, you know?"

She smiles at me too. "Yeah, but all of that will be erased this weekend. Go, get out of here. Go fix your marriage. Call me, let me know how the show goes."

I open the door. "I will, thanks. Have a good weekend."

"You too."

I go to the parking garage, put my briefcase in the car, and get ready to go home when my phone rings. It's Nat, but it's the hospital number. I knew I shouldn't have answered it, but I did anyway.


"Babe, I'm so sorry."

"How late are you gonna be?"

There was a long pause. "I'm not going to make it tonight."

I snap. "Damn it, Nat, it's our anniversary. Our ANNIVERSARY. And you're gonna work through it, huh? Just like that."

"Hey, don't get mad at me. And stop yelling at me. It's my JOB. I have to be here, and I'm sorry. I'll make it up to you, I promise."

I suck my teeth. "Yeah, ok. Bye." I hang up the phone. I couldn't continue to go through this. I kick the car out of anger. I hear a voice fall out of the sky.

"Hey, calm down. You ok?

It was Marisa. I turn around and let her know what was going on. She comes and hugs me.

I vent. "Why does she think that she has to play SuperWoman and save the hospital? The place won't fall apart if she's not there for 1 damn weekend. I need her. Her husband. Can't they understand that?"

Marisa looks at me, sees how defeated I feel. "Hey, look. No need for these tickets to go to waste, and both of us being at the house isn't gonna cure anything. Let's go. Me and you. We can just kick it, like we did in college."

"I don't know..." I sigh.

"Hey, come on. If you don't go, I'm gonna eat all the snacks in the house. And when I come back to work Monday, I'm gonna look like I gained 50 pounds, and you know I don't like to erase all the exercise I did this week."

For some reason, that struck me as funny. I laugh out loud. She always had that ability to make me laugh. "Ok," I agreed, "We'll go. I'll stop by and pick you up at 6?"

She smiles. "6:15. You know a sister is gonna be late getting ready."

Friday night, 10:37PM

We arrived at The Real Folk Blues at 6:35. The place was already packed, waiting for Andre' to come shut it down. We sat down, ate, stood up, danced, laughed at the people coming in looking as if they came for a school dance. Andre' came over after his set and hung out with a group of us, signed some autographs, and bounced.

Marisa wore a sexy, ankle length A-Line dress with some 2 inch heels. She was looking very nice. Standing model-like, she was almost as tall as me. Without the shoes, she was 5'8", light skinned. Half Black, half Spanish, she was a natural mix, and while you had no problem noticing that she was Black, guessing what she was mixed with was an exercise in futility. People guessed everything from Puerto Rican to Dominican to Mexican, and she loved when people said Mexican, because she liked to correct them and let them know her father was from SPAIN, not Mexico.

"I feel under dressed with you tonight. If I had know you were gonna go all out, I would've done more than throw on some slacks and a button up."

She laughed. "Hey this was for Andre'. If I wasn't married.... whew. All types of sexy, that man is. ­¡Muy caliente!"

I shake my head, smiling all the while. "You are crazy. Well, it's cleared out some now, they getting ready for the live set, you ready to go?"

She frowned playfully. "You not going to dance with me? What if I don't want to go home right now?"

"Hey, I don't want to go either. But we aren't night owls, and I know you can fall asleep at the drop of a dime."

She nods her head. "You're right. Come on, let's go." We start walking to the parking lot, talking along the way.

"Marisa, I wanted to thank you for dragging me out tonight. I really appreciate it. It got my mind off my marriage for a minute, and I guess I needed that, so, thanks."

"Hey, it's not a problem. Besides, you saved me from a night of gaining pounds and crying my eyes out at Daddy's Little Girls. So, really, I should thank you." She reaches for my hand, and we hold hands on our way to the car.

"Where did we go wrong in our marriages?" she wondered. "I mean, I think I'm a pretty good wife, and I know you're an excellent husband. But it's like our spouses don't even want to be around us. I don't get it. Did I do something wrong?"

