Part 1: The Incident
When Michael thinks about it after the fact it seems all jumbled, and time heaves in huge blocks. Sometimes it is as if everything happened instantaneously. Coming down the hall, home a night early. Surprise her. Sarah will be so happy. She must be in the bedroom. What are those sounds from back there? A man is grunting? "Unnh!" he's saying, complete with the aspiration. Then, "Oh you're good, you're good, keep it up, keep it up!"
Hurry now! Something's happening! Why don't they hear his steps? Michael half turns the corner into the bedroom and that's when his whole world is torn away and he's frozen to the spot, he's floating somewhere in space, he's unable to comprehend the simplest thing.
It's George, who works with Sarah, standing, half leaning back against the footboard, and he's naked. Sarah is kneeling naked on the floor in front of him with his dick sticking in her mouth. George is grunting again. He seems close. His hands are on her head, grabbing some of her hair, and he's moving his dick in and out. She's moving sinuously, back and forth with the motion of his dick, like a mermaid swallowing an eel. He's looking straight down at her and she's looking up at him through her eyelashes and her face shows desire. She pulls back and he says, "Don't stop," and she answers, "I don't want you to finish too quick." It's Sarah's voice, not that of a mermaid. It's her voice when she's especially excited. She begins taking his dick in deep and pulling it out, keeping her lips tightly around it, the way she eats popsicles.
George's dick is huge, much bigger than Michael's. Even his balls are huge. Michael is amazed at the size, at the thickness even more than the length. It makes the scene even more surreal. He can only watch, can't move, can't say anything. He watches his wife pleasure George and taste and enjoy him, and somehow neither of them notices the third person, the witness. Then George takes a breath and moans "I'm gonna cum," and Sarah takes him back in her mouth all the way, and holds him there and pumps him into her, and finally, way out in right field, Michael yells, "What are you doing?"
Later is seems obscenely lame and stereotyped. It's obvious what they are doing. But what do you say?
George yells, "Oh shit!" and pulls away and Sarah has a profound startle reaction, jerking around toward Michael faster than he would have thought possible, shrieking and trying to cover herself with her arms. She stares straight at Michael. George had started to ejaculate, but when they jerked apart he shot a line of semen across her cheek. Now he crouches back, as though to defend himself, and his big dick pumps spurt after whitish spurt on the new carpet. Won't it ever finish? How much can there be?
No one says anything, or moves, for how long? Yell at them! Throw something! Hit George! Hit Sarah! Instead Michael staggers against the door frame. The room starts to spin. He rights himself and inches away, then stumbles all the way back out to the kitchen where he leans against the table. He waits. What will he say? What will he do?
There are sounds of scrambling from the bedroom, tense voices, one high pitched and one deep. Sharp, short words. Michael hears Sarah's voice over George's, saying, "Just go now." What can he do? They'll walk out right past him. Michael pushes through the screen door and staggers again, out to his car, gets in, and drives away. He leaves his suitcase and briefcase behind.
He drives to his office. The whole way there he's trying to control his driving, trying to stay in his lane, to stop at intersections, to keep the car going. At first he forgot to turn on the headlights. He wishes he hadn't left. Now that he's out he can't stand not to be there, but he can't bring himself to turn the car around either. On campus he walks up to the department through the stairwell, and the echo of his footsteps is the only sound in the world. What's Sarah doing? Has George left yet? Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
In his office there's a couch he can sleep on. Hah! As if! He turns on a desk light and his computer. He goes to the couch. He goes to the desk. He looks at the phone. Should he call her? What would he say? She could call him, but she doesn't. She won't. He doesn't consider that she wouldn't know where he's gone. Should he go back home? He paces and sits, paces and sits. He starts a CD that he won't listen to. His mind just won't stay still. He goes to the bathroom then hurries back, afraid he may have missed her call. Go home. You've got to see her. He has started to get over the shock, he thinks, and to get angry, but he finds himself being awakened at 4:07 a.m. by the cleaning lady.
