I’m an average guy.
When I was young I became very ill. The doctors had a difficult time keeping my temperature under control and it spiked to 108. When my parents were able to take me home, I was different. Something that made me who I was had disappeared. It terrified my parents and left me mystified. I was no longer interested in some old hobbies and new interests took their place. Friends that I thought I would have for life I felt no kinship for and I forged relationships with people I previously had no interest in.
For a while after that I considered changing my name, but I knew that would hurt my parents so I didn’t bring it up. I was thirteen and I knew that possibility would still be there when I was old enough. I no longer felt like a Jim. I felt like a Milton or a Henry. I didn’t know why.
The biggest change was that my metaphorical field of vision narrowed. I lacked the ability to see how anything other than what should happen, could happen. I walked around with blinders on. It wasn’t all bad. The balancing factor was that I had a new capacity to concentrate on minutia. I wasn’t any smarter, but it was like I was a walking advertisement for Adderall.
I learned to pick up cues from my peers. I had no problems socializing, but there were times when I just didn’t get a joke or the underlying meaning of what someone said. If others laughed or seemed taken aback, I followed suit. It didn’t happen often, but it was enough to remind me that in some ways, I was different.
In everything else, I was pretty average. By the time I was in my second year of college, I stood 5’10 and weighed 155. My brown hair and eyes weren’t remarkable, but they weren’t repulsive. I could easily get lost in a crowd, but babies didn’t start crying when they saw me. I didn’t question it when Lillian took an interest in me. She was beautiful, but I was a good guy, I treated her well and we got along.
Why wouldn’t we start dating? Why wouldn’t we go steady? Why wouldn’t we get married after graduating?
I had considered going for an MBA but decided on a MAcc. Numbers and details came easily to me and the market for accountants with a Masters was projected to grow more than ten percent a year for the foreseeable future. My grades made me an attractive prospect and I was recruited by Deloitte. Lilly graduated with a BSc and immediately had a well-paying job as a pharmaceutical representative for Gilead Sciences.
An intelligent, well-educated and beautiful woman, she schmoozed people for a living. Trade shows and corporate retreats were her hunting grounds and executives with money to spend were her prey. Within a few years, I was moved into forensic accounting and we were very financially comfortable. Lilly gave birth to our daughter Dagny and I couldn’t have expected to be any happier than I was.
Over the next seventeen years, I started consulting on the side for various law enforcement agencies. They had their own experts, but it always looked good to bring in someone from the outside that could be referenced in front of a jury. I always prepared meticulously. Without fail, my research was impeccable, contingencies planned for and back-up plans were made.
I had my doctorate by then and having a prosecutor start with “Now, Dr. Karamides doesn’t work for the FBI or the DA’s office, but he graciously takes time from his position with the world’s third largest accounting firm and publishing his industry-leading treatises to lend a hand when it’s needed.” always impressed.
I came out of my home office when Dagny got home. “Honey, we’re going to have to schedule your physical. Your coach’ll need the results by next week.”
“Dad, I’m not playing volleyball this year.”
I didn’t understand what she meant. “No, honey, for the team. If we don’t get the physical, he can’t let you play.”
She looked at me with a little frown that I recognized. Dagny used it whenever I wasn’t quite getting something. It didn’t happen often, but she knew that sometimes I was a little different. “No, Dad, I’m not playing this year. I need to concentrate on my grades if I want to get into Yale.”
“But ... but you’re a volleyball player. You love volleyball. That’s what you do.”
“Yeah, and I’ll still play, just not on the team. It’s okay, Dad.”
Trying to reassure her, I smiled. It felt forced and must have looked that way. “All right, honey. Maybe ... maybe in college.” She didn’t look reassured. I wiped the sweat from my palms on my slacks, went back into my office and closed the door behind me. My heart was beating too rapidly, and I sat down, losing myself in numbers until Lilly came home with dinner.
A few weeks went by and Lilly sat across from me after Dagny went to the mall with her boyfriend.
“James, you need to talk to your daughter. I can’t take her disrespect any longer.”
“What? She’s not disrespectful. She’s ... well, she’s the same as she’s always been.”
“To you, yes. To me, she’s a raging bitch and I can’t take it anymore.”
“I, really? This is, I don’t know. Really?”
“Yes, James, really. Wake up. I’m not pulling this out of my ass. Talk to her. I’m at the end of my rope.”
“Okay, Lil. This doesn’t make any sense, but I’ll talk to her.”
My conversation with my daughter was bizarre. She kept trying to assure me that I was a great father and a good man. There were a lot of tears and she promised to try to treat her mother better. I still didn’t know what had occurred between them and what caused it, but I felt a little better about the situation and Lilly didn’t bring it up again.
A month went by and I was in bed with my wife when she rolled over and rested her hand on my chest. “Jim, have you ever thought about being with someone else?”
This was odd, but not too concerning. We had a good marriage, she loved me, and I loved her. “No, not since we’ve been together. I’m not interested in anyone other than you and even if I was, I’d never want to put our marriage in danger.”
“No, of course not. Not in danger. Nothing permanent or serious, I just ... I don’t know. Maybe something consenting. Something new. Sort of liven things up.”
“Do you think that things need to be livened up?”
“Oh, no. I was just worried that you might. We’ve been married twenty years. You might be getting bored with me.”
I smiled. “Honey, I love you to death. I’d never be bored with you. You’re as beautiful and sexy as the day I saw you in Professor Rothbard’s lecture. We’re forever. I don’t want anyone else. We’ll be together till the end.”
