I pulled carefully out of Josh and Cindy’s driveway, knowing that a wreck on top of everything else would just be too much tonight. I felt a mad compulsion to read Josh’s note right that minute, but I also felt like I needed to be away from their house, at least a respectable distance away. I pulled into the CVS parking lot a few blocks over and parked in the back, where maybe no one would see me.
It was darker than I expected it to be, so I turned on the interior lights and pulled the note delicately from my purse. Like a girl in a Taylor Swift video, I held the note to my face and breathed in its scent – part cheap paper, part bic pen, and part Josh, who smelled to me, always, of cedar and something deeper, something more, like loss or longing or sadness.
I unfolded the note and smoothed it on the steering wheel. His writing was still unfamiliar to me, but beautiful nonetheless…measured and straight and perfect reproductions of the letters in the books they used to teach kids the Palmer method, once upon a time. It was like receiving a missive from another time, when standards and mores were different, better understood.
You must know first that I miss you beyond all reason; my every waking thought is of you in some way, and my dreams are purely, completely of you. I know you expect me to tell you all the ways I want to ravage you, (oh, and they are plentiful!), but I really have more to say, more to tell you than just the ways I will enjoy you. I want to tell you, first, the ways you have captivated me.
Your eyes, they’re brown. I always thought brown eyes were boring, common, ordinary. But then I looked into your eyes, brown with flecks of warm gold, and steely black, and I saw that your eyes are like infinite pools of wisdom and empathy and I just wanted to gaze into them for hours, I wanted to lose myself in them, in you. I wanted to see the world as you do, through those amazing eyes. And suddenly icy blue eyes held no appeal for me.
Your hair is brown too. But as I ran my fingers through it I saw strands of caramel, strands of red. I saw straight, silky hair and I saw curly hair mixed in, kinky little curls that must have escaped your flat iron, springing up as I touched your hair, as I teased you, pulled it gently. Your hair is like a river of silky chocolate, eddying around obstacles hidden just under the surface.
Your skin is so soft. And you smell like – like comfort, like determination, like empathy. I breathe in your skin and I smell laundry and honeysuckle and rain and green apples. But your skin seduces me, makes me want to keep touching you long after I should have stopped. I imagine myself pressed up against the length of you, every rough part of me against every smooth part of you and I know that if it happens, when it happens, it will take everything I have to get and go home afterwards.
Your body is so lovely, I dream of being caught up in your arms, pressed against your breasts, those amazingly beautiful breasts, those nipples so sensitive that a cool breeze makes them hard (Oh dear God what could I do to them with my tongue, my teeth…)
Oh, right. And that ass, so round and tight and so fucking hot in those damn yoga pants you wear. What is it about yoga pants that just hug a woman’s ass exactly right? I don’t know, but I know there is only one reason I want you to take them off…
I just wanted you to know, Lissa, that I have a thing for you, I am sick with lust for you. I would do anything, risk anything to be with you, to make love to you, to be further captivated by you.
I don’t love you, Lissa. Not yet. But I think I could. Give me a chance to find out.
If I have to go back to just watching you at PTA meetings and soccer games, if you don’t want the same things I do, I understand, but honestly. I want you, and I think you want me too.
Wow, I thought to myself. Wow. I had to go back and read that again. I sat in my car in the CVS parking lot, reading and shaking my head. I lifted my wrist to my nose and I smelled nothing, none of the scents Josh described. I looked in the mirror and saw my same old brown hair and brown eyes. Maybe it’s nature’s way of keeping us from sitting around smelling our skin and searching our eyes, but I saw none of the things Josh saw. Was he delusional, or was I missing something essential about myself?
I didn’t know, don’t know. It might not even matter, Maybe all that mattered was the stirring I felt in my chest, the longing I felt, the way I closed my eyes and imagined being with Josh, imagining that all the words he penned were true and that I could be lusted after, if not loved, by the kind of man who would think those things, say those things.
I remembered tracing his scar across his stomach, I remembered him kissing his way across my scar and I decided that no matter what it cost me, I needed to know what the fulfillment of such desire felt like.
I pulled out my phone and began an email, then wondered if he would rather have a handwritten letter in return. It seemed so quaint, so special. I decided to go home and sit at my desk and write him a letter, and try to answer him as eloquently as he had asked me.
I folded the letter and put it in the hidden side pocket inside my purse, where I usually kept tampons and splenda. I sighed, straightened my lipstick, fluffed my hair, and went in CVS to buy something in order to assuage my guilt over sitting in their parking lot for a half-hour as a non-customer.
That was the kind of crazy shit I was always worried about. It hadn’t yet occurred to me how worried I should be, or about what, exactly, in embarking upon an affair with my friend’s husband.
But oh, that would come soon. I needn’t have been concerned.