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It Was A Mistake and I Wish I Didn’t

It Was A Mistake and I Wish I Didn’t

It Was A Mistake and I Wish I Didn't

By Michael J. Herman

I remember the very first time I saw her.

Her straight, long, thick raven black hair announcing her entrance to the party entered my periphery and drew my head into her direction. Few noticed her arrival, but when I saw her walk through the front door, I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

Her body shimmied as it moved like a soft breeze across a glassy pond. Her head moved from side to side as she greeted everyone she past. Her smile lit the room like a sunburst of perfect white teeth against panoply of strangers.

"Someone you know" asked my wife of 32 years?

"Huh" I responded. "No, just someone I thought looked familiar."

As the evening progressed I was conscious not to look over in her direction too often for being spotted again leering at this most beautiful creature.

Every time she came into view I noticed something even more entrancing.  The way she held her body tightly like embracing herself as I imagined I was being enveloped in those arms; the way her hair fell over her shoulders and raced down her back, and the way her lips pursed every time she started to speak all lit a fire in my loins I had not felt in a long time.

My marriage to Catherine was fine. We still got along and the proverbial monthly coitus was adequate, but after so many decades of predictability, the excitement had long disappeared. She touched me in the same predictable ways and I satisfied her the way I knew how when I was able.

But this excitement was different.

The party began to wane and as coats and purses started flying off the bed on their way out the door, I reached down to grab mine and bumped into her hard knocking both of us onto the bed and then falling onto the floor. I landed right on top of her, our noses nearly touching and her giant safire blue eyes burrowing a hole into my soul.

"If you wanted to meet me so badly, all you had to do was say hello."

I was confused.

I was embarrassed.

My brain was screaming at a thousand miles per minute.

I was paralyzed with amazement. 

The fantasy I had been conjuring up in my imagination all night had almost come true and I was awkwardly being thrust into a reality that I had not yet rationalized.

Another frozen beat until she grunted and asked, "Would you please get off of me? You're crushing my favorite parts."

I stood up and helped her to her dainty feet as we recalibrated.

"I'm Romalia" as she offered her hand.

"Uh, um, I mean, I… I, I'm Frank."

We stood unsure of what to do or say. I couldn't take my eyes off of her and she was equally engaged with me.

"Well, it was awfully nice bumping into you Frank. Maybe we'll meet again and bump some more?"

My breathing stopped. Not only at the idea of seeing her again, but at the threat of never seeing her again.

"Here's my card. It has all the best ways if you ever want to, you know… bounce around some ideas" she invited.

And with that she was gone like a bat into the night.

Until that night I had never even considered another woman. The same old thing was exactly what I knew. Predictable… safe… boring. But the draw of Romalia's essence put all that in question.

Several days past.

My attention was constantly distracted by the memory of the smell of Romalia's perfume. For a brief moment our chests pressed together and though it was only momentary, it was enough to let me know what I was missing.

Suddenly I felt like an innocent man sentenced to a lifetime in prison of ordinary and settling for less. I wanted back that feeling of being young, desired, and invincible.

I stared at the card on my dash board for minutes. I dialed the first number and with only a hello she said she wondered if I'd call and when?

So that evening after work we met at The Cabazino, a dimly lit dive tavern on Highway 81. I had sold some cleaning supplies to the owner a while back and I remembered he stirs a mean Manhattan. I hoped he'd still be as generous. I was halfway through my first one when she showed up looking even more smoldering, sensuous and eager      as before.

In my head I kept hearing the words "Don't do this!"

"Go home before you do something you'll regret."

And of course, "This is wrong."

But even though I could clearly feel the pangs in my body telling me no, the spasms of excitement and exhilaration overcame me as I moved forward into unchartered territory.

I finished my third drink while she was just starting her second when she suggested in a low, soft, breathy whisper,

"I noticed there's a motel down the road."

We laughed as the music playing in the bar blurred. We leaned in and our lips met for the first time. Then a tongue and then a roaming hand.

