Dear Wife of My Boyfriend,
I’m not sorry.
I’ve done countless undeniably repulsive things — all without an ounce of regret. I kissed him on the stoop of your house while your birthday party was blazing in the backyard. I didn’t wake him when he fell asleep after sex, so he’d spend the entire night in my bed. I made sure (you don’t want to know how) he stayed over far longer than he intended to and had to rush home at 3:30 a.m. without showering first. He must have reeked of my scent when he walked in your bedroom door. I took pleasure in knowing that.
It all started at the exact moment you think it did: the night we double-dated. Remember the way he made me laugh that night, how that made you feel? Your instincts were right.
For weeks, I kept it a secret. But one night, after too many tequila shots, I finally confessed the affair to my friend May. She’s married. She hates me now. “How could you, as a woman, do something like that to another woman?” she said. Most of my married friends who are women had the same indignant take. Funny, my married friends who are men were all for it. They envied me.
I never understood May’s assertion that there’s some sort of sisterhood I’m betraying. I don’t believe in a loyalty we all owe each other as women. I do believe that I owe it to myself to fall in love and stay in love for as long as is humanly possible. I wish someone else, in some other circumstances, had said it, but I actually agree with what Woody Allen said to justify schtupping his step-daughter. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
It’s been a year now since your husband broke up with me. He didn’t do it for you, or to save your marriage. He did it because our relationship had reached a point that it was causing me more pain than it was bringing me joy. He knew he would never leave you and the kids. He knew how much it hurt me every time he kissed me goodbye to come home to you. Cheating on you, he could live with. Hurting me, he couldn’t bear.
You hate me, I know, and you always will. But sometimes I wish we could talk. I wish we could sit at a bar and I could explain to you why we did what we did. If we could do that, if you and I could get drunk together, there’s one story I’d want to tell you. Because I’m not a bad person, I’m not a heartless person. I would tell you this story because it might give you some comfort or satisfaction or sense of vengeance or, most likely, a combination of all three to hear it.
One night, I was walking down 8th Street and I passed the restaurant you two go to on Friday nights. I looked through the window of the restaurant and you were at the window table. I glanced over at a moment that was so impeccably timed that if it had been a movie scene, it would have been one of those “yeah-right” moments people in the audience despise. I saw the expression on his face — that smile, the way his chin was tucked, that slightly inebriated and unmistakably seductive glint in his eye.
What I saw that night caused me as much pain as I could ever cause you. I saw that he loves us both.