The Sex Edition: the Other Man 

Page 2 of 3

"I should have told you," she said. "That wasn't fair of me to keep secrets. I still like you, though."

I'm fairly certain I was the one who came up with the adult, reasonable idea that if we were going to continue to run into each other, the mature way to handle the situation was to talk about it someplace where we wouldn't be interrupted. Of course, I would never let her spend the night with me again, but — again, as adults — we should just come to an understanding about this obviously complicated problem.

That theory held up for about an hour at my apartment, while the rest of my half-empty bottle of Ten High whiskey drained away. There was some fumbling, and I started to walk her to the door. But before we got there, she dropped to her knees and started to tug me down by my belt buckle. She was looking away from me with an expression that I'll probably remember for the rest of my life: stoned, into the middle distance.

If your wife has ever cheated on you, or if you're the jealous type who imagines impossible scenarios of lovemaking and if, further, you have the right amount of self-hatred to imagine that you figure into these tableaus in some unflattering way ... I have some bad news for you. Based on my experience, you are probably right.

At first, I got lots of praise that was good for my ego. Then I started hearing why Rose got herself into the situation she was in. He doesn't listen. He stopped taking care of himself years ago. He finishes quickly, and on the extraordinary occasions he does go down on me, he treats the job like he's working a speed bag. There are oceans of false assumptions, perceived slights in your relationship, sexual dysfunction; the man who is fucking your wife will hear them all before the sun comes up.

Some time, when the sky was brightening, she lay there with her hands folded behind her head and her elbows pointed out like a starfish. "Does this feel like more to you?" she asked me. "It feels like there's something ... something more than just fucking."

That was the last time I let her into my apartment.

The rest of the semester, she occasionally sent me instant messages at work. Whenever this happened, I'd glance at her then look away as quickly, as if she were made of the same stuff as the sun. From the look on her face, she could've been editing the next day's police blotter. The messages always started out friendly, but if I responded, the tone shifted almost immediately, and she'd start asking when we were meeting again for drinks or letting me know the hours her husband stayed at work.

I felt bad for her husband but worse for her. I didn't care about my own role in things.

My internship was a disaster. I made a series of obvious journalistic mistakes and, by the end of the semester, lost hope that anything good would come from my time there.

"I've spent more time thinking about you than any other intern we've had," the editor told me in my exit interview. "I really have to encourage you to find something else. This is not the career for you. I'm not trying to be mean, but I'm not sure what is. You need to go back and find something else and forget about this."

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