The motel room was austere, cold and even sterile. It felt the way I felt inside and should have felt more of instead of the radio broadcasting antennae in my trousers transmitting very different and louder signals.

Few words were spoken as clothes fell to the floor. Like magnets we pushed our bodies together, trying to find the best and fastest connection. With each caress and each turn of our bodies, the excitement grew. The intense sexual tension was palpable and grew with each minute.

As we rolled on and off of one another Romalia asked, "Do you have one?"

I excitedly answered, "Oh yeah!"

"No" she corrected as she pushed me slightly away. "A condom you dumb ass."

I felt like such an idiot. How could I be so stupid to get this far and have forgotten to stop and buy a rubber? I mean I hadn't used one in almost 35 years. Embarrassingly I admitted, "No. I didn't think of it."

"Of course you didn't think of it. You're a fucking man. You guys never think of it." With that, she reached into her purse and retrieved a sealed Lubrix condom.


"It's European."

You're the best" I exclaimed!

She opened the guard and aptly applied it with great aplomb. The sensation was fantastic. The newness of the moment electrified my entire body. I could hardly believe this was happening to me. I never felt more alive.

And just as Romalia was mounting me, her perfect, large features inviting me into her world, for the first time every nerve ending in my body surged and it was over before it even began.

She looked down at my private parts and hers.

"You're joking" she sighed, as her hair cascaded over her disappointed face.

"I'm really sorry" I offered.

"Yeah, whatever" she moaned.

The whole drive home, I felt like shit. Not necessarily guilty, though that was part of it, but also because I suddenly realized that I was lucky to have boring at home and what am I going to say to Catherine? And should I even go home at all?

I drove in circles trying to rationalize what had happened. I began remembering the times in Paris, and the long nights holding each other while eating popcorn on the couch and watching Johnny Carson and then Jay Leno.

I reran fights we'd had that turned into laughter and laughing storms that made tears roll down our cheeks. I remembered when she fell and was bedridden for weeks and depended on me to take care of her, Then when I had pneumonia. Then I remembered when our parents died and we were the only ones there for each other.

Finally, I went home. Catherine was already asleep. I showered trying to get Romalia's scent off of me. Though I drenched myself in cologne, I couldn't erase the stench of guilt. I fell asleep on the couch.

Weeks went by. My work performance suffered. Dinners at home seemed banal and hollow. As weeks turned into months, things were different and we were distant. I hardly recognized our marriage. We had become what we had always promised we'd never be… two people who didn't know each other.

The closeness that brought us together had worn thin like a rope that had worn through. I still did feel love for Catherine. How could I not? We'd spent a lifetime together. Or at least the people we used to be did.

If I still loved her I had to let her know.

I decided Catherine deserved to know the truth and even though it was the hardest conversation we'd ever had I came clean. So did Catherine. She admitted to wandering a year earlier when we were at a golf clinic in Pebble Beach.

Suddenly I felt betrayed. My whole world was crashing down on me. My facial muscles were paralyzed. I tried to smile to feel better, but my cheeks just wouldn't move. I tried to breathe, but my lungs felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was numb from head to toe.

I knew I had no right to feel this way. I was clearly a total hypocrite, but why couldn't she tell me?

Why didn't I see it?

And what does this mean for us now?

Then, like a bell ringing loudly in the foggy harbor, she said, "I love you Frank."

Then her hand touched mine and we held each other as we sobbed into each       others' shoulders.

Even though we talked it out and tried to salvage what once was, despite trying to rebuild what once was, 64 days later we filed for divorce.

There just wasn't anything left between us keeping us together. Our children each blamed one of us, then both for a while, and then came acceptance.

It was clear there was nothing to salvage once we crossed into someone else's arms.

Catherine and I still talk once in a while, but I realize now that the prison you're in is usually better than the freedom you crave.

Michael J. Herman is a Professional Writer and the author of 14 books, including his forthcoming Side Hustle with Muscle: Stop Putting Your Talents to The Side and Start Your Small Business. Connect with Michael at LinkedIn.com/michaeljherman

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Michael J. Herman, Speaker-Writer-Author-Entrepreneur
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