I WAS STARING AT A penis.
I was staring at a penis, and yet I couldn’t actually comprehend what I was seeing. Which was weird, because technically that penis in question belonged to me. Not in the anatomical sense, but in the marital sense. As in, I’m familiar with that penis, I know that penis, I’m married to that penis, except . . . this penis is, in fact, doing something it really shouldn’t be doing.
Which was my husband’s secretary. Correction: administrative assistant. I was reminded of this fact last Christmas when I inadvertently introduced her to my mother-in-law as, “This is Daniel’s secretary.” She took the time to tell me her preferred title, which I appreciated, since I was ever so thoughtful when I came to visit my husband in his place of business.
His place of business where he was currently putting his penis into his administrative assistant.
It’s amazing how the human brain can compartmentalize when in shock. And speaking of being in shock, what they were doing couldn’t be good for that Chippendale antique desk I’d spent weeks scouring the finest stores and auction houses all over the greater Boston area to acquire so that my attorney husband would be able to host potential clients in a well-appointed office. An office that conveyed just the right amount of trustworthiness, attention to detail, and values above all, with just a touch of contemporary expertise.
And while I was compartmentalizing on the Aubusson rug, my husband of eight years was fucking his administrative assistant on that very desk. With a penis that belonged to me.
And not just fucking, creatively fucking. As in, bent over that desk. As in, pulling her hair. As in, riding her hard. As in, finding the little man in the canoe and making sure he came. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been creatively fucked by Daniel.
A Sunday afternoon after golf maybe once a month was what I got. Nothing creative. Now I see why.
I quietly shut the door, walked across the room with as much grace as I could muster, picked up the 2013 Red Sox World Series commemorative marble-tipped bat, and . . .
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?”
“Well hello to you, too. I guess you’re not dead. Jesus Christ, with the nine calls, four emails, and more ASAP texts than I can count, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” my best friend huffed good-naturedly. “Nice to know you’re still breathing.”
“I wouldn’t have called, emailed, and texted if I weren’t still breathing, Daisy.”
“Don’t you Daisy me in that tone. Did you forget I was in Patagonia?”
“As in the clothing company?”
“As in Argentina; remember, I told you I was going for work, and then you sang songs from Evita for several minutes? Also, don’t sing anything from Evita. For any amount of minutes. Anyway, Patagonia. Do you know how far away from literally everything that is? Look at the tip of the earth and move a smidge to the left. There’s barely electricity there, let alone a quality cell signal.” I had to hold the phone away from my ear slightly, as she was really getting worked up. “I was on a flight back that took a thousand years, got home, fell into bed, and am just now surfacing. I barely know what time zone I’m in.”
Argentina. Evita. I did remember that. Now. I’ve been so wrapped up in hastily scheduled appointments with a divorce attorney I spaced out on it.
Wow. Divorce attorney. Never thought I’d be here.
Really? You never thought it?
Thank goodness I didn’t have to answer that question right now. Daisy was still chattering in my ear about time zones and kids not being allowed in first class on transatlantic flights. Topics she was uniquely qualified to discuss.
My best friend, Daisy, was an architect, and currently living in Rome. She specialized in the environmental side, retrofitting, green technology, making old buildings work in the modern world without sacrificing the integrity of the original shell. I spied that last part on her business card on one of her few trips stateside. She traveled the world, met exciting people, was fiercely loyal to her friends, and one of my favorite people ever.
“I’m trying to kick the last of the jet lag out of my system with a jog, so I’m finishing up a run through the Borghese gardens. It’s blissfully empty of tourists at this time of day so I figured I’d call now. So, what’s with blowing up my phone?”
“I’m leaving Daniel,” I stated simply, dropping the bomb as I handed off the keys to the valet and headed into the country club to meet my mother-in-law. She had her housekeeper call me to request a meeting. On her turf. She didn’t actually say that, but it was certainly implied.
“Wait, what? You couldn’t have said what I think you said.”
“You heard me. I’m leaving Daniel. Or, I should say, technically, left.”
Grinning wide, I passed the greeter who held the door open. The answering smile I got back was thin at best. No doubt I was on some sort of blacklist, considering the word must already be out about the marital difficulties of one of their most prestigious members. Daniel’s family had belonged to this club since its inception. Naturally, the tribe was rallying around one of their own.
The two college kids at the coat check seemed to want to come out from behind the counter. To stop me perhaps? But their manners kicked in, and I strode with purpose past them. The greeter in the pro shop, however, scurried behind the desk and got out of sight.
“Hold on, just hold on a minute,” Daisy asked, sounding out of breath. “Lemme stop.” I pictured her then, jogging along the cobblestoned streets with her skintight yoga pants, turning handsome Italian heads with every stride. “Oh, Avery,” she sighed. She was never a big fan of Daniel, not even when we started dating back in college, but she never would wish this upon me.