The Airline Industry Is No Longer Complicit In Your Affair
Ah, I remember the days when it was possible to arrive at the airport fifteen minutes before your plane took off—running through the terminal in little black dress and stilettos, nobody traveled in sweats and those ugly, ubiquitous trainers—and still make the flight. Shortly after I buckled into my seat, the plane actually took off into the sky. No hours on the tarmac, no gate holds.
Because I could get from the Midwest to the East Coast in two hours, I did it impulsively more than a few times to meet a man without giving great thought to the consequences.
On my way to meet X, I endured a flight cancellation, re-assignment to another airport where the flight was delayed, arrival so late in connecting city, Chicago, where else?, that the rendezvous time was hours past, then stand-by on five morning flights, gate hold, tarmac wait—oh and throw in a dead phone—rather like the plot of a crazy romantic comedy without the romance or comedy just the crazy.
And that gave me way too much time to inquire of myself: WTF, are you doing?
The first three parts of Diary of an Affair [One, Two, Three] generated a lot of email interest from readers—most of it encouraging, some of it confessional, sharing their own stories, including their unrealized romantic, erotic dreams. I had the wind at my back. This man had captured my erotic imagination from afar; and I was eager to have him do it in real life.
But over another cup of coffee at another airport, I had one of those moments of realization that often are fueled by caffeine in the middle of a dead zone such as an airport or a Starbucks at 2 a.m.: My readers didn’t have a critical piece of the information. X is married and not just married, but a partner in joined-at-the-hip, no-one-has-permission-to-flirt Uber Marriage. Suddenly I was imagining the logistics of an affair with a man whose wife monitors his Facebook account and tells him what “friends” he can make—or not. (Why are people surprised when lust dies inside those concrete walls?)
But we weren’t really thinking “affair”, were we? We planned a rendezvous, an exploration of fantasies. No reason to think there would ever be a new hello after that good-bye—except that if I liked him, I would want him again. Already I wanted him.
As it grew increasingly obvious that I wouldn’t see him, even briefly, that night because he couldn’t leave the marital home without a pass—it also became increasingly obvious that I hadn’t thought this through very carefully. I am adept at juggling two men. I don’t need or want all of anybody’s attention—
But if it takes me a whole day to travel to where you are, I expect you to be there, if only for a hug and kiss.
There are all kinds of marriages, open and closed, slightly open, “look the other way” marriages and “don’t ask, don’t tell” accommodations—but marriage in lockdown—how does anyone ever get a break from that?
I sent X an email:
Give me some time. I’m going back home. I don’t know what I want to do about this.
He wrote back:
Let’s don’t disconnect. Give yourself some time to find out what your feelings are. I want to meet.
I look through the photos and videos he sent; and I am aroused, drawn to him. Yet I want to look into his images and see space, a little wiggle room in there, room somehow for possibility, but that’s not possible, is it?
Blame it on the airlines. They’ve made leaping before you look almost impossible.
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