You Wanted to Know (aka Happy Valentine’s Day)
He lit a cigarette and leaned back from the computer. He had been trying to write this for months, but could never seem to get it right. Now, he decided, he didn’t care if he got it just right — ha! I’ll show her. She always gave me shit about not wanting to commit anything to paper until it was perfect. Well, now he wasn’t really concerned about that. He needed to tell her. Maybe if he did she would finally leave him alone. Maybe. But he wasn’t holding his breath on that.
He leaned over the keyboard and began typing…
You want to know why I did it, right? Well, I’m going to tell you, and you aren’t going to like it, but, too bad.
I couldn’t put up with your pressure anymore. I loved you – I guess – and the life you offered me was tempting. Someone who worshipped the ground I walked on, who would do anything for me, to me or with me. What guy – especially a middle-aged one who had been married for twenty odd years – would not be tempted by that? Yes, it was tempting, but it was not worth destroying everything else in my life, no matter how great the sex was, no matter how much you loved me, no matter how much I thought I wanted you. You were like a dream to me. A fantasy. The proverbial “one who got away”. Then I saw you and I admit it, I got caught up in the moment, caught up in y0ur absolute love of me, your willingness to come here, to be my whore, to be whatever I wanted. For once in my life I felt powerful.
I should have ended it sooner, but…well, I’m a man, and I admit it, I was caught in my sexual obsession with you. Once you were gone for a while it wore off, though, and you wanted way more than I was willing to give you. You were like a fucking mistress in a tv movie or a trash romance. Gimme, gimme, gimme your time. I couldn’t do it anymore. So I ended it. I wrote it because at that time I was afraid that if I spoke to you, you would use your wicked, wily ways to suck me back in. That’s why I have avoided you totally. To save myself.
I couldn’t handle the guilt of using you combined with the guilt of what I was doing to my family. You know I am a coward, you’ve always known that — were maybe the only one who ever knew it. I couldn’t stand that either, by the way. I need to feel like I am strong. With you, that never happens. Something about you weakens me, can drive me to my knees. I am too untrusting and insecure to handle that very well. My life here, well, I’m the boss and that’s how I need it.
I asked you to let me go. But no, you kept writing to me. Others read your letters and now everyone knows how fucked up I am and what I did. I hate you for that. Actually, on some level, I think I have hated you since you came to our house in ’78. Why do you think I told you to marry Jeff? I wanted you to go away. You were a bitch then, and you’re a bitch now. You want it all your way and I quit playing your game. So now you cry, cry, cry. And you know, if you tried to kill yourself, that’s on you. I refuse to take responsibility for that or even acknowledge it in any direct way.
I am sorry you are unhappy, but that’s too bad. It’s your fault. You shouldn’t have come to see me, shouldn’t have pulled me back into a teenage romance that was over decades ago.
I like my life. Find a way to like yours.
Oh, and by the way, Happy Valentine’s Day.
He read over what he had written and nodded. He typed in her email address and hit “send”, then shut off the computer.
That should do it, he thought to himself, smiling. Then he went in his bedroom to give his wife her Valentine’s Day gift.