She had always loved to drive; as it liberated her from everything else she had been doing that day. When she drove back home from work, even with the traffic jams, she relaxed a lot and even stayed a bit in the car when arriving home just to think about one or two things. She also loved to be in bed with her husband and just share those priceless silences that people not really think about. Silence is beautiful when you feel you are complete with someone else and feel any sound would be just a disturbance, a nuisance. Emma and Greg had always had that kind of understanding and many people found it to be a bit disturbing but the truth was they didn’t really cared if other people approved or not of how they behave as a couple, they loved each other like mad.
However, Emma one day realized she had been looking another man at work, someone she didn’t really know that well. She detailed everything he didn’t and she liked him right away because he stood away as different to the rest. Most of her coworkers were noisy and very annoying, always talking and mumbling and just behaving like parrots. The man she had discovered, who probably worked in another floor, was very different and was visibly shy and kept to himself. She realized, after several minutes, that she had been seeing him making copies and looking for a stapler, even as she had very big stack of work to do. When she came back to her senses, she felt oddly embarrassed and just went back to work.
Emma had thought that behavior would only happen that one time but it didn’t. It started happening more and more, and not only with that man from work but also in the street, in stores and in the bus she took home when leaving the car there. She would just look at them carefully, appreciating everything they did, which was normally something really mundane and boring to everyone else but that seemed like magic to her. She didn’t really appreciated their bodies at all, she preferred to focus on their behavior and on whatever they were doing in the moment, no matter if it was listening to music, reading, jogging, talking on the phone or just standing there, close to her.
If she was honest to herself, all of this made her feel very strange. She loved her husband but she just loved to look at this men just being there. She thought that maybe it was because she had been married so young and now she was getting interested in others but it was very particular that she didn’t even bothered to look at their faces sometimes and, if she did, she would discover that they didn’t looked at all like the men she supposedly found attractive. This went on for several months and for Emma it was something hard to process, because she had been living fifteen years of a very happy marriage and felt awful about what she was doing, as if she was cheating on her husband.
One night, she decided to break their ceremonial silence and just tell Greg about what was happening to her. She hated the people that beat around the bush for hours without never ever getting to the point, so she went straight for it. It may have been a little harsh but Greg knew that was a trace of Emma’s personality that was just essential to her and he embraced that attribute with open arms. He just heard what she had to say and, after a detailed explanation of what was going on, he asked her if something else had happened. Obviously, he was worried she had cheated on him with one of these men. But she hadn’t done that so he just hugged her and told her there was nothing wring about what she did and even if something more happened, she could talk to him.
The conversation was very positive for Emma, who had always known Greg would respond well to any issues that would be presented to him. So she kept on with her life, still looking at strangers and just that. Then, one day, one of these men looked back at her and just smiled. This tore apart everything she had thought about this strange process before and started to wonder if what she was looking for was some sort of action in her life. Of course, she didn’t like those disgusting men who looked like a cartoon character but she was still human and discovered she loved someone that looked much more deep and interesting that all the other men.
With the man of the smile, she never had anything but she could’ve. The next man that smiled at her was lucky enough to receive a smile back and now her sessions looking at men involved much more interaction, often just smiling or staring mutually at each other. Most people would find that disturbing but to Emma it was all very alluring and it started to become almost sensual. She realized, although this was no real surprise, that she craved a real intimate life with a man. Her husband was kind and good and loyal but he wasn’t adventurous, he wasn’t passionate and that made her terribly sad. It had always been like that but now, feeling more liberated, she had finally decided to accept it.
One afternoon at work, when she stayed a bit more to finish up work, she found the first man she had been looking at in the elevator. She couldn’t resist looking and he responded by staring, never smiling. Then, without a word, he pressed the button of the next floor, stepped out there and looked back. Emma didn’t even doubt it and she followed him to a janitor’s closet where they had sex. As she expected, the sex was passionate but it was not vulgar. The sex was fulfilling but never disgusting or plain. When she came back home, however, she knew she had to tell her husband so she did. She told him everything and then just waited for his answer. There was a long silence.
Finally, he stated that he understood her and that he had felt like that too, some months ago. Of course, she instantly thought about asking if he had met someone too, but thought it was better not to push any subjects to the floor. Greg held Emma’s hand and asked her what she felt for him. Emma told him she loved him and she had never doubted it. But she also knew she was curious about the world and she wanted more from it now, more than he might be able to give to her. It hurt her a bit that a single tear slid down his face as he smiled and said that it was all fine, that he understood and that he just wanted to know if any feelings changed or if she started to change her mind about other things.
She never had sex again with the man from her office but they did see each other often. It was incredible to realize that they had been feeling the same or at least seemed to agree on whatever it was they were looking for in other people. It wouldn’t be another couple of months until Emma had sex with another stranger, a man who was a bit more interesting that the man from the office simply because he really never spoke to her and didn’t even smiled or anything of the sort. It was very strange and even frightening but it made it him so interesting and attractive to her. She also told her husband about this man and he was also fine with it. She couldn’t deny it felt strange, but she knew she had become, a long time ago, into a real free woman.
Time passed and her interest in men started to decline. She wasn’t just interested anymore and just wanted to dedicate the following years of her life to herself and her husband. She proposed for them to go away on a holiday, to some beautiful place far away, in order to just be with one another, in another background and see what they really felt for each other. The first time they had sex during that trip, neither of them could believe the change that had occurred in the last few years. It was obvious that something had changed and it apparently had changed for the better, as the two of them ended up being extremely happy with everything that happened. They did not discuss the reasons and it really wasn’t necessary as long as they were happy.
And they were, for many years, until he died from a stroke. She cried all day long that day and when she finally stopped, she felt part of her soul die with him. She realized that she had loved him more than she could ever understand and that everything that had happened between them was just about learning and talking things, in their own way. She did discover he had been with someone else too, before she had her “season” but she never managed to discover who it was. Somehow she needed to know, to thank whomever it was. But that thought vanished in time and eventually she joined her husband, adoring him always.