There’s something you should know, and it’s time I just came out and said it.
Last year, for a month, I had an affair with another man.
It wasn’t something I went looking for and I never meant it to go as far as it did.
He was kind, he was engaging, he was interested in all the things I was interested in.
Above all, he was an excellent listener. He understood me. He knew about my secret dreams and with one simple offer to help me reach them, it began.
How these things happen, no one knows, even with months of hindsight. We met through a mutual friend who, I’m sure, had no idea the events she was setting in motion. She’s a sweetheart. She knows I’m married with five grown children. In the course of a casual conversation, I may have let slip that I secretly longed for more. Much more.
She only wanted me to be happy.
I told the Hubby, as holidays loomed in the shadows last fall, that I had some writing to do. I needed to focus. My day job had just gone full time, the hours were flying by, and frankly, there was no part of my life that did not scream at me how out of control everything was.
Time with Hubby was at a record low. We spent the hours not at work running to the boys’ basketball games, running loads of laundry, running past the burger drive-through, and crashing into bed. When was I supposed to write?
I gathered up my laptop, took a new binder and some pens, and retreated to a quiet place. Hubby was supportive. But he never realized how unfulfilled I felt inside. Even I didn’t know how ready I was to just keep flying into something entirely out of my comfort zone and into a place that was exciting and scary and full of the promise of better things.
The first time I met Jason*, I was more curious than cautious. He wore business casual, wire-rimmed glasses, and a wedding ring. He felt familiar, yet he was a stranger. The attraction was immediate.
“I am a master at what I do,” he said, “You’ve come to the right place.”
He looked into my eyes. “Shall we?” he asked.
The dance began.
He was gentle. He began at the beginning. He showed me things I had never seen before and forced me to think about things that had always scared me. He promised that I would eventually understand, and I trusted him.
Stealing moments alone with Jason was easy. Once in a while, I skipped a basketball game, but I was not missed in the crowd. The laundry piled up, but no one was ever home to notice. Thanksgiving was imminent, and I begged my sister-in-law to host it so I could be with Jason. She never questioned me.
“Teach me,” I would whisper at Jason, late at night.
And he would show me, over and over again, saying, “You must only do this my way. There is no other way.”
I left our trysts desperate for more. He insisted on pushing boundaries and opening my mind to new ideas and I felt alive with the knowledge that I understood things in a way I never had before.
Once I mastered the dance steps, he was always waiting with new ones. I was exhausted. I was intrigued. “I can’t do this!” I would cry, “What was I thinking?”
I would storm from the room, vowing never to see him again.
But the game had not yet played out. And we both knew it.
He was waiting for me, smug and smiling, when I came back the next day.
It was only (and ever) a matter of time before the student became the master.
By the end of November, I was ready to end it. Jason never would have left me. Although I was keenly aware that I wasn’t his only nocturnal guest, he was loyal to those who sought him out. We had spent 32 hours, 42 minutes, and 18 wonderful seconds together.
But I needed to go back to my family.
I told him goodbye as the first Christmas carols appeared on the radio.
“I will be here if you ever need me,” he said.
“Not happening,” I replied, as he faded into my screen saver, “I took a binder full of notes while you weren’t looking.”
I will always treasure our time together, Jason Manibog, and I am a better woman because we met.
For just a little while, you made me feel like a hero.
*In the month of November, I took an online adult education class and passed my Microsoft Office Specialist exam in Excel 2016 on December 1st. Moms out there, you can do this. It will be every bit as nutty, but I highly recommend it. If I can learn this stuff, anyone can. Tell Jason I said “Hi”.