I sat with a tall glass of cold draft beer at the bar in the
hotel restaurant, watching the beautiful, tanned women approach
the bar in their two-pieces, order a drink with their bright
smiles, and then return to their tables where men inevitably sat
waiting. A football game was on the television behind the bar;
the volume was set on the lowest level. The last bit of sunlight
was fading in the western sky and the sight was perfect,
completely unblemished by the day's earlier clouds.
I sat there for a good hour with very little on my mind. I
made attempts to start conversation with a few of the women while
they awaited the drink orders, but not one of them said anymore
than "hello" before turning their attention to another direction.
Each time I took the hint and went back to my drink. I took a
look at my watch. It was getting late, but not quite late enough.
I knew if I went back to my room too early, there was a good
chance Kim would still be awake. I could feel the impression of
my wedding ring burning a hole in my thigh. The fourth quarter of
the football game was down to the last few minutes before I
decided to call it a night. I stood up from the bar and threw a
few bucks down for a tip. When I turned around, I ran into a
woman. At first glance I noticed her eyes: a beautiful deep
"Pardon me," I quickly spit out with a shaky smile. My eyes
scanned down her tight, slender body until they reached her
"Oh no… That's quite alright," she said. She must have been a part of the honeymooning crowd. She was very young and she seemed to be shaking, as if she had just robbed a bank. "I was actually hoping to talk to you," she added.
"Really," I said coolly.
She kept her head down, directing large portions of what she was saying to the floor. "I was wondering if you'd like to have a drink with me in my room?" She looked up at me. Our eyes met briefly before she pulled away. She stood there looking at my forehead.
I stood there puzzled which I played-up for charm. "Wow," I
said. "Uh… Sure. I'd love to."
As I followed her to the elevator, I convinced myself she was
either a widow who sometimes forgets the ring is still on her
finger, or she likes to take these risks. I though maybe she was
the type that gets-off on that sort of thing. I thought nothing
of her avoidance of eye contact and her shyness. I only found it
cute and endearing.
Her suite was on the top floor. "Come in," she told me.
Immediately inside there was a couch where a man was sitting
relaxed, but obviously suppressing giddiness. I stepped through
the door ahead of her and heard the door close from behind.
"Okay," she said from behind me.
Charles and I sat at the bar. The clock on the wall behind the
bar read seventeen minutes after three a.m. My glass of beer sat
sweating in front of me. I couldn't bring myself to drink a
"I love that woman, you know," Charles said to me. "She's so good to me."
I stared at my beer.
Charles said, "Come on, bud. You haven't even touched your
beer." His fake cheer trailed a bit at the end.
He started again. "I just enjoy exploration. I don't have to
explain myself to you of all people. You went along." He took a
sip of his drink. "She asked me what I wanted for my
The tiny beads of condensation met one another on the glass
and I noticed when two would come together, they as one would
slide down the surface of the glass, gathering speed with every
bead they met along the way down until they finally slammed into
the coaster below.
"She is an understanding woman…"
More and more beads joining and falling.
"You shouldn't take it so rough, old boy. She enjoyed it. I
enjoyed it. I know you sure as hell did, how could you
I mumbled something. Words at that moment couldn't save
"Don't worry about it," he said. "She's gorgeous. One of the
reasons I married her."
I pulled my gaze away from the glass and turned my shameful
glare out to the dark ocean beyond the bar windows. Chuck's hand
firmly slapped my back as he stood up and drained the last few
drops of his drink.
"Here, bud. Stand up for me," he ordered.
I stood up and slowly brought my eyes to his. He raised his hand for a shake.
"Why," I asked.
"She's a good woman, a good wife," he answered. "I know she'd
never cheat on me of her own volition. On her own, that is. It
just turns me on to see her do it in person."
My response was so shaky it makes me sick to think about now.
"To see her forced into doing something for the sake of
"Oh Jesus," he barked, "None of that. Come on, shake my hand
and we can go our own ways."
I shook his hand but my eyes had taken refuge in our
surroundings. My hand pulled back five one-hundred dollar bills.
He winked at me then walked away.
I started upstairs once Charles was out of my sight. On my way up I pulled my wedding band out of my pocket and slipped it back onto my ring finger. I crawled into bed with Kim and wrapped my arms around her slender waist. She sighed softly. I fell asleep holding her warm body as close to mine as I could.