The time was 2.15pm. We were sprawled out lazily across my bed with our legs still entangled. Even with the summer’s heat, his warmth felt invigorating. “It’s just sex.” This is what I told myself, especially for affirmation and a self-reminder that I had no emotional expectation from this. I wanted to hold on to this moment forever but I didn’t think of myself as one who was up for wifey drama, neither did I think I was a home wrecker. With Dave and I, it was a unique blend of unburdening our professional difficulties at work, offering each other advice and then long hours of unabated pleasure.
I met Dave at the annual banking conference couple of months ago. He stood out in a crowd of old men in their stiffly starched jackets, because he didn’t wear a jacket and towered over them. His voice was calm and stilled and he smiled all the time. On the second day of the conference Dave sat across the table from me during the lunch break. I had felt his eyes before I looked up. I barely heard the conversation going on round the table, I guess he didn’t either. I excused myself to go make a call. It was one I didn’t have to make but I was getting uncomfortable there and had to leave. Walking down the hallway with the phone to my ear, I stopped at a corner and heard the footsteps closing in.
“Hey babe, awake already?” he interrupted my reverie. “What were you dreaming about with your eyes open, hmm?” I raised my head from his chest to look into his face now and as usual there is always a calm smile on it.
“Dreaming about my promotion at the office !” I responded with a chuckle. He lightly tugged my earlobe with his teeth, “And I thought all that loving would’ve knocked you off to a deep sleep”, he grinned. “Well, it’s a holiday hun, so sleep all you want, we don’t have to rush back to work” he stated happily. “Neither do you have to rush back home.” I added. He raised an eyebrow mockingly.
“Has someone been missing me?” he smirked. “Don’t flatter yourself, Dave” I replied.
The loud shrill of his cell phone pierced the air; I reached to get it for him. He answered it with so much reluctance, I sat up when he started sounding apprehensive.
“What!? how?…ok…calm down…you called 911…I’m on my way…don’t call Mrs Taun yet…do you hear me?..I’m on my way. ” I jumped out of bed as he did, my bewildered look asking all the questions. “What happened?” He hurriedly picked up his stuff looking dazed, I figured it must have been a problem at his home. I never had to concern myself with his household details. I wasn’t some crazy female trying to tear a man from his family. We had an overwhelming chemistry going on between us and there was no need to peddle into each others business outside the good thing that we had going.
He still looked confused as he fiddled with his shoes, I moved across the bed to him and gently started rubbing his shoulders, “What is going on?” I coaxed.
“My 3 year old son Ose, just had an accident……” A son? He has a son?
“He is autistic and frequency gets into little accidents…but this…this one sounds severe.” He was shaking now. He shrugged off my hands and stood up;I sat on the bed dazzled. He has a sick child!? I barely know this man, I’m only familiar with his professional life even more than his wife does. I got dressed quickly and raced after him. He was downstairs already starting his car but the recurrent spurting of the engine was an indication that he wasn’t going to get out of there as soon as he’d hoped.
He cussed loudly punching his fist on the hood of the car.
“Okay I will drive you. You need to get there as soon as possible.”
The ride to his home was uncomfortable; I felt more like a thief rather than a helper with each mile I closed and the silence in the car wasn’t helping. I’d never seen him this way. He was very unlike his calm self and the smile was off his face too. Maybe now was the time to find out more about the man I’d been with all these months.
“So how many kids do you have”.
He groaned aloud. “Arrgh, can’t you see I can’t deal with trivial questions right now?”
“I know but I was only trying to lighten the mood!” After a while he looked remorseful, “Sorry, I shouldn’t have screamed at you that way. I’m just..” He trailed off, staring out of the window, he continued, “I was supposed to be with Ose today, we pay $35 per hour for an aide to take care of him because of his special needs. My wife had to work at the hospital today and suggested I spend the day with my son. Well, I paid my inexperienced neighbor’s daughter, a high school kid to sit him instead of being there for my son…Stop right here, there is my house.”
The ambulance was already there, the stretcher with Ose on it was loaded into the van as Dave and a pretty lady held the boy’s hands talking quickly. Everyone was moving very fast, trying to rush the boy to the hospital. The pretty lady seemed angry at Dave as she kept thrusting her finger at his chest. Dave jumped into the back of the ambulance van, our eyes met and he stared at me not with a sensual fever but with a void look which turned self-accusing. The pretty woman who I suspected was his wife slowly turned around with tears in her eyes; she caught my stare and paused to look at me. At that moment recognition seeped in. Standing there in her hospital scrubs was my cousin Rena, her eyes widened with confusion as she moved closer to my car.
She halted and asked “Nade, is that you?”.
Photo credit: agefotostock.com