A few hours later I wake to find you sitting upright. Your back propped against the large headboard you look deep in thought in the dim light. I watch you for a moment, seeing you stare off into the darkened room. After a few minutes pass you sense my eyes on you and you turn to meet my gaze. “Zale?” you say quietly barely speaking above a whisper. “You’re an interesting man, and I really like you….” the words trail off and I already know what’s coming next.

“But…” I interject smiling to allow you to realize whatever comes next won’t hurt me.

“…I….I’m just….I’m not in a relationship space….you know?” you turn to look at the wall again. This was your parents old room. They slept here for all the years you could remember. Yet here you were with this stranger. This man shared your bed and you didn’t even love him. Maybe you could in time, but right now, what was this?

“Neither am I.” I say, reaching out to place my hand on your leg covered by the comfortable puffy quilt. “but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy what we shared.”

“Oh you clearly enjoyed what we shared,” you chuckle, smirking at me as the memory of only hours ago is fresh in your mind as it is in your body.

“But I don’t think we need to complicate things here.” I continue. “This was a special time. A unique moment, and I don’t regret it for a moment.”

You turn quickly to me and agree with a tinge of exasperation, “Me too! I don’t regret it at all.” You look at me with a confused furrowed brow, raising your arms to the side and shaking your head. The quilt slides gently from where it was, and your breasts come into view accidently. I smirk and grin like an idiot and you roll your eyes laughing. “Look everyone always tells you that you have to be in love to have sex. That without love sex doesn’t have the same passion.”

“Mmm hmm?”

“But that’s…..well….that’s bullshit, isn’t it.” you mutter “What we just did, let’s be honest, that was amazing.” I smile and nod in agreement. “But you have to know, I don’t love you, and I’m pretty sure you don’t love me.”

“Sorry,” I shrug. “Though if we loved each other already that would be a little in the crazy side.” I chuckle to myself laughing at my own joke.

You ignore me and continue “But even though there was no defined love and relationship, we experienced something quite glorious. Don’t you think?”

“Glorious. I like the word choice, and yes I agree.”

“Does that make me bad? As a woman I feel like I’m supposed to be feeling shame or guilt, but I don’t at all.”

“I don’t think you should. I never understood that whole aspect of shaming.”

“Me either. To be honest, I kind of felt jealous of the women that everyone kept calling sluts.” you laugh.

“Really? Why?” I laugh as well.

“Because……..they were….well…getting laid!” you shake your head and slap your forehead in embarrassment. “I was horny all the time and I had to keep it all tied up tight. This town talks like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t know what my mom would do if she found out that her neighbor heard from another neighbor that I got caught blowing some guy in band camp.” you laugh again at the thought and I join you in the amusing thought.

“I can relate.”

“Huh? How can you relate? You’re a guy! Guys are expected to be slutty.”

“Well, yes I guess we are, but that’s not totally what I meant. When I was married, and all through that relationship I felt like I had to keep my nature hidden.”

“Your nature?”

“Ya, I’m not sure if you noticed, but I’m a bit of a sex fiend.” You shrug as if to say you barely could tell before smirking and rolling your eyes again. “But my wife, she wasn’t the same as me. She was more closed in, unwilling to share, unwilling to go beyond the normal boring everyday sex.”

“Everyday sex?”

“Well actually, not even everyday. Everyday sex that happened everyday would have been welcomed. But what we did was boring sex maybe twice a month at the most. It was agony.”

“What the hell dude!?” you exclaim, completely flabbergasted at the revelation. “Why did you stick around for that?”

“Because I thought I was doing what I good guy is supposed to do.” I explain. “I thought that I was in the wrong. That I wasn’t supposed to want it that much. So often.”

“But don’t all guys?”

“I guess a lot of us do, but I’d say I’m a little different.”

“How so?”

“Well, I’m not sure if I should tell you this.”

“Really? After all I’ve told you? After everything we’ve been through just in these last few days or in these last few hours?” To timber of your voice was incredulous. As much as you were pretending to be speaking in mock annoyance it was clear you were actually annoyed at my sudden need for privacy.

Taken aback for a moment I paused. My mouth opened and then shut again. Then in a moment of faith I leaped and let loose a truth that has never been shared more even uttered aloud. “I frequently think about sharing my partner with other people.” The words came out so clinical and cold. They held none of the nuances I meant to express.

You looked at me in understandable confusion. “Share?” You repeat quietly as if the word was one of those things you just don’t say in an airport lest you be tackled by a big, burly, former defensive tackle turned TSA agent. “What do you mean…share?”

Your confusion was understandable. Having never told anyone this secret I has never worked out the best way to reveal it. There are of course those secrets that you hold in the dark only for a time. The ones that you really just keep to yourself to hold back embarrassment or in the most self serving cases, hold back simply to create the illusion of mystery. Those types of secrets are superficial at best. Your revelation is calculated and rehearsed  The wording picked out far in advanced and read back over and over in your mind or even in front of the bathroom mirror. I had never really felt it wise to ever let it be known how I felt. It made me seem perverse and weird. I stared at you dumbfounded and unsure what to say next.

So you repeated, “What do you mean by share?”

I sighed to myself and then buckled up for what was likely to be a long night of questions. “Share as in, share my wife with another woman…”

“With you there?”

“…yes…maybe…it depends.”

“And only sharing with women?”

“No”

“Other men too?”

“Yes”

“And she shares you?”

“Yes.”

“So you fuck each other, and other people, and…” you pause for a moment, mulling over the thought, “….and you’re ok with that?”

“Yes.” I repeat again, feeling slightly robotic in my binary answers.

You sat upright in the dim light. Your eyes wide and mouth opening and closing quietly. “Why?”

