He Met Somebody at a Conference
He waited till we were in bed to spring it on me. You what?!? I sputtered. I probably sounded more upset than I was, but I had just ordered the bumper sticker he wanted, the one that says, My Girlfriend is a Goddess from Northport, and I was in no mood to pull it out of him piece by piece. So that’s why he never answered his cell. We didn’t have sex, he defended, like that was the point, like now I would roll over and say, Well, cool then! What’s her name? When is she coming to dinner? Honestly, it wouldn’t have mattered that much. It’s a conference tradition— almost a requirement, really. The folks with an eye out find each other fast. And bang. Bang bang bang. But all they did was ditch meetings, take walk, and shop for clothes they had no intention of buying. They picked things out for each other, tried everything on. He just kept talking, and I held my tongue
I was getting a pretty good picture of how it was, how she studied him, standing there with her head at a tilt while a triptych of mirrors shed light on every angle and made him a multitude. Her eyes took in the whole of him, runner’s calf to GQ jowl, looking at him so intently it felt, he said, like she was looking all the way into the depths of the very black hole he feared he was, but then he would kind of flip inside-out and into a parallel universe with just the two of them. It was odd and a little eerie how it happened, and he thought that it must have felt almost like almost dying, but without the fear.
And I’m thinking what a piece of work. After confessing to three days eyeballing that tart in public, using their faux shopping trips for cover, and making it all sound like church, he wants my blessing. I always knew it was temporary, what with him barely older than my son, two little kids already, and a couple of pissed-off exes. I just didn’t see it coming this soon. And last week I loaned him money. Should have known better. We met at a conference too.