I haven’t cheated since my marriage. This statement is a purely technical one. I haven’t had sex outside of my relationship since I was married. Not quite as elegant a statement. But I wandered away from all of them at some point. Followed shiny things. Not necessarily people, sometimes I left my relationship to write a book. Once I left it to have a child. I remember crying quietly at my desk one day and telling the monitor that I couldn’t die like this. Please. Please, don’t let me die like this. Married and alone. Dreaming of girls. Girls walking across Antarctica. Girls strapping kayaks to the tops of their cars. Girls leaning into you with anticipatory lighters. Girls tucking hair behind their ears. Girls wrapping scarves around their throats.
And then I dated them — girl after girl — and it was worse. Is this happy? This messy madness? God, give me boring. Please, I was so wrong, and greedy, please, I take it all back. I have no gift for drama. They opened like switchblades. Brilliant and edged. Or am I wrong? Shiny and dangerous. I cheated emotionally but called it loneliness. I cheated on the phone. I cheated at restaurants in the middle of crowds. I cheated at parties. I cheated and couldn’t figure out why anyone got mad. I didn’t even touch her. I didn’t even want to. It’s not that I want her, I just don’t want you. That’s what I was saying, isn’t it?
I left you alone and stayed right in the room with you. All of you. Girl after girl. But I had to go. I can’t hold the going against myself, or any of you. If there had been more grace, I’d have understood earlier. That’s all. I have no gift for drama.