THE LAST DECEPTION
written by: TM DiSarro
Here I am once again, counting white lines on the highway and thinking about you while I'm driving. Nothing ever changes. Imprints on imaginations as if it were yesterday.
It's always been that way with me. It's getting harder to dwell in the present tense as the hungry past surrounds me...
There were many nights like this where we would be driving off somewhere together to steal away in the corner of some kozy night club, coffee shop, or parking in secret places in secluded bliss. Driving to meet you and anticipating the radiance of your smiling face, your arms around me, your sweet kisses on my lips, or the scent of your perfume. Nothing in all of my world mattered within that beautiful space in time than to hold you or to be with you or to love you.
We had this intense connection from the first moment our eyes met. Conversation flowed effortlessly with never a loss for words. No one I had met up to that point in my life ever spoke to me the way you did. You always had something nice to say and always made me feel alive.
It was all so stressless, reckless and wild in the moment, a lovely space in time where things fell into place that probably should have been left standing. Was it my own creation or yours? Was it love, lust or self destruction? The drawing in from one person to the other like persistent gravity.
I've heard people describe themselves as soul mates before and often thought that it could have been true in our situation. More than likely, it was all just a cosmic string of coincidences. It was brilliant none the less. A time of wicked clarity, like stars aligning or some such nonsense.
It was starting to rain and I turned on my wipers. Heavy at first, to the point where I had to pull to the side of the road, then trickling to a gentle tapping playing along to the rhythm of the wiper blades. I told my wife that I had to attend a last minute business meeting. Though I had used this type of excuse to see you in the past, she had no reason to doubt that I was telling her the truth.
Why you and I were attracted to each other is hard to define. My wife was definitely attracted to me when we first met. Unfortunately, I was not so much attracted to her. It was physical to say the least, sexual to be sure. Her affections sort of overwhelmed me and in hindsight, I followed her lead and went along with her seduction because I was a different person then.
But was I so different now?
Thinking back there are so many laws of attraction that came into play. A smile line or a space between teeth, the length of eyelashes, hair color, an accent, or maybe intellect. In our situation, attraction would lead to flirtation, flirtation would lead to questions and then to conversation. Long discussions about life, politics, travel and living. I remember watching your mouth as you spoke, your body language, the way you used your hands to get your point across.
Then our conversation took on a life of its own, especially over emails. Level by level, more intimate than the next, until we were talking about things that we probably shouldn't have been talking about.
Eventually, intimate conversation manifested itself into action from talking about exciting things like kissing, or what we like about each other, our fantasies, what we wanted or needed sexually or otherwise, and then all at once, we purposely tumbled recklessly down a path into each others arms.
At this time of the evening the traffic was horrendous, bumper to bumper. I thought that I would never get to you. Before me black asphalt, white lines, red lights and stop and go redundancy.
You told me that you loved me and caught me by surprise, I was floored to say the least, but happier than I had felt in years. The words "I love you". Words I convinced myself I was missing. I knew straight out that I was in love with you as well. Up to that time, I can't recall actually ever falling in love with anyone, including my wife.
The fact that you and I worked together did not help our situation, and I found myself making excuses more and more so that we could be together.
As our affair intensified, my wife and I became more distant, especially after the first time you and I kissed. That one beautiful event changed the dynamics of our relationship forever, as far as forever went.
Falling for you was such a huge departure from my character. I wasn't the type of person who could easily split myself between two people, so after I kissed you everything changed. I had never been unfaithful to anybody and I quickly found I could no longer kiss my wife in the same way.There was nothing there. My feelings were scattered, especially for or her, and she immediately took notice. There was no longer any intimacy to speak of because, like some changeling from days gone by, my affections had been transferred to you. You were now my source of intimacy, you were all I wanted to be with. It was all you, my sole focus, like some refined obsession, not madness, but close.
There was some kind of an accident up ahead, seems like an ambulance wanted to get by, lots of rubberneckers slowing things down, nothing really to see but enough to make them gawk and cause aggravation. It was starting to get dark and I was thinking that maybe I would miss you all together.
