I just couldn’t confront what I had done. The morning I woke up there, I felt wrong, guilty and even filthy. I wanted to leave that place so fast and never return again. How should I have know that only days later I would have to go back there, practically against my will.
There was no need to say “goodbye” to him. After all, we didn’t really know each other that well or, at least, that’s what I prefer to think. I never let anyone too close and I have my reasons for that. No, I have no idea who he really is and I’m not interested in finding out more than I already know, more than I have too.
You see, we were celebrating our promotions with other people of the office. We went to his place because it seemed cheaper to buy some bottles from the store and go there and have a great time. And we did. I hadn’t been that happy for a long time and I fucking deserved that promotion. I had worked hard and so had he and Laura, my best friend there. The three of us had been in charge of a certain project and we had done so great that our boss decided to grant us a very well deserved promotion. We would make more money and we would have nice new offices.
Almost everyone was happy for us because they knew how hard it had been for us to have the job and then to be good and make such a project a big reality. We were admired and that’s why many people came to Joe’s place. Of course, it was free booze and we ordered some pizzas and I even made some cookies, already a bit tipsy. Lots of cinnamon in them... We had a blast but something that I hadn’t realized happened in a second, in blinking of an eye.
I had gone to clean my hands after spilling some vodka on the floor and cleaning it. I had been looking at the mirror, any trace of alcohol apparently retreating, when I realized the door was half open and there he was. Joe I mean. He asked me if I was ok and I nodded and told him I was having a great time and that I felt sorry for spilling vodka. He seemed shy or distant, jus strange because he had never really been shy during our work together. And we had stayed up late in the office. He even took me home sometimes.
But then, in that bathroom, there was a tension only broken by a girl who entered in haste and decided to vomit too close to my shoes. I jumped back just in time to retire from the “splash zone” and decided to rejoin the party, forgetting about my encounter with Joe. Well, until the party ended that is. Laura, her boyfriend and I stayed behind to help Joe clean up the place. When there were only glasses to throw and small things to put in place, Laura and her boyfriend left.
As I cleaned up with Joe, there was this awful silence. It was even more ominous because there was no sound from the street, being three o’clock of the morning. Not a single soul walked the street below and I started talking to him about that, how empty and lonely the city looked when you stayed up until late. He agreed, saying it was worse in the suburbs, whereas in downtown or other commercial areas people were still roaming around. We talked about different things and decided to have one last drink. We both consumed it fast and, as I recuperated from the strength of the beverage, I realized he had his hands on my waist.
Needless to say that we kissed and I didn’t resist. I hadn’t had any physical contact of that kind with anyone for years and I wasn’t going to refuse any act of kindness towards my body. Some minutes later we were in his room and we had sex. I was about to say we made love but that’s impossible, because I wasn’t in love with him. As I said before, I barely knew him. What I can say is I had a great time with him in that room because, never mind the alcohol, I can still remember every thing that happened.
I felt guilty the following morning, very early, because I realized something I had forgotten the night before: Joe was engaged. She worked in the company but in another department. I had seen her a couple of times: stunning body, nice face, very kind and joyful. Joyful is not my kind of thing but it looked good on her. She was a knockout and I had heard many guys in the office had tried to date her prior to Joe but that was long before I had begun my work there.
My pants were on the floor, my underwear on a chair, my socks in my shoes… Once I had everything on and my cellphone and backpack, I just left trying to be as silent as a mouse. I couldn’t look, for some reason, to the doorman to the face. He greeted me but I felt he knew, somehow. I felt the same thing all the way home, on the bus and on the sidewalk, just walking before finally entering my place, where my cat awaited me because he was very hungry.
I fed him and decided to sleep properly after that. Sleep came fast and so did dreams in which I met Joe again and kissed him passionately in front of his girlfriend. In the dream, she just accepted it and left without saying a word. I woke up even more tired that I had been at arrival. Thank God it’s Saturday, I thought. I decided to stay in my home and just eat and watch TV. No one interrupted me, except Laura that called me to know if I had gotten home all right. Laura had been my friend of many years and the one that got me the job. I owe honesty to her.
She was surprised at me but even more surprised at Joe. Everyone knew the news that he was going to marry the gorgeous girl of the office and the fact that Laura reminded me of that was awful. She then questioned Joe harshly, stating that if he was sleeping with others, it surely meant he had done it before with other girlfriends and that he was not “husband” material, despite what everyone thought.
I let her speak. She didn’t stop for a long time and I didn’t say a word. She’s right about it all. But then I recall the way he touched and kissed me. I have had one-night stands before and I know how they go down. People are just sexual in those moments, like animals. But Joe had not been like that with me. Or so I felt… Maybe I was just trying to think about it in a good light instead of really remembering it for what it was. Maybe I’m just too eager to be the one they stay with instead being the one they sleep with.
After hanging up with Laura, I recalled my history of casual sex and concluded that, without a doubt, there was something unique about this time. I had never stayed behind to sleep, which had been a first. Although the alcohol might have knocked me out before I could even think about leaving. But that wasn’t a fair statement because almost every time I had had casual sex, I had done it with alcohol involved. It was making me crazy, for sure. Thinking about him and about his perfect girlfriend. I decided, for the sake of my mind, to stop thinking about it. Or at least, I tried.
The next Monday was a nightmare. I felt all eyes on me, even when people were just coming to me to congratulate me about the new job. Even my boss thought I hadn’t liked the new office, my face all sad and dreary. I really tried to fake happiness a bit during lunch but that was a tremendous failure and even Laura was looking at me every time, like checking if I was going to screw up.
The hardest part was meeting Joe in a conference room and talking to him for an hour about our next project. If he had any worries, he was very good at faking them because he looked very relaxed all the time, even laughing, telling some jokes and looking at me directly into my eyes, which felt awful. It was the guilt, for sure, that grew even larger when his girlfriend opened the door at the end of the meeting and kissed him on the lips.
Suddenly I felt so jealous of her. I hated her right there. I could have put my hand around her neck and choke her or at least grab that beautiful glossy hair and pull it hard all around the room. But all that only happened in my head. I left with Laura and she grabbed my hand. Visibly, she knew that he hadn’t gotten to me. Or maybe it wasn’t him as such but the fact that someone had being so nice to me, even if it had been only sexually, and know that possibility vanished.
I decided not to let that get the best of me. The next day I decided to focus on my career and in honoring my new post in the office. From day one, I was on top of everything and people noticed it and suddenly I stopped thinking about Joe. I even dated a couple of guys after that, none successful relationships but nice people so I didn’t care. It was a surprise however when, the day Joe and the girl were suppose to get married, he called me and acknowledged all that had happened that night. And then he said the most hurtful word I’ve ever heard.
- I still think about you.