“Why not?” That question I was prepared for.

“But isn’t that……cheating?”

“Not really. If we both know about it and we say it’s ok then how could it be cheating?”

“I don’t know. I….I’ve never heard of this.” You laugh and your head swims with the possibilities. “..and you’ve done this before?”

I nod my head as if to say yes, then abruptly change to shaking it “Not with my wife….ex wife…no”

“Then who?” you ask, confusion mixing with intrigue.

“My girlfriend in college.”

“Really?”

“Yep.” I state dryly. The initial shock had worn off and now I felt easily able to answer your questions without pause or worry for your impending judgement. “She expressed an interest in wanting to experiment with women, and I was very keen on seeing that fulfilled.”

You laugh and roll your eyes, “What’s with you men and lesbians.”

I laughed in turn but then continued, “it wasn’t just women though. It was the experience of witnessing her feeling so good, so fulfilled. No judgments. No restrictions. No jealousy or anger. It was soul soothing. I felt at that time the most free I’d ever been.” I sighed and smirked at the memory. “and of course it went both ways.”

“Both ways?”

“Yes, she would find women that she wanted to watch me fuck.”

“Seriously?!” your mouth and eyes opened wide in incredulous surprise. “That’s….well…that’s crazy.”

I laugh, “Yes, well it was a crazy time. But wow was it fun.”

“So she would find a girl, bring her home to you, and watch you fuck her?”

“Yes.” I smiled, feeling as if I was repeating myself already, “but it wasn’t always like that. Sometimes she’d bring the girl home, then make me watch the two of them.”

“Seriously?!!” you repeat again, “Then what?” you ask, biting your lip and anxious to hear my response.

“Well it depended on the mood, but most of the time at some point during their make out session they’d pull me in and make me fuck each of them in turn.”

You sat somewhat dumbfounded for a moment. “That’s actually pretty hot.” You finally admit. “To be able to let go and just enjoy each other and allow each other to enjoy themselves so completely. I can see the appeal of that. Why didn’t it work though?”

I shrugged and looked off to the sidewall, “As much as we clicked sexually, there wasn’t really anything else there.” You cock your head to the side, seemingly requiring more explanation. “If all you have in common is a voracious appetite for sex, what do you do when you’re not naked? There was no conversation, no long term or short term interests. Other than on a purely physical level we were not really compatible.”

“Oh, that’s a shame.” you say with empathy mixed with a strange sense of relief.

I shrug in response, “It wasn’t meant to be and I didn’t lose that much sleep over it. She was a great girl, but just not someone I’d be interested in spending long swaths of time with.” I stop for a moment and my brow furrows in thought, “Honestly, I have no idea what happened to her after we broke up. We lost touch within weeks and I don’t think I ever saw her on campus again.”

“Maybe she was never really there in the first place…ooooooooooh.” you wiggle your fingers and hands as a mocking, laughing ghost.

“Oh shut up.” I laugh and throw my pillow at you.

“Oh baby…you know how I like it…. rough!” you laugh after the pillow flops into your face and drops harmlessly to the bed. You pick the pillow up and hold it for a moment before throwing back at me, your laughter dramatically changing into quiet introspective thought. “Do you think that would happen to you and I?” you ask sincerely.

I pause for a moment, opening my mouth, then shutting it again. “What do you mean?” I reply, needing clarification before I speak out of turn.

“Oh I’m just wondering. If you and I were to hang out more than just this time, would it be the same as your college girl?”

“You mean, sex and no talking?”

“Ya.” you ask, clearly feeling vulnerable for some reason that’s beyond my understanding. “Do you think there could be more here?”

You were stepping out on a limb and hoping I’d catch you. “I don’t know.” I can’t help but answer honestly, watching your shoulders droop with my response. “Don’t take this the wrong way though. I think if I knew, that would be false hope anyways.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well I think you’re pretty interesting.” I admit, thankful to see a smile return to your face, “and you’re definitely on the same wavelength as me when it comes to intimacy.” You smirk like you’ve been caught watching something naughty. “But when you think about it, these are some odd circumstances.”

“True.”

“It’s easy to feel like there’s more when the pressure of real life is so far removed.”

“What do you mean?”

“Right now we’re stuck in a crucible. Extenuating circumstances have kept me here. Extenuating circumstances have brought me here. The storm, the car crash, you saving me, all of that. These aren’t…..normal…..you know?”

“I suppose so. But people meet at weird times all the time, right? Like me in Paris. That was also strange happenstance.”

“True…….true….” I stop for a moment to think. “Honestly it’s hard to say. I definitely want to keep in touch with you, but tomorrow I have to leave for the funeral. After that, who know’s when I’ll be back.”

“I know.” you say in a sigh. “We’re like two ships passing in the night, on different paths, heading for different destinations. We just happened to share a moment.” You look up at me and smile, “A beautiful, amazing moment together. We shouldn’t force ourselves into some pigeonhole auto-relationship because society says we have to be a couple now.” You reach out and place your hand on my thigh, looking into my eyes with sincerity, “I don’t want that, and I don’t think you want that either.” I shake my head in pensive agreement.

“I just want you to stay with me tonight. Stay here in my bed, hold me close, pretend we’re old souls meeting for the fifth lifetime.” I shuffle over on the bed and pull your form to me in a hug and you continue, speaking softly, your words slightly muffled by my chest. I squeeze your body to mine a little harder, feeling your soft cheek on my skin and for the briefest of moments I can feel a tear run down your face and onto my body, “Tomorrow you’ll leave. You’ll say goodbye, and I’ll say goodbye….but it’s not forever. Nothing is forever. Especially goodbyes.”

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