I sat at the end of the bar on the spinning stool, fire engine red. He was at the other end, playing with his wedding band while he flipped through the papers in front of him. Beads of sweat had started to form at his hairline, and his shirt began to stick.
“Trouble?” I asked jovially.
“Just the usual mess I have to deal with.”
I moved over a few seats to be closer to him.
He looked down at his wedding ring and then back up at me.
“I guess I am.”
He went back to marking papers, and I took a few more sips of my margarita. It was at that in-between stage where people were just filtering through after a hard day at work. His phone rang, and it was apparent that it was his wife. His entire demeanour changed from stressed to serene. They talked for half n’ hour, which completely distracted him from his work. I didn’t appreciate the interruption.
“Why did you pick her?”
He turned his head slightly.
“Why her? What made her so special out of an entire population of women that you decided to dedicate your existence to her?”
He took a moment to stretch out his arms and his legs before answering me.
“When I met her, I knew there could be nobody else.”
“I just don’t understand people like you.”
“People like me?”
“Monogamists. Why aren’t the rest of us good enough?”
I’d made him so uncomfortable that he started to eye up one of the booths in the back.
“Nobody is better than anyone.”
That was a total lie, and it’s an excuse that monogamists frequently use. If the rest of us were good enough for them, then we would be fucking them until the moon went to sleep. My blacked lashes would brush against his face as I straddle him. “That’s what you all say. It’s a shit excuse. Is she a model, your wife? I bet she is. I bet she’s unnaturally thin, and her hip bones stick out, grazing the outline of your dick.”
He stood up, grabbed his things, and moved to the back of the room without saying a word. The barman, who had been observing all of this, handed me another drink. I needed it. As the evening went on, couples came and went, holding hands underneath the table. One particular pair stood in the doorway and shared a passionate kiss. I took a photo of them on my Polaroid.
I never saw that man again after that night. As for the photograph, well, I carry it around in my purse. My nature is to be bizarre, but that hasn’t translated outwardly until now. According to fans of monogamy, if a man is married, your feelings are supposed to stop. They want me to switch my love off like a tap. I dream about us having sex every night, but his wife forces her way into my peripheral. It has taken some practice, but her face now represents the devil. Am I a psychopath? Am I a sociopath? I don’t think so. All I want is the freedom to fuck who I like when I like. It shouldn’t matter if they’ve got another girl at home. Take me to the big smoke and undress me. We’ll leave a trail of rose petals for the pigeons. Somehow, there is comfort in the darkness, in the illicit affairs that I partake in, tethered to the earth by the umbilical cord of mother moon.
Courtenay S. Gray is a writer from the North of England. She has been featured in publications such as Maudlin House, Daily Drunk Mag and Red Fez. Nominations: Pushcart Prize (2020) / Runner up for the 2021 Literary Lancashire Award in Poetry. STRAWBERRY/Alien Buddha Press. Twitter: @courtenaywrites / Blog: www.courtenayscorner.com