Friday, May 18, 2007

"The Beginning and the End"

One of my favorite stories I have ever written is "The Beginning and the End." It's the story of a woman who finds her husband's online journal of mischief, and soon she is on her own journey of payback. It's featured in Sex and Submission.

Here's a preview:

One day – it was two years, three months, and two days ago – I found your journal.

I stumbled upon it that day while cruising cyberspace. My friend Christy, the one from the spa – you do remember her, right? She always hated you – anyway, she sent me a link to her Live Journal account, and when I clicked on the link, surprise of surprises, someone was already logged in. You had forgotten to sign off after your last confessional. I hadn’t heard of Live Journal until that day, but I was very familiar with it a few hours later. Yes, indeed.

That’s how I learned about her, or the many hers, however many there were. I lost count, even with all the code names you had given them, like Reddie (cause it was all natural) and Blondie (because that was all natural, too) and Uprising (because those girls weren’t natural at all but they looked pretty damn good anyway).

But there was that one that kept your attention, through that whole year you were keeping the journal and even longer than that, the one that you couldn’t shake no matter how many women you took for a ride while you were pining after her. She was short and blonde with a great smile and freckles over the bridge of her nose. She was married with a four-year-old daughter and she would never leave her husband, no matter how many times she screwed around on him, because he made the big bucks and she loved her SUV too much to say goodbye. She drank too much, mostly in private but more with you, and she hated it when you smoked.

I didn’t even know you smoked, until I read it there on the journal. I’m not sure which was the biggest shock: the affair you were having, the one-night cheats you were committing (stepping out on a wife and a girlfriend, you stud, you), or the fact that you, who would not tolerate cigarette smoke under any circumstances, preferred Marlboro Reds in a box.

You probably don’t remember that day. You came home to find me in the kitchen, cooking your favorite dinner of chicken sherry and baby potatoes and asparagus. You dropped your briefcase and wrapped your arms around me from behind, kissed that sweet spot under my ear and told me you loved me. I told you that I loved you too, instead of asking how many times it had happened. I told you to take off that tie and change into your comfortable clothes, instead of telling you that I knew the last year between us had been a lie. I asked you if you would mind uncorking the wine and you went at the job like a puppy eager to please, while I was proud of myself for never once hitting you upside the head with the cast iron skillet.

Maybe I kept my mouth shut because I had already decided what I was going to do. I look back on it all now and I think maybe I knew, as soon as you described the way she moaned the first time you slid your hand between her thighs there underneath the bar, the way you didn’t care much who saw. I think I decided then to keep my mouth shut.

That night I faked it. Twice. If you noticed, you never said.

I tortured myself with that journal for a week. During that time I pulled out the calendar and studied the times you were with her, saw that they coincided with business trips, and determined that she didn’t live close to us, but about two hours away.

Then you went on another business trip, and I went to the bar.

Sex and Submission is published by XCite Books -- go here to find out more.

No comments: