The Affair

I rediscovered this bit of verse today that I wrote back in 2016. It was inspired by a piece of fiction I had wrote that I really should dust off some time. . .

after I took a sledgehammer
to our relationship
only to be surprised
that dust
that rubble
was all that remained
I remembered a conversation
we once had upon learning
a friend had had an affair
I was telling you
how he sheepishly told me
it just happened
“bullshit!” you declared
shocking me not
with your Yankee frankness
which I had lived with
for some time
but by the vehemence
of your response
you were always
the empathetic one
keenly intuitive about others
willing to accept shades of gray

you were washing dishes
while I dried
I worried
you would scrub the pattern
right off the tea cup
“affairs don’t just happen” you said angrily
“that is a rationalization
we use to make ourselves
feel better
when we hurt someone we love
affairs happen because we make
a series of small choices
ignore the small warning bells
in our head.
we have another drink
return the phone call
answer the text
sit a little closer
than we know we should
even though
some part of our brain
knows we are making
a risky choice
a bad choice.
maybe we’re tired of being grown ups
maybe we get lazy
maybe we just don’t give a damn
in that moment
maybe we can’t
predict the consequences
maybe we just like the danger
but affairs don’t just happen
anyone who says that
is lying to you
or themselves
or both”

in the harsh morning light
when I finally was sober
I was surprised
how easily I could now see
the series of small choices
I had made the night before
to our unraveling
and thought that you
should feel free
to say “I told you so”
and then remembered
that you’re not like that
you told me once
there is no joy
in “I told you so”
there is no comfort in
“I told you so”
there is only sad acceptance
that being right
doesn’t fix
what is broken

© 2016 Revised © 2020 Christine Elizabeth Ray – All Rights Reserved

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