The time was nearing when Harriet would be flying off to South Africa. I called her and asked if she’d like to get together once more before she took off. She said she couldn’t because she was swamped with preparations and had agreed to meet with an old girlfriend Friday night before she flew out on Saturday.
She suggested that maybe I could come along with her and her mother to the airport Saturday morning. I agreed and she said to be at her mother’s house at around 7:00 am to ride along.
I stayed in Friday evening listening to some music and catching up on some reading. The phone rang and I didn’t bother to pick it up. It happened several times but no message was left. Then at around 8:30 my doorbell rang; imagine my surprise when I flipped on the porch light and opened the door and saw Harriet standing there!
“Harriet!” I exclaimed.
“May I come in?” she asked.
“Sure,” I replied, pulling the door open wide. “Is everything all right?”
“Nothing’s wrong. I just need someone to talk to, I guess.”
She came into my living room and sat on the sofa. I asked her if she’s like something to drink and she asked if I had any wine. I’m not a wine drinker but I told her I had a cheap bottle of something for use in a pinch.
She said that would be fine so I went to the kitchen and returned with a glass of merlot for her and a beer for myself.
“So, I thought you were going out with a friend tonight,” I said.
“I was…I did. It didn’t go very well so I left. I called you but you didn’t answer. When I drove by her I saw your car so I rang your bell. I’m sorry to barge in…” She took a healthy swig of her wine.
“I’m glad I didn’t interrupt anything!”
We sipped our drinks and sat through a thorny silence.
“Can I tell you something, Walter?”
“Sure. We could always say whatever we wanted to each other, you know that.”
“I know. But there’s something I never told you that I should have.” “Okay…”
“I don’t want you to be mad, but remember when I was in nursing school and our relationship kind of petered out all of the sudden?” I nodded.
“Well, I kind of was involved with somebody else.”
“Ah,” I said. As if it all made sense now, which of course it didn’t.
“It’s not what you think, Walter. I wasn’t running around on you or anything. It just sort of happened naturally. It was with one of my classmates. Her name is Gina. That’s who I met with tonight.”
“There was another dicey silence as I digested this news update.
“Anyway, we became lovers. I’d never had sex with another girl before. Gina had, but I hadn’t, it was all new to me, and I couldn’t get enough. We lived together, worked together, played together, studied together, slept together. It made everything else in life better; I thought, so this is who I am! Then after almost three years she dumped me for a man! I caught her fucking him in our apartment.”
“Oh, I’m sorry…”
“That’s when I went into travel nursing. To get far away from it…from her. But it only helped to a certain extent. I just couldn’t quite get over the hurt…the betrayal…the insult!”
I reached over and put my hand on hers. She gripped my hand and squeezed tight.
“I’m sorry to dump all this on you, Walter”
“It’s okay, it’s okay.”
“Anyway, that’s who I met with tonight: Gina. I ran into her last week at the gym where Mom works out. It was awkward…really weird…but we chatted for a minute or two and she suggested we meet for a drink. So I thought okay, bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones and all that, and I’m leaving tomorrow anyway but maybe I could finally reach some kind of closure and move on.”
“So, what happened?” I asked.
She took another gulp of wine and her glass was almost empty. I took her glass to the kitchen and returned with it refilled.
“So,” she continued, and took a deep breath. “She’s now married to the guy. Then she starts talking about how her husband really wants to watch her doing another chick, and since I was the last chick she was with, maybe I’d like to join them in the sack. And she said that she wouldn’t mind seeing Hubby fucking another woman either, so what did I think, am I up for it, it would be fun. I mean, can you believe that?”
“Oh, wow!” I said. “What did you say to that?”
She let out with a nervous laugh.
“Well, I’m not proud of what I did, but I can’t say I’m sorry about it either. I mean it, she made me feel so dirty, so cheap; like some monkey in the zoo that they can watch and get themselves off!”
She shivered and took another anxious sip of wine. “I called her a fucking cunt, threw my drink in her face and got up and walked out!”
“All right, you go girl!
“I’m over that bitch!”
Another pregnant pause ensued as we held hands and sipped drinks. Then Harriet put her drink on the table and turned her body to face me more directly.