“Uh huh. Absolutely. Till the end.”
We made love that night and she seemed more eager than normal, as if she was trying to convince me and reassure me of her love. Of course, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t needed. I loved her, and she loved me. We had a great marriage.
A week went by and she brought it up again. “Jim, what if I was okay with it? Like, for your birthday or something?”
“Okay with what, Lil?”
“You know, you being with someone else. Just a one-time thing. No threat to us, just a one-off.”
“Honey, where is this coming from? I don’t want or need anyone else.”
“I don’t want you to feel that you need to hide anything. We ... I can’t lose you no matter what happens. If you need to do something, just be honest with me.”
“Lilly, you’re not going to lose me. What’s going on? I promise you, you’re the only woman I have eyes for. Did I do something that made you think otherwise?”
“No, Jim, just promise that regardless of anything else, we’ll always be together.”
“Of course. Till the end.”
We needed to arrange a vacation. Some alone time. She had been working a lot of extra hours and weekends. The stress must have been overwhelming. Lillian needed to decompress, and I needed to let help her understand that she was the only woman for me.
We weren’t able to schedule anything within the next eight weeks, but she did introduce some new toys into our love making. Lilly said she thought it would liven things up. Butt plugs and anal beads led to handcuffs and blindfolds. We arranged safe-words and alternated who was in charge. She did seem to be into it more than I was, especially on nights when I was cuffed and she was in control.
Lillian’s stress seemed to decrease, and things went back to the way before her fears were voiced. I think she knew that I wasn’t planning on leaving her and she found strength in that. She grew more aggressive in the bedroom and I noticed her wardrobe had expanded while the amount of skin it covered decreased.
Dagny spent Thanksgiving with us and her grandparents and left Friday morning on a ski trip with her boyfriend and his parents. I found Lilly in our bedroom that evening and she was getting dressed for a night on the town. At forty-two, she was still the most stunning woman I knew. Her raven black tresses needed an occasional touch-up, but everything else was hers.
She stood with her back to me while looking in the mirror as she placed her earrings in her lobes. Lilly was in her panties and bra. It was a tiny black set that I didn’t recognize. “Where are we going, honey?”
Her sigh was audible. She didn’t turn as she spoke. “I’m going out, Jim. You’re staying here.”
“What are you talking about?”
Still not turning around, she shimmied into an LBD. Another item I didn’t recognize. “I’m taking things to the next level, Jim. I promise, when I get home tomorrow, you’ll get all the loving you could want.”
“I ... what? What the hell are you talking about? Tomorrow?”
“Don’t pretend to be surprised. You knew what was going on. I just couldn’t do it behind your back anymore. I couldn’t demand honesty that I refused you. I’ll be staying with Bill tonight.”
“Who the fuck is Bill? You’re going out with another man and won’t be back until tomorrow? Have you lost your mind?”
“Come on, Jim. I’ve been fucking him for seven months. You knew. All those late nights, weekends, the sex toys. You’re not a stupid man. You knew. You’re kiddin’ yourself.”
“You’ve ... Seven months?” I started sweating and my heart raced. “I can’t believe this. I don’t understand. You’re my wife. Seven months?”
“Nothing will change between us. It hasn’t until now. Together till the end. I just need this. I need to push myself, to ... explore.”
This wasn’t right. Things don’t happen like this. She’s my wife. We have a daughter. We’re happy. Should I have noticed something? Did I fail again? Something shifted in my head. It was almost a violent switch of paradigms. They say that you can’t just stop loving someone. Maybe that’s true for the normal person. It’s not for me.
“I’d tell you that if you left tonight that you shouldn’t come back, but I’m seven months too late. The barn door’s been open for more than half a year. Do what you’re going to do.”
I went downstairs to my office and went online. More research, more planning. Just as meticulous.
Lillian returned Saturday afternoon. I wasn’t there. Dagny and I had been taking culinary courses together for the past few years. It was father-daughter bonding that we both enjoyed. A few hours once a month with my daughter helped build memories for when she was out on her own and her parents were an afterthought. I found classes for Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Monday and Wednesday I spent my time in my office.
I rebuffed Lilly’s attempts at pity fucks and slept in the guest room. Dagny must have noticed but she never questioned what was happening and I didn’t volunteer any information. She ignored her mother to the point where Lilly would scream at her.
Dagny’s boyfriend was going with his parents to look at colleges the next weekend and Lilly asked them to take our daughter. They were good people and were happy to have her along. Not knowing what Lillian had planned for the weekend, I didn’t interfere.
At around 8:00 PM, Lilly stuck her head in my office. “Are you in for the evening?”
I ignored her.
“Grow up and stop pouting. Are you going out?”
I ignored her.
“Fine. I’m leaving. I’ll be back by eleven and Bill’s coming back with me. He’s staying the night. Whaddya say? You going to be here?”
I ignored her.
Sitting in the darkened living room, I heard their laughter before the door opened.
My wife was leaning into her lover as they entered. “You’re killing me. No, it’s fine. Truly. He wouldn’t...”
She saw me sitting there, a bottle of rum at my side. “Jim. Bill, this is Jim. Don’t wait up. It’s going to be a long night.”
Bill looked me up and down. He was a big guy, 6’2” or 6’3”. He took off his suit jacket and tossed it on the couch next to me. He had a holstered gun under his left shoulder. “Keep the stereo down, cuck, and you’ll hear your wife scream for the first time.”