The age difference between us was all at once exciting and strange and we both convinced ourselves that it was a non issue. We had twenty years distance but it didn't matter. In my head it was easy, you were 21 and crazy head over heals in love with me. Everything I said or did was interesting to you. Something in your attraction to me I was missing in my marriage that I didn't realize at the time.
You were equally as interesting sharing my love for music and creativity and we could talk about anything. You were so smart, sexy, and centered. There was some common ground to build on to be sure.
That's the story I tell myself.
There were in fact many interest we shared at the time and you inspired me like some muse the old poets write about. More than likely, I was probably bending time and circumstances to fit within my own twisted universe. You can justify anything when passion takes hold.
The rain was letting up now and fading to a gentle mist against my windshield.
This love would have been all well and good if we had been both single. If you're married like I was and dug in with a child and responsibilities and have a wife that has been with you through the good times and the bad times, then it's quite a different picture. Unless you're a complete psycho and void of any feeling, or sense of responsibility, or sense of right and wrong, good and evil, or whatever you will, then sooner or later guilt makes an appearance and dogs you day in and day out for the way you are behaving.
The exit was coming up and traffic was finally letting up a bit. The exit was about 2 miles away and it was dark now.
Guilt is the great equalizer, it slinks and slides like a serpent twisting emotions and tripping you up, making you lie, one lie slithering to the next like a chain smoking devil that eventually ties you up until you can't keep track of the legion of lies you've created. Unless you are extremely smart or have the mentality of a serial killer, it's tough to keep up that kind of charade. That's not me, as much as I wanted to think of myself as a rebel heart, I'm so average and middle of the road it's pathetic.
You were the first to raise the subject of leaving and going on a great adventure. You wanted to see things, to see the world, to conquer the world, and you wanted me to go with you. Leave everything behind and drive off into the sunset. You loved me and told me continuously, something I thought I needed to hear. In retrospect, I thought I loved you at the time, but truly loved you when you were gone. I'm the type of guy that likes familiar routines and I'm most comfortable not going outside my comfort zone. To be true, your sense of adventure scared me. I could make any number of excuses to justify my love for you, but I could not justify walking away from the life I had built with my wife and daughter, as boring and ordinary as I thought it had become.
I got off the exit turn right onto Main Street and made my way down to your location. According to my GPS you were exactly one hour and a half away from my home.
I never really told you how close I was to leaving her. I tried so hard to convince myself that the place to be was by your side, but I keep coming back to the fact that we did not want the same things. In the flesh I wanted them, in my dreams I did, and in the moment I was truly lost and didn't want to be rescued. When I was making love with you I felt I could follow you to the ends of the earth. But in reality, I just couldn't do it. Like I said, we can justify anything, do all things in the heat of passion, make magnificent plans and dream wonderful dreams, and online create a complete and fulfilled universe. But ultimately, that world is a fairytale, like something out of the movies. It's all an illusion.
More traffic and rain picking up again...
I never told you the whole reason why I blindsided you and decided to end it, I guess it was a way of me saving face and not looking weak. In the long run, I think you would have respected my honesty as opposed to hiding behind my pride. If you tear down the inherent nature of our affair, it was built on deception. Me deceiving my wife and deceiving myself, and you deceiving yourself in believing you could get me to run away with you. If we would have stayed together and built a perfect life, the foundation of that life would have been built upon a lie. Sad to put it that way, but it's true. This moment in time we shared, as wonderful and glorious and hot and intense as it was, in its essence, was a deception.
The building you were in was a few blocks away and the anticipation was literally killing me. I felt anxious and found it difficult to breathe...
When my wife finally confronted me I tried to wiggle out at first but quickly caved because as great a liar as I became, when it gets down to brass tacks and being confronted, I'm not very good at it. I'm much better lying at a distance. To put it another way, you tell one lie and it leads to another and then to another and it doesn't stop there, you start lying about stupid things, not even the biggest lie, you lie about tiny insignificant things until eventually, life becomes one big lie.
