A few weeks after their separation, Jeff received an email from Kate. It was her first direct communication since she kicked him out.
You can come by to pick up some things. Anything of yours you don't take I'm going to throw away. Don't come while I'm here. I don't want to see you. How could you do it? I did everything I could as a wife for you! I was faithful and loving and always helpful. Everything revolved around you and your needs. Well, your "needs" obviously were more important than our marriage to you. You are a complete bastard!
Kate had come home from work early, not feeling well, but really dispirited because everything was going so badly with Jeff, and when she'd seen a second car in their driveway she'd wondered what was happening. There was a strange voice, a woman's, when she opened the door, and she'd crept back to the bedroom. Already she was suspicious. At the first voice she knew. Everything fell into place. Everything. Everything came out of her chest and stomach, where she was instantly empty and weak, and where she felt a strange tingling. She crept along the hall, trying to control her breathing, not wanting to look, trying not to make crying sounds, knowing this was it.
Jeff was lying naked, on his back on the bed, right in the middle. Some naked woman Kate didn't know was straddling him, obviously impaled on him. He was holding her hips and sliding them back and forth on his groin, and her hands were flat on his chest, right over his nipples. Her breasts were swaying fast with her body motions, almost whipping back and forth, Kate thought, when she thought about it later. Jeff was panting but not making noises. It was the woman Kate had heard. She was still doing it, making high pitched, breathy grunts, showing how close she was getting by the pitch and the loudness. It was obscene. She was almost there, doing Kate's husband in Kate's bed, her vagina stuffed with Kate's husband's penis, her head tiled back and the one eye Kate could see almost closed. Jeff's pants changed so Kate knew he was close too, and that he was going to have his pleasure with that stranger in her bed. It was then that Kate screamed.
"No! No! Stop it, stop it stop it!"
Jeff's return email came within ten minutes.
Maybe I am a complete bastard, but it was hardly my needs that ran the marriage. I'm sorry I ended it that way, by fucking in our house. I should have been more manly and walked out long ago. BTW: I have everything I want. I don't want anything that reminds me of all the time I wasted on you.
Kate was outraged. She thought it had been a nice gesture to tell him he could come get some things at all. Bastard! Bastard, bastard, bastard!
You Son of a Bitch!
When did I ever do anything for myself? You always came first! You're too selfish to even realize that! Well, I'm sure you'll enjoy your new life, with your bimbos.
It was six hours later. Kate was writing an email to her mother, telling her about Jeff's latest stunt, when his next letter arrived.
>When did I ever do anything for myself?
==>How about making it impossible to ever do anything for you? Hating every present? Always showing me how little you thought of me? Hah! Being caught with another woman was hardly worse than putting up with how you acted when I tracked in some mud last winter! You were always waiting to catch me doing something wrong. Anything! I could never please you. Well it's over. I don't have to think about that any more.
>Well, I'm sure you'll enjoy your new life, with your bimbos.
==> Not a bimbo. A nice woman who happens to enjoy sex with me, after I went a long, long time without that. My needs?!?
Jeff (free at last!)
Fifteen minutes later:
> ==>How about making it impossible to ever do anything for you? Hating every present? You never even tried! You always went out at the last minute just to get something! Anything! It was too much effort for you to plan or try something really special.
> A nice woman who happens to enjoy sex with me, after I went a long, long time without that.
When was the last time you even touched me?
Kate went to bed as unhappy as she could remember being. It was as bad as the first days after she'd caught them. She kept remembering the sight of him, so happy with that other woman. She thought of how they had once been so happy themselves, how they'd spend hours in bed, touching and kissing and talking. She couldn't get out of her mind how nice he felt when she ran a hand over him, the texture of his muscles and bones. How long ago had that been? What had caused the rift? Had she really pushed him away? She hadn't meant to. It was hours before she finally fell asleep.
Before breakfast she turned her computer on and found a new email waiting for her.
>It was too much effort for you to plan or try something really special.
