I tell myself that this is the last time. I move in sync with his rhythm, I moan when he stops, I shudder when he resumes, I cry joyful tears in his arms when it is over. These are things I never do with the one at home. The one who will be waiting with dinner ready, the one who would have tucked in the kids, the one whose diamonds adorn my finger.
I make to leave and he pulls me back into bed.
‘We need to stop’ I tell him the same thing I tell him every other time.
‘I know.’ He replies. ‘After this one last time.’
He takes one nipple in his mouth and we are back where we started.
I watch him watching me; the mirror reflects the desire in his eyes and it is everything I can do not to get back into the bed I just left.
I do not kiss him goodbye. I know better than that.
The drive home is shorter than it seems. He is waiting for me in the dark, wine glass in hand.
‘Hello.’ he says as I walk in.
‘Hi! Did you have a good day?’ I say as I take off the jacket, remembering how the lover almost tore it off me a few hours ago.
My husband does not respond. The room is silent except for his breathing but I hear the words loud and clear. I hear the pleas in his inhalations. He exhales and the sadness I have soaked him in is a loud cymbal clanging against the ears of my heart. I stand and watch him take another sip of wine. The bottle in front of him is almost empty. This is what I have done to the man I swore to love and protect. He sits there, sprawled on the couch where my lover once took me. I want to take him in my arms. I want to promise him that this is the last time and mean it. I want to make it better.
‘I am sorry.’ I say.
He says nothing still.
‘It won’t happen again. This is the last time.’ I say even louder.
He continues to breathe.
‘I promise.’ I whisper.
We stay like that for I do not know how long. The clock chimes and reminds us of how time stops for no one; not even when we need it to.
He gets up and stumbles towards me. I catch him before he can fall. This is who I am meant to be, the one who breaks his fall, and not the one who trips him.
He takes me there on the floor. I do not move in sync with his rhythm. I do not moan when he stops to catch his breath. I do not shudder when he resumes. I do not cry joyful or sad tears when it is over. He does the crying and I just lay there and hold him, whispering promises that I cannot keep.