My wife basically told me to stop seeing you and end it. I stayed at my sisters and we eventually went to consuling and found a way to get through. I had to weigh out rather quickly what was important. Did I truly want to go traipsing around the world with you destroying everything my wife and I had built? Did I want to step outside my comfort zone so far that I would lose my identity altogether? I would essentially become your roving free spirit lover, but is that what I wanted.
In retrospect, no.
As hard as it was to make a break, I believe in my heart that it worked out best for you. You built a good life yourself. A husband, children, family, friends, career. Looking back, I was just a phase to you, and you were a phase to me. A delightful season or little place in time to tuck away pleasant memories. But with all these words running through my head as I'm driving to see you, the simple fact remains that I loved you as I told you many times and that's true. But what is equally as true is that you were always stuck somewhere in the corner of my mind. I never stopped thinking about you. The simple truth is, I love you.
I love you.
Which is why I had to see you one last time. I feel terrible about lying to my wife again. But the pull was just to overpowering. With that, I am here.
I got out of my car with my stomach doing flip flops and walked to the front entrance of the building. There were well dressed people moving about, more suits, women in dresses, kids running around as if they were at a wedding. I tried to shake off the rain and stepped inside and thought I heard crying, there were some people in a small group laughing and they looked happy. I walked down the hall a little bit further and then walked into the room where you were. To the left was a pretty pink table and there was an assortment of pictures on it. Photographs of pleasant memories. You and your husband in one, your children in another, you on some mountain, surfing somewhere tropical, skydiving, family, friends, happy times. It was a collective portrait of an adventurous life well lived.
To the right was a receiving line that I didn't bother going through. I just didn't need to tell them that I was a friend of yours from years ago, I walked straight ahead to where you were laying. You looked like you were sleeping, as beautiful in eternal sleep as you were in life. It is true that age has no bearing on the face of love. Age only compliments a person's beauty when you are in love with that person. I knelt down in front of you and closed my eyes. I took a deep breath, and tried to find a calm place, and prayed a genuine prayer. I could smell your perfume as I had years before and it flooded my mind and senses with thoughts and totally overwhelmed my emotions, and even though I did not cry when we broke up, I did cry later on when it truly hit me that you were gone. I could feel that sense of loss once again as tears were welling up in my eyes.
After what seemed to be an eternity, I opened my eyes again and I could feel other eyes upon me. Who is this person with the pinstripe suit? I didn't care at that point. You always liked that look on me, always said I looked handsome. Pinstripe suit, blue shirt, striped tie. I stood up, leaned down and put my hand on your hair and kissed your forehead. It would have been so wonderful if this were some kind of a romantic movie, and you were my sleeping beauty and after I kissed your lips, you would awaken and then we could just walk away into the credits. No Issues, no worries. But it wasn't to be my sweet.
You were dead.
You looked peaceful and you looked beautiful but I had grieved you so many years before you died. I turned walked out, my head down. I felt people looking at me, but I just kept moving till I was out of the building and walked into the misty night, back to my car.
The drive back home was uneventful. Traffic was easy now and it was dark and I had several messages on my phone. Now I had to drive home and face my wife. The big question was, would I be able to walk into my home, put on a poker face, and convince her that I actually went to a business meeting.
I pulled the car into the garage, walked up to the door, turned the handle and walked inside. My wife was at the kitchen table doing some paperwork. I walked into the kitchen and she looked at me smiling and asked me how the meeting went, and I said it all went fine. I told her it was just normal business stuff and no big deal. Executive stuff was boring to her but she always tried to be interested. I said I was going upstairs to take a shower and get comfortable. She said okay and I walked upstairs saying under my breath that it went a lot easier than I had anticipated. I was just over reacting.
I came into the bedroom hung up my jacket, put my shoes on a shelf, took off my tie, I took off my shirt and put it in the dry clean hamper, hung up my pants and I was just about to get into the shower when I noticed on my pillow there was an envelope. Maybe something romantic I thought. I walked over to my bedside, picked up the envelope, and opened it, got an old familiar feeling of nausea in my gut, the kind you get when there's going to be trouble.
It was your obituary.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Short story from the collection: THOMAS CADENCE