On the third day of my honeymoon, I knew my marriage was a mistake. Scott and I were in our hotel room, in bed after a long day sightseeing in Paris, when I looked over at my new husband. He was reading from the Frommer’s Guide. It was at that very moment that I saw my future life, married to a respectable man who favored organization over spontaneity. Scott was using the same guidebook as my parents. Here we were — a young, vibrant couple in a five star hotel in the most romantic city in the world, and my husband was reading from the Frommer’s Guide. Why weren’t we fucking so hard that passerbys could hear us on the Champs-Élysées?
A few weeks after our return to New York, I met Victor on the elevator in my office building. He worked at the Cruise Company on the 38th Floor. He was a few years younger than Scott, and not as financially stable. He was not the type of man that I would usually be attracted to, but he was funny and he liked me.
One afternoon, we played hooky from our jobs to sing Michael Jackson songs in that Korean karaoke place on 43rd. After a rousing duet of “Thriller, he kissed me and pressed me against the wall, and like an over-anxious schoolboy, I could feel his urgent need for me growing in his pants.
“Let’s take a walk,” I said.
It wasn’t as if I was indecisive about wanting an affair. I knew what was going to happen. That morning, I shaved my legs, painted my lips with the reddest shade I owned, and slipped on my dress like the shameless harlot I hoped to become for the day.
Victor and I took a walk to the Highline. He pointed down 23rd Street to an apartment building a few blocks away.
“That’s where I live. My roommate isn’t there.”
“Good.” I said. It was time to break free from a mistaken marriage. I closed my eyes and thought about the pleasure and pain I would feel as Victor pinned me to his bed.
Victor noticed the pause, and bit his lip. He was new to all this – dating a married woman. Victor was not a “player.” He had only slept with one woman, an ex-girlfriend, and he still hoped to one day win her back. He was deeply moral, born to a Christian family, and had mistakenly understood my pause for old-fashioned guilt.
“It’ll be our little secret,” he said, assuring me of his trustworthiness and sense of propriety.
And then, as happened when seeing Scott reading the Frommer’s Guide on that night in Paris, I knew Victor was the wrong man for me. Scott was following the rules of marriage. Victor was following the rules of infidelity. And I did not want to be chained down by rules.
I wanted a man with such all-consuming passion for me, needing my body, mind, and spirit so completely that he would have no other choice but to shout it out to the entire city below.