An Affair with Mr. Ordinaryby Hannah Sward
I had been looking for a lover for over a year. It was harder to find one than I expected. It probably had something to do with me having a boyfriend, Dirk, who I lived with and couldn’t imagine leaving. I didn’t want to leave; I was in love with him. But I was jealous. And I needed more sex, more than twice a week especially since I didn’t feel satisfied after we had sex. It ended too fast.
I never said anything to him about ‘holding out’ longer. How do you say that to a man? You cum too fast. I did speak up about wanting more sex though, a lot, and this probably made things worse.
“Relationships aren’t all about sex,” he’d say.
I thought maybe him being forty-one and me being nineteen had something to do with our difference in sex drives. But really, I didn’t think it was about age.
I thought he didn’t want sex as much as I did because he was having affairs and by the time he came home to me his desires had already been fulfilled. Early on all the snooping I did, finding a postcard in his office drawer saying ‘to my number one hard on’ with a kiss mark on it, snapshots of naked women and a yellow notepad with lists of names. Amber, Nicole, Greta, Lisa, Marlene, Rebecca. Three pages of names and if not names then brief notes like girl from hardware store, girl at Tobacco Road, supermarket girl.
I created whole scenarios in my head. Beautiful, long legged strippers, models who bathed topless on South Beach, sexy Latin women with large asses and small waists who were wildly passionate. Or all the young University of Miami girls who were in the film class he taught bringing nude pictures of them selves into his office. I thought about him having sex with them all.
An affair seemed like a solution with handling my jealousy and wanting more sex. So that’s what I did. While my boyfriend was off with these imaginary women I’d be having sweaty sex and later, on my way home I’d pick up a bbq chicken and we’d have dinner together and watch Benny Hill or an old movie.
Kevin was a stockbroker. He wore short-sleeve Polo shirts with the collar turned up, faded high waisted blue jeans with a thin leather belt and he had an ordinary haircut that reminded me of a Real Estate agent’s picture. The kind you see plastered on the side of a city bus or sticking out of an astro turf lawn of someone’s house. And the name Kevin, it was in a category of names I could do without.
“Bruce or Harry?” my sister and I used to ask each other pretending we had to choose between the two for our next boyfriend.
Sometimes we’d get stumped.
Kevin was just the kind of man I would never go for.
I met him at the gym. At the time I went compulsively. Taking step aerobic classes, the Stairmaster, weights, the Stairmaster again and more aerobic classes. It was also during the period I went crazy on spandex. It was the 90’s and it was Florida. I had every bright color of spandex leggings, short shorts and thongs, the kind that go over leggings. All the girls wore them at the time.
I never noticed Kevin. Never even knew he existed. Not until a girl who I took classes with pointed him out.
“You know that cute guy who’s always on the Stairmaster that faces the window looking into the aerobic room?”
I thought about it.
“No,” I said.
“Kevin, he’s really handsome and he’s been asking me about you.”
This girl who pointed him out to me was married to a very rich older man. A news anchor who had two kids and a pet pig. She had been the nanny when he was married.
“He got me these boobs,” she said.
She was stick thin, no hips, very tan, bleached blonde hair and a face that looked older because of some work she had had done even though she was only twenty six. She drove a red convertible Porsche.
“You should get your man to buy you a pair too,” she had told me.
She assumed because I was also with an older man that he was rich like hers. But he wasn’t. He paid most of the bills, well, all of them except my phone bill and personal things I bought like aerobic clothes, but he wasn’t rich. I never talked to her about wanting an affair, maybe that too was something she just assumed. But in this case she was right.
A few days after she told me about Kevin I met him. I was on the leg machine, the one where you sit and open your legs against the weight. I was between sets when he walked up to me and introduced himself. He was wearing navy blue shorts and a Miami Heat tee shirt. I thought of the cheerleaders for the team kicking their tanned legs high on the field, blonde silky ponytails, nude nylons under orange short shorts, bare midriffs. Sometimes I’d see the girls from the team rehearse in the aerobic room. I always felt insecure around them. I wondered if Kevin had a crush on any of them. Had he even gone out with one? I was flattered to think he had been asking about me even though I had never taken notice of him before.
I don’t remember what we said to each other as I sat on that leg machine. I must have stood up at some point, I don’t imagine I finished my set spreading my legs open while we talked.
“I’ve seen you at Yogurt Delight down the street before,” he said. “Would you like to grab a yogurt this week?”
I thought about my boyfriend at home and pictured him rendezvousing with the imaginary lover I had created in my head.
Later that week I met Kevin at Yogurt Delight. The line was long as it always was. I stood there next to him with my new white running shoes, pink bobble socks, faded jean shorts and loose blouse. I had picked out a tight shirt to wear but ended up choosing the blouse because it was a ‘fat’ day. I felt uncomfortable standing there in line with him. Somehow getting yogurt together felt too intimate to me.
“Can I taste the mint guava chip?” he asked the young girl behind the counter.
A sample? I didn’t like him asking for one. I never liked it when guys wanted to taste the yogurt. Standing there swirling their tongue around the glop of yogurt in the miniature sample cups. Girls, that was okay. But not guys. I didn’t look when he tasted it.
“Would you like to taste a sample?” the girl asked me.