I shake my head. "No, don't blame yourself. We're just married to two workaholics. There's nothing wrong with that, yet, there's everything wrong with that. It's almost like I'm in a long distance relationship with my wife, yet we live in the same house."

"Why didn't we get together?"

I was completely taken aback by her question. "Huh?"

She kept going. "You would've expected us to get together and at least date. I mean, look, we've known each other since freshman year in college. You haven't even made so much as an awkward pass at me. At first, I thought it was because I wasn't your type, you know, and then I realized that it was because you saw me as a true friend. But I wondered if you ever thought about us... at least once...."

I sighed. Swallowed the pool of saliva that had formed in my mouth. "I would be lying if I said I didn't think about being with you. But, I mean.... I don't know..."

"I'm lonely. I haven't slept beside my husband for months. Can't remember the last time I felt his touch. You know, the UPS guy touched my hand the other day, and I felt... wow. And he's not even all that cute. I can't even believe I'm even thinking about this... but I need to feel wanted. Tonight, you made me feel good. Wanted. And I just want to know.... I mean, I need to know.... am I still desirable? If no one else wants me... does my best friend want me?"


She interrupts me. "And I'm not asking for you to start an affair. Well, maybe I am. I'm actually thinking about stepping out on my husband, but I need something, I need this, you need this. Don't you want to feel wanted too?"

"I love her, Marisa. I don't think this would be fair-"

"Fuck fair. It's not fair I can't even be a wife to my husband. And it's definitely not fair that your wife can't even take off on your anniversary, to try and let her husband act like he is her husband."

I sigh. "I can't remember the last time we were intimate. It's like I'm living by myself, or with a roommate that's never there, just shows up to pay rent and leave. Every time I try to get something started, she claims she's tired. I tried going to the counselor by myself, ask what I could do, and she doesn't help."

She grabs my hand. "Come home with me. Please. Between friends. I need you." And with that, she kisses me. Slowly at first, as if to test the waters. I pause, unsure if I want to take it there. Our first kiss was an unsure one.

Our second kiss was way more passionate. I kiss her, she kisses me, tongues moving back and forth. She wraps her arms around my neck, and I hear a soft moan come out of her mouth. I stop her, look into her eyes.

"I've always wanted you. I just thought I ended up in the friend zone with you, that we could never have an opportunity together. I had dreams about being with you, want to touch your skin, kiss your lips..."

"Then take me home. And let's enjoy each other's company. I want you," she states.

I've never driven so fast in my life.

Friday night, 11:12PM

We arrive in front of her house. I get out of the car, she's already standing outside of her door. We start kissing again, and while kissing me, she fumbles for the keys. Opening her lock, we push our way inside. She closes the door with her left foot, then places her left leg on my hip.

We kiss more and more, moving our way to the couch. She hikes her dress up and takes off her thong. I take my coat off and she unzips my pants. I can't believe that we're going here, after 12 years of friendship. She pushes me on the couch, and straddles me. I'm deep inside of her. I can hear that initial moan, I can feel that first shudder. She kisses me, and starts to ride me. Slowly, moving very deliberately, wanting to control the situation and the speed and the depth.

Her face is glowing, her eyes locked onto mine. My vision is getting blurry, she's swimming in and out of focus. She smiles. I close my eyes, feeling that first climax coming from deep inside me. I hear her say "I love you." But that wasn't Marisa's voice.

It was Natalie's.

My eyes shoot open, and Marisa has stopped completely. She starts breathing heavily, more than she was, almost hyperventilating. Then we hear the second voice say "I love you, too."

That was Robert's voice. And it came from the kitchen.

We both look over towards the kitchen and see Robert and Natalie, naked, kissing, holding hands. A sharp breath escapes from Marisa. I feel my face getting hot.

Robert sees us first. His smile melts away slowly. Natalie notices this, and her face shows concern, until she looks at us.

And the four of us, looking back and forth at each other, each one not believing what just transpired, each one finding answers to questions they had, and having a million more taking their place, has just realized what was going on the whole time.

I don't think that the marriage counselor will be ready for this.


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