Remember when you whispered in his ear and kissed his neck, when you ran your finger down his chest and over his stomach and… When you kissed until you couldn’t taste, made love until it hurt? Remember when days were exciting and bedtime was intimate? Remember the sweat-soaked nights, his hair in your hands, the screaming of your name? Remember when seeing him was heart-racing, when it was he you thought about when you thought about sex?
And remember when you last saw him. Remember what you thought then, what you’re thinking now, what you’ll think tomorrow, when you see his face or hear his name.
Is it like it was before, when your relationship was budding and your nighttime enthralling? Is it, as the optimist says, that things are less lustful now than early on, but still intimate, maybe better? Or the pessimist, who’ll say it isn’t you who’s lost interest, but “it’s just not the same between us.” Or are you one of the others, who say, “but we’re still in love,” who can’t imagine life with or without him?
When you think of sex, do you think of him? Are you just “comfortable?” Or does hearing his name make you cringe?
Are you lying?
I write this to you in advance, on Valentine’s Day. Men are busying themselves with last-minute “oh shit” moments (I’ve yet to see any women in the same situation). The man at the table next to mine — I’m at a coffee shop — has called five restaurants for last-minute dinner reservations. He takes a call from his wife between his failed attempts and he and she continue an argument from earlier in the day: “Fuck, Patricia,” he whispers angrily, “I told you, I’ll pay it tomorrow.”
I wonder what he and Patricia were like when they met, and under what circumstances. David, we’ll call him. David and Patricia.
David’s a clean-shaven guy, solid build, late-thirties. He’s handsome and smells like spicy cologne. I sat next to him in hopes that he’d ask for my hand (‘cause you never know). His hair is thick, short, brunet. He is the universally attractive man, someone you see as the handsome womanizer in a Lifetime film, the masculine guy in a series on Bravo, a Mad Men cast character.
He has about him the air of a frat-boy-turned-business-man, someone who works late, has spontaneous outings with his friends, but schedules in advance regular “date nights” with Patricia. He’s ambitious, coworkers think, but are his long hours at the office spent to benefit his career, or are they distractions from screaming children at a dinner table and a frazzled Patricia, who’ll say, “You do the dishes. I’m too tired,” to which he’ll respond, “I’m tired. You’ve been at home all day,” as if his being tired is more warranted than hers.
I shouldn’t think this way. I should think that David and Patricia are happy, that they find time to screw at least twice a week, that their arguments start and end with small-time bickering. David’s simply forgotten that today was Valentine’s Day, or thinks to himself, “I love Patricia all year long. Why do we need a special day?”
Who is Patricia to David? Is she exclusively maternal — a sounding board, keeper of reason, mother to his kids? Are they still ravenous in bed? Does she turn him on? And does he, her?
They met in college at a kegger, I pretend. He bumped into her dancing, she spilled her drink, they exchanged numbers, explored each other’s body, found each other’s heart, and began a chain of decisions and coincidences that led David to this very place at this very time, sitting at a coffee shop next to me.
And then his phone argument with Patricia ends with him saying, “I love you too. I can’t wait to see you, gorgeous.”