==> Touché. I'm not saying I'm anything close to perfect. If I were I wouldn't have taken up with another woman. I'd have left years ago. I've got flaws. You're right that I let things go by, that I could have tried harder on the presents. I'm sorry about that. I really am. But it doesn't change the fact that you submarined what I bought you, again and again, made long lists of what you didn't want, and showed your obvious displeasure with the things I tried to surprise you with. It was all part of your way of being controlling. Make me feel inadequate. Make be beholden to you. That was always your game, and it got worse with the years.
>When was the last time you touched me?
==> When was the last time I wanted to? I used to touch you all the time. I used to like touching you, and I think you liked it too. But when did you ever initiate sex? In all our years? Ever? Once or twice? Don't you lecture me about not touching!
She grew angry with the first paragraph. Then she read the second. Then the whole thing again. Then again. Once more. Again. Over and over. The complexity of how it all went wrong hit her for the first time.
"Oh, Jeff," she whispered. "Why did it come to this? Oh God."
I'm sorry about making it hard to get me presents. I know it's true. But you could have done more. That's all I meant. You never made me feel special, by doing anything really out of the ordinary. I know it wasn't all your fault. About the sex and touching. Well, I didn't begin lovemaking much. I know. But I did touch you. I always liked touching you. Don't you remember how I'd give you baby powder massages? (and you'd usually turn that into sex, anyway!) Or how I'd snuggle up against you before I went to sleep? And maybe I didn't begin sex very often, but did I ever make you think I didn't enjoy sex with you? At the end I got so lonely, because you shut me out.
Damn it! I told myself I wasn't going to let you make me cry any more. Go away!
Jeff was writing a letter when hers arrived. He read it and replied right away. Hurry, man! Damn! Damn!
Wait, Kate. Don't log off. Please. I don't want to hurt you. I never meant to hurt you. Getting caught was stupidity. Oh shit. Look, we hadn't been intimate in any way for so long. When the "other woman" came into my life, I thought it was a way I could keep the basic marriage going, at least as a shell or something, and not be so frustrated and unhappy all the time. I didn't "try" to break us up. I thought at some time it might get better. But no I didn't have any plan to make it better. Before you say it, no I didn't think very far. I know I hurt you badly. I'm sorry, I wish I'd acted better. Maybe it's for the best. I don't think you much cared for me anyway. Not by the end. This way you can find someone else.
Kate didn't respond. Jeff waited for almost an hour before logging off. The next two days he checked his email every hour or so. Finally he decided the conversation really was over, and that it really was for the best. He hadn't wanted to hurt her though. No, that wasn't true. He'd wanted to hurt her at first, but at the end he wished he could have comforted her.
He had dinner with Mary Ann, and spent the night at her apartment. She seemed awfully fond of his penis. The next morning he stopped by his apartment to change clothes, and found Kate's email from the previous night.
How can you say I didn't care for you? That's not fair!!! If you had touched me, if you had asked, I would have said yes. When did I ever say no? You knew I liked it with you. You always said you liked how I responded. And there were the things I didn't want to do at first that I did for you, because I loved you. Like taking your p-- in my mouth. Don't you remember at all? Do you just blank out all our sweet times?
He stared at it for several minutes. At work he thought about it. At lunch he read it again, then answered.
I always liked it when you used your mouth. You never just did it, though. I had to ask. It was like everything else. I had to ask at everything. Like it was some favor you were doing me. It was always that way, and when I was so angry with you I wasn't going to ask.
But you ask if I remember. Yeah, I remember a lot. The very last time we were really good in bed together. I remember baby powdering you all over. I massaged you everywhere. I did your whole body, not just your breasts or vagina. I went around and around your ass. You told me afterward that you got chills during it. I remember. Do you? You thought it was so erotic when I powdered your underarms. I masturbated you and did you with my fingers until you came. I remember. It was — hell, it was exquisite. But it was like always--I had to do it. I liked doing it. Don't get me wrong. but it never would have happened if it were up to you. You never would have started it. It was like I had to get you to grudgingly have sex.
Before he went to bed that night he took one last look at his email. There was a new one from Kate.