How to Thaw Your Unborn Children, Part 8A

VolcanoWhen I left my husband, it was because I had an affair with a woman. I loved my husband a lot, and we had a great time in the bedroom, too, but I’m of the opinion that you can pretty much teach a monkey to do the stuff you need for your body to ride the carousel, and at the end of the day it’s really about who you want to hang around with in your living room. I couldn’t figure out why there was never any psychic draw with my ex-husband, why I was never dying to be with him at the end of the day like other wives were dying to be with their husbands, or why I always felt so restless whenever we were together. We got married because I believed he was a deeply good man, because in fact I did love him, and because I figured many women were annoyed by their husbands’ existence generally. If all was fine in the sack, then romance was just fairy dust anyway.

But when I had the affair with Mary (let’s call her…Mary) I realized immediately that I was in a whole heap of trouble. Suddenly all the love songs on the radio made sense. Since Mary was *married (to a woman), I experienced real heartbreak for the first time and finally understood what unrequited love was all about.

Ever heard that song by Joan Armatrading, “The Weakness in Me”?  If you’ve ever been in the thick of a love triangle, this one about sums it all up.

Make me lie
When I don’t want to
And make someone else
Some kind of an unknowing fool
You make me stay
When I should not
Are you so strong
Or is all the weakness in me?

Mary and I had been friends for a year or so before we decided to take a road trip across the U.S. of A.  A friend had moved to the midwest from California but left her car behind. Mary was planning on visiting her family in Pennsylvania that summer. She’d been wanting to drive across the country again, and delivering a car seemed the perfect excuse. I have never know anyone in a more relentless pursuit of a good time than Mary.  Goodtimes Goodtimes, she always says, even when things are going poorly. It’s a manifesto, a creed.

She asked me to go with her. Goodtimes, she said.

“But Zemser,” she added.  “You’d better keep your damn paws off me. I love you and you are hilarious, but I’m married.”

We laughed, but I didn’t think it was anything serious. Our whole relationship was a flirtation. I’ve never been a fan of healthy boundaries. We always cracked up and had fun; even now, Lynn can’t stand it when Mary comes to visit. She says we act like juvenile morons. Our usual response to this bitterness is to act out the disclosure scene from Tootsie:

For I am not Emily Kimberly, the daughter of Dwayne and Alma Kimberly. No, I’m not. I’m Edward Kimberly, the recluse brother of my sister Anthea. Edward Kimberly, who has finally vindicated his sister’s good name. I am Edward Kimberly. Edward Kimberly. And I’m not mentally ill, but proud, and lucky, and strong enough to be the woman that was the best part of my manhood. The best part of myself.

I still laugh when I read that quote. If you aren’t laughing then you need to watch the movie again.

Mary and I kissed our respective partners farewell, packed the car, and drove off. There it was. A road trip across America. A perfect set-up for an illicit rendezvous.

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