I sip my Merlot slowly. Savoring the flavor and the now. He knows my shoe fetish. I smile at the box. The right dimensions for a pair of size 7 Jimmy Choos. It's my birthday and our first year anniversary. One year of being an older man's mistress. Still not sure how it happened... not even sure if I am a mistress. It's a technicality that I find amusing. He's been separated the entire time I have known him. He just refuses to get a divorce.
The wine swirls seductively and dangerously close to the crystal rim. My blurry eyes meet his drowsy ones. Work exhausts him. He owns and works at a construction company, 12 to15 hours a day, not to mention weekends. He's not handsome, just magnetic and very good in bed. His body is to die for. I met him at the gym.
The gift inches towards me. I carefully set the glass down and reach out. My hands caress the smooth sides of the silvered wrapping paper. Then I tear in, throwing shreds of paper in the air and tossing the lid after them. He chuckles appreciatively at my enthusiastic oohs and aahs. The way I reverently hold them up to the chandelier's minimal light. Their apple red sheen and chaotic straps have me wet between my bare thighs. I'm suddenly still and it alerts him instantly.
His low, slightly accented voice demands that I put them on now. I wiggle my purple, expensive toes at him and sigh with a slur, "I don't know if the red matches..."
A growl and a chair scraping wood floors makes me laugh and I quickly slip the heels on my feet. Just quickly enough to run around to the other side. He's after me, lust replacing drowsiness. My negligee catches a corner and tears. Strong, tan arms pick me up, gasping for air, I kick the table.Wine glasses topple, spill. We watch, frozen, as dark red soaks, spreads, staining the white tablecloth. There's something arousing in watching sinful color overtake purity. He groans into my neck and throws me on tabletop. Wine glasses roll off, shatter. We ignore it as he spreads my legs wide and takes me on the table. Merlot sticks to my back. It is an unfamiliar feeling amid a familiar one. I sip it slowly.
The coffee percolates as I stare at a blank screen. Flavors of yesterday hiding words of anger. It is the day after my birthday and I am still writing a story in my mind. One that is a lie. I want to write on the page. The page won't let me hide. It will show me I am lying. Like shoes on toes that lead to sex, words from fingers lead to truth.
Writing to release the fear and excitement caused by balancing on the edge of life's wine glass. I want the protective balance that I stand on to tip. I'm not even sure that I care which way it falls. To the right or to the left? Either one has an unknown abyss. Well, what's at the bottom is the unknown. The fall would be the question. If I were to label the directions, then perhaps the right would be, "To be alone?" and the left would be, "To continue and with whom?" You might want to think that the latter question would have to do with where I am at now on that precarious lip, but it's not, because the balance has been in me as one trying to live two deceptive lives. I am ready to fall.
But even that requires commitment. Something I am truly afraid of. Committing to be alone? Committing to be with whom? I have never been alone and I was with someone for almost 17 years. Then I became a mistress. It's apparent that I do not know what's best for me. The faith to trust the universe to take of me is also sadly lacking. Perhaps that also leads to the pathetic fact that, in my whole life, I have never trusted myself, the world or other people. I was taught not to trust, that it's all a battle, that they are all out to get me. Being one that lacked strength of character, confidence it was easy to manipulate me into a Yes-girl and I'll-hide-in-here-(usually a book)-girl.
The coffee is bitter today. I've made it too strong and let it sit too long. Just like the past and present relationship. It's no good. I've got to do it now and today. I pour the brackish down the drain. The burned coffee splashes and stains the sink. Like a Rorschach blot obscuring what should be a clean white page. Liquid images drying to stainless steel walls. For a moment the randomness reveals only what I want to see. And then I stop. This has been my curse my entire life. Eyes open, inebriation fading away, I turn on the faucet and enjoy a profound clarity as pure water washes it all away. My mind is free and made up. I reach for the phone.
Seven numbers are hard to dial. I hate myself for that. I tell him that I love the shoes. I enjoyed our Merlot. But I need to make a new pot of coffee.
Yes, I dumped him like I dumped that coffee down the drain. Carefully placing the grounds in the compost. I muse how I'll use it, and him, in the future. It's a relief to finally tell him it's over for now, but there can still be a later. I told him he can come back when he's finally divorced. If it's done before the Choos wear out and before I manage to find a new wine and perfect my coffee making technique. The Choos are still new, but I don't think he'll make it before I invest my money in a vineyard and figure out the perfect balance between grounds and water.
I'm drunk on the left. I'm awake on the right. Who, what, shall I sip in the middle?