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LJ Idol: Topic 4

“Nobody can ride your back if your back's not bent.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Being a woman is sticky sometimes, like the cotton candy residue that clings to your fingers long after the circus is over. It is both the memory of something sweet and the sadness that lingers because you know the elephants are trapped in a hot trailer somewhere behind the theater. The rancid smell of animal waist and the beauty of red lazor lights coexist somehow, mingled together to form something beautiful and terrible. Yes, some self-righteous feminist somewhere will read this and shout from the rooftops, calling for the swift revocation of my woman card, but it is true. We say we want to be equal, but somehow we all long for rescue, for salvation from our self loathing and brokenness. Any woman who says she has never wanted that is a liar.

Take infidelity for example. Ask any woman on the street what she thinks of those who participate in this unforgivable sin and you’ll get an overwhelming chorus of “off with their heads!” I can’t say I’d blame them. I’m not saying it is a virtuous act that is just misunderstood by society. It is wrong. But if I could look into the bedrooms of these same women, I bet I’d find a suspiciously large t-shirt in the hamper or a hastily scrawled love letter from someone else’s man in the bottom of her lingerie drawer. I was in that chorus once, the one that sang “I would never do that to someone” so loudly my voice grew sore with the effort.

Ryan was when I learned to never say never.

I still remember how it felt to love him, to know in the marrow of my bones that I was the one he was meant to love all along. I never started out wanting another woman’s husband in my bed. It began with a long drunken conversation sitting atop coin operated hotel washing machines. It sounds so cliche now, but he told me how she didn’t understand him and how she didn’t love what he loved. I told him things too: about how my back was bent by so many in my short twenty-two years. He held my hand, and I didn’t feel guilty. I wanted to rescue him, and I still believe he wanted to do the same for me.

I really believed he would leave her. I built a house in my head where we both would live with his daughter, making love in a bed that belonged to us at night when normal couples did it: not during stolen lunch breaks or predawn visits to my apartment. It would be complicated, sure. I was born into a family that is more of a grape vine than a tree, so I knew this more than most. But I wanted him so much it hurt. At first, I didn’t sleep with him. I held on to my virtue so tightly my knuckles turned white. But six long months of waiting and 3 AM phone calls and heavy promises pushed me to the edge, and I gave myself to him. I think when women imagine what infidelity feels like, they think it’s like giving someone a consolation prize for staying in a crumbling marriage. You’ve made it to year six of misery, have this lovely coffee mug. But it isn’t like that at all. The wrongness of it doesn’t change how skin feels on skin, hands on hips, heart on heart. It still feels like love, like something irresistible and honest, even if it is wrapped completely in deception.

It eventually erupted as affairs usually do, the molten lava of our passion filled volcano flowing down to burn us all alive. I still have scars, and I’m sure he does too. He ended it like good husbands do, and I must have called him five thousand times. I poured myself out with tears, feeling as if I’d be empty forever, knowing that she could never love him like I did. In the end, he got it all really; our friends, my secrets, the money I gave when she kicked him out for a brief three days. What did I get? A scarlet A on my breast and a bed filled to overflowing with loneliness. That still seems unfair to me somehow, as if I have the right to feel that way. What happens to equality when the floor falls out? I’d love to know.

I’m not trying to justify myself to anyone. I’m now married, and I can’t imagine the pain of that covenant destroyed. Marriage means something to me and it always has. I’m sure it meant something to Ryan too, even in the middle of all the lies to me and to his wife. I guess what I really want is for us all to stop pretending that our hands aren’t sticky and that our backs aren’t bent.

Is that too much to ask?

Comments

( 33 Tattoos — Write a Song )
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eska818
Apr. 7th, 2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant, and I love your way with words.
____hejira
Apr. 7th, 2014 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you so so much. Writing like this makes me vulnerable, and that is hard for me.
muchtooarrogant
Apr. 7th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
You did a great job of telling what is obviously a very personal story.

My own thought about the chorus of people decrying infidelity is, "You'd never know it, but all those people have to be cheating with somebody."

Well done.

Dan
____hejira
Apr. 7th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading and for commenting. It is really appreciated to know my words aren't falling on deaf ears. I don't know what it is about LJI that drags this stuff out of me, but there you have it.
mistearyusdiva2
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:24 am (UTC)
I could totally relate .... Part of the never say never bandwagon ... you brought out your vulnerability with the right mix of words and emotions.
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I love words. I'm especially proud of this one. Kind of disappointed it didn't get more votes, but I'm still glad I wrote it.
similiesslip
Apr. 8th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
I'm sad you got hurt. I do think no one can truly say how/what they would do unless they are in the situation.

You really write beautifully.
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It's very nerve bending to publish a piece like this on the internet, and frankly sometimes I'm not sure why I do it, but it's nice to know people read it and enjoy it.
dusty_chenille
Apr. 8th, 2014 01:50 pm (UTC)
Intense. Can totally relate. Great job with the topic, too.
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading. I'm glad I wrote it. Cheap therapy ;).
cheshire23
Apr. 8th, 2014 03:24 pm (UTC)
I never started out wanting another woman’s husband in my bed.

I don't think it does, generally. It's not about that, it's about the specific person.
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:37 pm (UTC)
I think that's something people forget though. It doesn't make it right, but we lose nuance sometimes in the way we see wrongdoing.
sarcasmoqueen
Apr. 8th, 2014 06:24 pm (UTC)
Nicely done, although you do have a couple of grammatical errors in your first paragraph that you might want to correct (waist instead of waste, and lazor instead of laser)
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:38 pm (UTC)
Good eye. That's what I get for not reading this in Braille before posting. Thanks for the comment and for reading.
kajel
Apr. 8th, 2014 06:36 pm (UTC)
Being a woman is sticky sometimes, like the cotton candy residue that clings to your fingers long after the circus is over.

I really love this line. Well done.
____hejira
Apr. 11th, 2014 07:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much.
beautyofgrey
Apr. 8th, 2014 11:46 pm (UTC)
Nicely done. Life is so much more grey than it is black and white.
snarkerdoodle
Apr. 8th, 2014 11:48 pm (UTC)
It still feels like love, like something irresistible and honest, even if it is wrapped completely in deception.

This was an excellent line in particular. :)
kagomeshuko
Apr. 9th, 2014 02:09 am (UTC)
This was sad . . .
whipchick
Apr. 9th, 2014 02:53 am (UTC)
"he got it all really; our friends, my secrets, the money I gave" - this is such a heart-rending sentence. I like how you make the pain and bad choices on both sides clear and without judgment.
soprano1790
Apr. 9th, 2014 06:43 am (UTC)
This is extremely heartfelt. It seems overly simple to say so, but thank you for sharing.
eternal_ot
Apr. 9th, 2014 07:16 am (UTC)
This really hit home with me...absolute truth!..*Hugs*
jem0000000
Apr. 9th, 2014 07:46 am (UTC)
*hugs*
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( 33 Tattoos — Write a Song )

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