Excerpt from the forthcoming release KNIGHTS OF PASSION: GRIFFIN
On the way to Alicia’s I stopped at Walgreens to pick up some condoms. As I scanned through the selections on the display rack I came across the Trojan Pleasure Pack. I got a flashback of the open box falling to the carpet from Phyllis’ tote bag, the evidence of her infidelity. If molten lava had suddenly rushed down the store aisle to wash over me that heat would have felt like ice as compared to the heat of anger flaring in my gut.
I hadn’t felt that mad when the event actually happened. But standing in front of the condom rack in Walgreens, it hit me hard. Our entire relationship had been a fraud and a waste of years of our lives.
Phyllis had wanted the big wedding. She got what she wanted and then some. She got her fairy tale. I wasn’t a part of her fantasy story, just a way for her to get there. After that she’d had no real use for me. Apparently that gave her justification to go out and fuck somebody else.
How did that happen? How did I ever allow myself to spend eight years with a woman I didn’t love and who didn’t love me?
I stood in front of the condom display, trying to remember loving Phyllis enough to want to marry her, trying to recapture the memory of how that felt. I remembered getting down on one knee before her and opening the velvet case that held the rock that cost me half a year’s salary. But emotionally, I came up with nothing. I couldn’t recall the feeling of the emotion that led me to that moment. That memory was dead.
What had it been like to love her?
I remembered the joy on Phyllis’ face when she saw the ring, a joy I would only see again as she walked up the aisle on her father’s arm. Her joy had been about that moment, not about merging her life with mine. I remembered feeling as she walked up the aisle that ours wasn’t a wedding—it was a show, a production. Phyllis was the star. I was an extra whose name wouldn’t even show up in the closing credits.
I didn’t care about that. I’m a man, and it was a wedding. I didn’t give a shit. But what bothered me was how we’d managed to sleepwalk through eight years of life together feeling nothing for each other. It was like our time together in each other’s space was just what we did while we waited to go live our real lives. My life was my work, making sure the bills got paid, going through the motions of being a responsible man and husband. Phyllis’ real life included riding a Trojan-clad dick while listening to Luther and Jill and other slow grooves on a CD titled For Lovers Only.
For lover’s only.
Only meant to the exclusion of something or many things.
From the moment after I’d proposed to Phyllis she’d excluded me. It hadn’t been about us anymore. I’d served my purpose. I’d gotten her there. That’s what made me stop loving her, those eight months of wedding preparation that warned me that I was only going to be a bit player in her life.
I should have called it off, walked the fuck away. Why did hell did I marry someone I didn’t love?
I wondered if Phyllis could sense it, that I didn’t love her. She never spoke on it. Was it because she didn’t care? Was I so insignificant to her that she couldn’t even bother to tell me she was unhappy? She hadn’t voiced any complaint about our life together. She just went out and fucked somebody else.
That’s what made me mad in Walgreens. Not that she’d cheated on me, but that she hadn’t cared enough to warn me. She never told me that she was unhappy, that she needed things from me to make her feel loved and of value. That hadn’t mattered to her, not coming from me.
She fucked me because we were married. And I fucked her. We did it to relieve pressure, to quiet our physical need. We didn’t play those love songs while we relieved our pressure. It hadn’t been about emotion. One of us needed to come and the other one was there, and we were legally authorized to do so. But it wasn’t about emotion or caring for each other. No, whatever dude wore the condoms from her Pleasure Pack received my wife’s emotions.
Phyllis was just like me. She hadn’t loved me, either. I couldn’t blame her for that. We can’t make ourselves be in love with someone. But what pissed me off was that I’d sucked it up and dealt with it and kept it within the confines of our marriage. Phyllis had to go out and fuck someone else.
She should have left me first. She should have told me she was unhappy or that she didn’t love me and ended our marriage so she could be with someone with whom she wanted to play love songs while they made love. She should have given me that respect. But she didn’t respect me enough to leave me first. She hadn’t respected me enough to bother.
That’s what pissed me off.
I could understand why some cheaters get murdered. Goddamn it, if you don’t want who you’re with and to be with someone else, just leave. Don’t add insult to the injury.
KNIGHTS OF PASSION: GRIFFIN
COMING DECEMBER 2015