In this part of the memory, everything is slower for Michael. It flows over him with no particular rush, what has happened. He really had thought maybe it could be a nightmare. No, it's real all right. It happened. What do you do about it?
Michael may as well go home now and get it over with. Face Sarah. He doesn't have any idea what will happen. He knows only that he isn't angry at all. He's depressed. He's mourning. He washes his face in the bathroom and trudges away with the cleaning lady staring after him.
It's worse the closer to home he gets. He almost can't go all the way there. Half a block away he actually stops for several minutes and stares down toward their house before he finally resolves to drive past it and around the block-but when he gets to it her car isn't there. Only then does he realize he hasn't really been breathing. He turns up the driveway.
Where had George parked his car?
Sarah has put a note on the door on a sheet of torn notebook paper. It's in her handwriting in blue ink, written with the calligraphy pen Michael bought her last Christmas. It's as though she had intended to write him something poetic and grand that would make everything okay, but when he reads the note there's no style to it at all:
I'm so ashamed. I can't explain myself. Please forgive me. I love you. I'm sorry. Please believe me.
I love you,
Below the rest, at the bottom of the sheet: "I'll spend the night at a motel. I'm not with George. Please forgive me, Mike."
Michael walks all the way through the house to the bedroom, to the place he saw them, his and Sarah's most private place. The carpet has been washed where George came on it. It looks like someone scrubbed it hard. He touches it and it's damp. He goes into the master bathroom to wash his hand.
What should he do?
He wanders around the house, looking at everything, wondering how it is so different from when he left the day before yesterday. It was just a simple professional meeting, the kind of thing he's gone to dozens of times. He didn't want to go because he wouldn't know anyone and he'd been hoping almost to the last minute that Sarah would be able to go with him. He remembers that when he called last night she had sounded happy to hear from him and had said she loved him, like she always does. Was George here then too? Was he here during other meetings? Were other men here?
His suitcase isn't where he left it. That's a subtle change, not like the overwhelming difference to the house itself. There's a ghostly presence, something hollow and cold, a strange emptiness, and silence. There are shadows he's never noticed, and he hears the floor groan when he walks.
He finds his suitcase. It's in the bedroom closet, right where it should be, empty. Everything has been put away. Everything is tidy. His shirts are hung and the top buttons are buttoned. He almost never buttons them on the hangers. In the armoire, his clothes are folded and neat, much neater than he would have left them. The little cornhusk doll he got Sarah as a present is on the étagére in the den, still wrapped. Michael vaguely remembers putting it on the dining table just before he went back to the bedroom to surprise Sarah. He has a stray thought that he should put it with her doll collection, but he does nothing.
Breathe in, breathe out. His chest seems to be unlocking just a bit. His thoughts slow down more. He won't have to face her just now, won't have to worry about not knowing what to say or how to handle it. He's already growing accustomed to the thought that his marriage is over, or he thinks he is, but when he walks back to the bedroom he can't stop staring at the spot on the carpet where George came so lushly. The moisture makes it a little dark.
Finally Michael starts to cry. He fights it. He really does. When he gives in he tries to do it quietly, but he can't really succeed even at that. He can't help gasping and making the sounds of grief, and his shoulders and chest shudder and shake. He leans back against the door frame and tears stream down his face.
Sarah. Sarah. Please don't leave me.
It takes a while to cry himself out, but everyone goes dry eventually, and after enough time has passed he simply leans there, staring into the room at nothing in particular and wondering how he lost his wife.
By and by he is caught in a wave of exhaustion. He strips down to his underwear and drops the clothes on the floor, careful to avoid the wet spot, then crawls into the bed. He leaves his reading light on. Soon he's almost asleep in that half-lit room, occasionally opening his eyes a little to look up at the ceiling fan, and his thoughts are slowing, slowing. He's thinking only of Sarah, of what he should have done, of what he did, of what he could have done. Then, when he begins to drift, an image brings him back. Yes, it's Sarah. George is spurting into her mouth and she's loving it. She's excited.
.... There is more of this story ...