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It's not a conscious decision you make, neither is it a specific point you arrive at like a landmark on a journey; it's just a vague feeling that your life has become a bore and it's time you did something about it. You don't plan to go out looking for it; it's just that when the opportunity presents itself, you suddenly find yourself no longer hiding behind the gold band on your finger.
You know you still love your wife, but complacency has eroded your marriage like rust in a fifteen-year-old Chevy. You are comfortable with each other.
Too damn comfortable.
Then there's the matter of your wife letting things slip a little. A few bulges where there used to be firm flesh, and sex has become something you see large dollops of on HBO but virtually never experience yourself.
It's time for The Fling.
THE OFFICE PARTY
Previously tedious occasions of monotonous small talk now become a cesspool of sexual innuendo. You check out the birds through your eyelashes and fill your conversation with ambiguous words to hint at, if not blatantly advertise, your availability for a carnal cavort.
You know that one of the cute young secretaries your recently divorced vice-president invited along to provide a little "scenery" just happens to fancy you, so you carefully engineer a space next to her delectable buns in the anticipation of great things to come - literally.
By now you've had more beers than you can remember and you pull out all the stops. You're witty, charming, and smooth. You fill your conversation with evocative remarks and asides that carry just the right amount of subtle suggestion. The girl sitting next to you giggles at every stupid comment you make and rests her hand strategically on your leg. You sigh happily in the realization that you haven't lost it - whatever "it" might be.
The party finally breaks up, but there is no way you're going home yet, not with things going this well. Fortified by more than a few brewskies, you invite yourself over to her place for a nightcap. Just for a second, the specter of your wife's ghastly visage filters through the lust, but you put all thought of her out of your mind and drape yourself seductively on the girl's couch.
The Big Moment has finally arrived.
You take a deep breath, mutter "what the hell" and lean over to kiss her the way you've always fantasized about kissing Sharon Stone. One sinful thing leads to another and you end ten years of marital fidelity in an illicit night of wanton passion.
THE MORNING AFTER
You stare into the mirror as you shave, looking to see if the previous night's abandon has changed you in any way. After a few moments of careful examination, you determine that you look more relaxed, more confident, and as suave as a Frenchman at a girl guides' camp.
And panic-stricken, as guilt crashes into you with the force of a runaway train. You know damn well if your wife had to find out, she will...she will...do something pretty drastic.
But you can't get the picture of Her out of your mind. You compare Her uninhibited abandon with the all too familiar pattern of your wife's sexual routine. This girl was dynamite! You smile as you remember some of the bodily contortions...
But once again guilt begins to overpower the euphoria as you hear the missus wake up. You are convinced she will know about Her the minute she looks in your eyes.
But she doesn't. She just kisses you good morning and asks how your office party went with vague disinterest.
Although you are still plagued by guilt over the next few days, every time your wife dresses up like a dragon with a terminal disease or screams at you for leaving your clothes lying around, you conjure up a picture of Her, mentally painting out your wife's sagging liabilities with Her firm assets.
The way She looks at you at the office helps a lot. Like you're some kind of demi-god or something. Like you're Michael Douglas or Harrison Ford or that Ricki guy with the gold flecked hair. She finds any excuse to come into your office and fill your space with erotic anticipation.
You know itís only a question of time before you find yourself between her satin sheets again...
So you start inventing a lot of new projects the president has given you; projects that mean working long hours at the office - or other unrevealed locations.
Life has become fun. Complicated perhaps, even filled with stress at times, what with you having to come up with more and more outlandish schemes to see Her, but fun nevertheless.
You know that what you are doing is dangerous to your marriage, your family, your job, and your future. But you don't care, you're running on the rich fuel of obsession, and nothing can stop you.
You get away with it for a while, but you know deep down, one day you're going to make a mistake.
Your ever-loving wife soon becomes suspicious about your suddenly enlarged portfolio of extra-curricular activities and follows you one evening when you issued your standard sorry-love-got-another-one-of-those-damn-functions-to-attend excuses.
You exit Her flat still struggling to pull up your zip, only to find your missus leaning nonchalantly on the bonnet of your company car. Her lips dissolve into a predator's smile and she picks up a rock throwing it expertly through the windscreen, still grinning like Freddie Krueger on a wild Elm Street night. She then politely tells you not to bother coming home for a while.
And you thought she was kidding. But after three months of sharing Her flat - which is about three inches larger than a decompression chamber - you begin to realize that your soon to be ex is Serious.
A year passes. You like the little apartment you've rented, even if it is a little small by the standards of your house the judge gave to your wife. No pool or garden, but who needs them? Just more work anyway when you'd much rather be doing something else. Something fun.
But it does get a little lonely at times.
So what happened to Her then? Well, you were forced to dump Her. Sex is one thing, but after a while you got a little tired of talking in words of one syllable. And Her infantile barely-out-of-their-teens friends kept on mistaking you for Her father. You also noticed that She seemed to be spending quite a bit of time chatting up the new wavy-haired financial manager at the office - who's married, of course (but not for long, you snigger). So She became she, and she's history.
You do miss the kids. Every second weekend sounded fine at the time, but now you're not so sure. You got steam-rolled in court because you didn't have the courage to face up to your wife and tell her how you really felt. As usual.
You saw your ex at the mall today, clutching tightly on to the arm of a rustic but friendly looking chap. She's looking quite good. Actually, she's looking very good. The rolls of flab have gone, she's streaked her hair and damn, she looks good! A sophisticated sexy; a sort of thinking man's siren.
Not for the first time you wonder why you didn't just have a heart to heart with her about rekindling the fire in your relationship, instead of chasing the first 38 C-cup that showed an interest. The problems you had with her seem kind of stupid now. Trivial in the greater scheme of things.
You miss the chorus of hellos when you walk through the door after another lousy day at the office. You miss the mature conversation, the laughter at the children's antics and falling asleep together in front of the TV. You miss the way she understood you when nobody else did.
You miss her.
But life goes on and that's all in the past now, especially as your daughter mentioned that even though she's going to get a new daddy soon, she'll still love you, anyway.
You had fun. You had your fling.
Was it worth it?
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