you should see her (from his perspective)

I’ve been cheating for almost a year, I blurt, and it feels pretty good to say the words out loud. I’ve been swallowing them back for almost eleven months now, and my throat is raw.

The minute I say them, though, I know it was a mistake. These girls haven’t lived long enough — been married long enough (or at all) — to know it’s not always so black and white. They don’t know yet that the gray starts to choke you, year after year after year, and at some point, you need to breathe color again. Sometimes you just fucking miss how vibrant things used to feel when you were 22, 23. At some point you need someone to touch you like the terrain of your skin is something sexy, valuable — not just a loosening, fattening mass that takes up too much of the bed.

And then suddenly I’m pissed. They don’t know. So how can they judge me? Give each other that look like, “Wow, what a sad, disgusting pervert.” Just you wait, I want to tell them. Wait until it gets really bad.

Instead, though, I keep going. I can’t help it.

“You should see her,” I’m vomiting. “Ten years younger, gorgeous rack — you wouldn’t blame me.”

She doesn’t even have a gorgeous rack, is the funny thing. Her chest is almost completely flat — that olive skin still totally unblemished.

I gulp a mouthful of my beer as they signal for the check. Let them leave, I think, bitterly, just as Viola texts me. They’ll see.

“Miss you!” she’s written, and they see it at the same time I do.

The timing of it all is suddenly hilarious. Like whatever god there is is cackling down at me, puppeting the people in my life around for kicks. I blacken the screen.

“Will I see you ladies again?” I say, following through on their Disgusting Man script, as they wrap their scarves around their necks tighter and tighter. I suddenly wish I could think of something to say that’d make this all better — or at least, somehow, make them understand what twenty three years does to you. The innocence it sucks away, minute by minute, the exhaustion it weaves under your ribs.

Instead, they grab their purses, avoiding my eye. Murmur something to each other.

Viola texts again. “Hope you’re having fun!” she’s written. I snicker, more for my own sake than anyone else’s — but then a huge cottony lump of sadness rises in my chest. I want to go home, but I realize I have no idea where that is.

from their perspective:

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