End of Interlude

09 Aug

Polly lay on her back, still perceptibly shuddering. Her head was turned to the left, her eyes were closed, and her breath was already slowing down.

We’d pushed her white lace skirt up to her hips and her shirt up to her shoulders.  My shirt had landed on the floor among the debris that previously had formed an orderly layer on her guest bed. I don’t completely remember what it was. The debris, I mean. Pictures in frames, maybe. That seems plausible. Other things were occupying my attention. She’d wordlessly pulled me behind her down the stairs to the guest room with the silent understanding that her room was off limits, at least for this. With quiet, panting efficiency, we removed everything from the bed to the floor and stripped the comforter back from the sheets.  For the next half hour, we vocalized only in unformed syllables. Once we had achieved a practical level of semi-nudity, we’d stopped, as though by keeping our clothes by some loose definition “on,” we were not naked.

I rested my head on her thigh. I looked at her face. Her eyes were closed. I reached up to kiss her, and I reached down to my waist to unbuckle.

“No,” she said, flush with post-orgasmic sincerity. “I don’t want to be the sort of girl who cheats on her husband.” I looked at her, incredulous, speechless, and watched as she stood up. Absently, I remembered an article I’d read once. The author, a gay man writing about dating closeted men, talked at length about his sex strategy. You see, he’d learned it was a mistake to let his partner come first. Whenever that happened, the closet case in question would revert to heteronormative sexuality so fast that his shrill recriminations Doppler shifted, and the writer was left holding his dick. So to speak.

Polly replaced her glasses, and gravity pulled her clothes back down her slim body, leaving her looking just as she had before I’d arrived. She smoothed her hair. Maybe her top, a sleeveless Hello Kitty affair, was slightly more rumpled than it had been. She smiled at me, the one who was still half-naked.

I needed to assert myself. “Well, um,” I said, gesturing slowly and yet incoherently. “I thought we would, y’know,” and trailed off. That was what I said.

What I meant was, “What the fucking fuck.”

Still fully clothed, she smiled at me again and reached a soft hand out to touch me. Reluctantly, she got me where I was going. Where I was going turned out to be somewhere different from where I’d thought I was going. I’d have a long time to get used to it. We stripped the bed and she put the sheets in the washing machine. I thought to ask what she’d say if her husband thought to ask why she had decided to wash the presumably clean sheets on a presumably unused bed.

“Oh,” she said. “I’ve been meaning to clean those sheets for a while.” I supposed that was true.

Also, people who are not on the internet lie. Often we lie by saying things that are, at minimum, strictly factual. We had not gotten naked together, it was true. She had been meaning to clean those sheets for a while. I had not fucked her.

That isn’t what I thought about while I drove from Dayton to Columbus. I didn’t think about the time we spent in the guest bed either. What I thought about was Polly lying in the sun and knowing that in a minute or two she would take my hand and lead me downstairs.

I wouldn’t be able to afford gas for two weeks. I did think about that briefly, but I decided not to care.


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