I didn’t think I had a life. Not one worth losing anyway, but it turns out you get a special type of clarity after you leave your wife of twelve years for a woman who promised to let you be your true self. Turns out my true self is pretty grim and calculating. And it turns out Sophia didn’t really want to see that side of me, so now she’s in the wind and I am living in a $200 a day kitchenette that smells like sour milk mixed with sweat.

I thought I was unhappy and being held back in my marriage to Gwen. I can’t honestly say now what I was being held back from because, ostensibly it was, like every man, the ability to go and screw other women. Well, I did that and went and fell in love with the first woman who’d laugh at my jokes again. I felt like a teenager in love, at least at first. Then things progressed and she pressured me to leave and it got very grown up and serious. I convinced myself I deserved my freedom, but I see now I was deliberately choosing to not deal with the issues in my marriage, ninety percent of which were due to my own inadequacies.

Sitting here on the hotel bed, I notice everything: the scratchiness of the bedspread, the dim hum of the hallway lights, and the inevitability of disaster the instant I met Sophia and pretended I wasn’t taken.

© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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