One by one, they are coming out of the closet.
One by one, they are making confession.
One by one, they unbutton their shirts and reveal the big scarlet A,
rampant across their chests in a radiant rash.
One by one, they admit they are married.
Not all of them. The ones who give their full names seem to be ok. They lack the sense of danger that keeps women from responding with their own names to an ad on craigslist that could be from who knows what pervert. (Well, ok... I suppose I shouldn't be casting aspersions on perverts when I'm in love with one myself.)
The men who just give their first names... the men who uses aliases... they live on the cheating side of town.
There have been a few open marriages other than the guy I went out with on Saturday. One guy's wife is in the Middle East for the State Department, and has permission to see other people while she's gone. Another man's wife is disabled, and has given him leave to get his needs met in a don't-ask-don't-tell arrangement. A third has leave to see girls to deal with his kinky urges.
And before you sound dubious, yes - I do believe them. There's something about the way they tell their stories... yes, sure, I could be wrong. But they make sense.
And then there's the editor.
Except I should really call him something else.
Not directly from Ireland.
Irish like the philosopher.
Older, though, with a beautiful head of grey hair.
Uses words like the philosopher does.
Even his voice is like the philosopher's.
So of course, he's married.
And perhaps going through a midlife crisis.
We were going to have lunch today, after flirting wildly on e-mail all yesterday. He knows what to say. He knows how to say it. He uses the little trigger words... he called me baby girl. No one has ever called me baby girl. Who knew it would make me curl up inside... I was ready to agree to anything.
He e-mailed last night, wild with desire, begging for my address. And then he phoned. The family was asleep and he could have been here in 20 minutes. I imagined old ballads, a ladder at my window: Let me come in, the soldier cried. Cold blow and the rainy night... I was exhausted and I was tempted and I was laughing and I was tempted...
And I said no way. I learned my lesson with the photographer. No way I'm having anyone over without first having met him in a public place. And really, he was so funny, he was so desperate, he's so attractive, he's the kind of man I can't resist...
We were still supposed to meet for lunch today, although there was always the chance he wouldn't have time. And he e-mailed this morning that in fact a lot of things had come up, and he hadn't gotten a whole lot done yesterday (gee, I wonder why...) and I haven't heard anything since then. I suspect he's maybe embarrassed at losing his head last night.
And I wonder if that means I won't hear from him again.
Which I would really regret.
Because the way he made me feel
the way he wrote
it's been a long time since I've felt that way,
since I've had e-mails like that.
And when he phoned
although I knew it had to be him
- I knew it had to be him -
it sounded like
the only voice