I always get a sample, sometimes two. I shook my head side to side. That day I hardly even tasted the yogurt and it seemed like a waste of calories to have eaten it with him since I hardly savored it. I didn’t even know this man and I was already nervous around him. And he wasn’t even my type. But attraction has no type.
“I should tell you,” I said. “I live with my boyfriend and I’m happy with him.”
“Well, I don’t have a girlfriend and I won’t ask why you’re sitting here with me if you’re happy with him.”
The next week we went on a picnic together and after, we went back to his place. He lived in a beige townhouse with his older brother, Keith who was also a stockbroker. Their rooms looked identical only one was facing east the other west. Matching night tables on either side of their beds, white mini blinds and TV’s set on top of big mahogany dressers.
As soon as he showed me his room he leaned me up against the wall and cupping his hand behind my neck brought his mouth to mine. I edged him towards the bed. He remained standing lifting his shirt above his head before reaching behind my back and unzipping my summer dress. I slipped out of it and pulled him in from the belt buckle as I got on my knees. My cheek pressing against his stomach I slid off his jeans and crawled up on the bed next to him. Grabbing me by the shoulders we began kissing. He ran his hands gently down my back. I closed my eyes as he explored my breasts with his mouth and traced the outline of my hips with his fingers. Breathing heavily he pulled me on top of him and reached over, opening the top drawer of the night table.
“Do you know,” he said under his breath as he rolled the rubber on. “How many times I’ve thought about you?”
I bit my lip as he slowly pulled me on top of him. I held my breath for a second and then it seemed we were kissing and breathing together.
“Here,” he said, getting up, “Towards the wall.”
Kevin firmly gripped my hips as I pressed my palms against the headboard. The strength of his hands felt as if he was never going to let go.
We saw each other a few times a week over the next few months. I started imagining being with him, really being with him. With his office job, thin leather belts, and Real Estate agent haircut. It wasn’t what I imagined for myself. Not coming from my Bohemian upbringing with a poet father, artist mother, living on Islands, meditation centers – I pictured Easter with Kevin and his family, eating ham, holiday Christmas trees perfectly decorated and holly wreaths on the front door. Was this what my life was going to be? Living with this man on a street with manicured lawns, two car garages and the paper delivered every morning at the same time, day after day?
Dirk started looking less attractive to me. His face looked more drawn, the skin on his butt not very youthful. The images that used to haunt me of him with other women, strippers grinding on his lap didn’t fill my head.
I think at some point he knew. One time when I had planned on meeting Kevin for an hour I told Dirk I was going to the gym.
“I’ll go with you,” he said.
He had never gone to my gym with me and he had already gone to his own gym that morning. I remember walking in with Dirk and seeing Kevin. He pretended he didn’t know me but I saw Dirk and Kevin look at each other and as we went to the weight area Dirk said, “Good looking guy.” He studied me as he said it and I tried not to show any emotion while my heart raced.
Kevin and I took a road trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida to my mom’s who was away that weekend. She knew about the affair and had told me before I ever met Kevin that I should take on a lover. She was not a conventional mom.
“Dirk just doesn’t have sex with me enough and he doesn’t last long,” I shared with her over the phone.
“You can’t get everything from one man,” she said. “What you need is a lover.”
I had told Dirk my mom was doing an art show in Ft. Lauderdale and would pick me up at the gym. I don’t know how he ever believed me and he probably didn’t. It made no sense why my mother would be picking me up at the gym instead of our house let alone ‘quickly passing through’.
I met Kevin at the gym and off we went for the five-hour drive through Alligator Alley. The same drive Dirk did every other weekend to see me when we first met and that we had since done countless times together. All 6”4 of him in his 2002 1970 BMW listening to Blind Willie Johnson, the lush green of the swamps, the rustic signs for ‘Fried Crawfish’ that appeared towards the end of Alligator Alley as we neared a town. During those early days I felt like the luckiest girl to be sitting next to Dirk. Staring at his Nordic profile, strong jaw, sharp nose and what I felt a magnetic power. A documentary filmmaker I had met at The French Film Festival.
And now here I was with Kevin the stockbroker with his office job sitting in his four door Camry listening to John Mellencamp.
A week after we returned Kevin stopped calling, wouldn’t return my messages and didn’t show up at the gym anymore. I thought maybe the trip to my mom’s was too much too soon or that Dirk got a hold of him and threatened him if he ever saw me again. I remember the day it really hit me that the affair was over. I was leaving the gym and instead of driving home, impulsively I went to Kevin’s. I kept telling myself to go, to turn around and leave, don’t knock, you know it’s over. I knocked, no answer. I rang the bell and as I did I saw a crack in the blinds out of the living room window. I knew it was him. The image of him standing there looking out at me, I felt humiliated. I turned around and drove away. I felt like I had in high school when my first boyfriend broke up with me. That pit in my stomach, choking of tears.
I left Kevin’s and stopped at Walgreen’s. I bought a box of Fig Newton’s and sat in my unairconditioned car, my skin all sweaty and sticky from the overheated vinyl seats. It was so humid that day. I sat there, crying, as I ate one Fig Newton after the other until they were all gone.
I went home that night and took comfort in Dirk’s arms. He massaged my feet while watching Benny Hill chase sexy girls in frilly lingerie. I sensed he knew it was over and later, when we went to bed as the tears rolled down my cheeks I curled up into the warmth of his bare back and breathed him in feeling somehow closer to him than I did before the affair.