Copyright ©  [Michael Harper]
All rights reserved. No portion of this book, story, or concept may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions, contact the author directly.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, business, events and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
I am in love with my wife. In my eyes, she’s nitroglycerin inside a woman’s body. She’s born and raised on a tiny island close to the Mariana Trench into a Catholic conservative family. As the youngest child, she was protected and sheltered from most vices of the world. Her older two sisters and two brothers go into all types of... life events. Most of the time, my queen would shake her head in disbelief that they’d do the things they did. That is until her first boyfriend - the bad boy in school - took her virginity and preyed, err, I mean went into a relationship with her. Oh how this broke her family’s heart. In the beginning, he was good to her. He respected her family. He didn’t graduate high school, but he did get a job. Things didn’t spiral into years-long pain and heartache until she got pregnant the first time.
When her eldest son came into the world, she prayed that bearing a son for him would bring them closer together. Unfortunately, the opposite occurred.
Drugs, abuse, manipulation, chronic infidelity, jealousy, possessiveness, and even financial ruin didn’t stop her from doing everything in her might to make their relationship work. She enlisted her family to help with the big wedding. She found herself with all the tires removed from their only car, or witnessed it being repossessed. Oh, how her heart tried. She forgave and forgave. Even the time he had been gone for days, he came back and demanded she give him oral sex, and she inhaled the foul rank smell of another woman’s secretions on him.
Years went by. Five sons came forth from her womb.
Her bruises began to sink into her soul. She never knew that saying no to his demands would empower her. He tore at her confidence, abused her trust, manipulated her mind, and spousally raped her on multiple occasions. The worst was when she was sick in the hospital from tuberculosis, and he waited until the nurses left them alone in the room. He penetrated her on the bed until he was sated.
When I entered her life, and unpeeled the layers of her history and life, my heart as a man became so conflicted.
She had found the inner strength one day after he started beating on the kids to divorce and request court-ordered restraint from him. The boy that once took her heart and her body had disappeared into the male veneer that hated her because of what he himself held within.
I was drawn to the pre-social media online after I formally separated from my own spouse for over a decade. My own situation crumbled no matter what I tried. Retreats. Christian churches. Mutual friends. My family HATED her. That made it difficult, but her family was against me because I was not wealthy, was not Anglo-Saxon, and refused to entertain them just because I married the lady who befriended me in junior college. Here I thought it was normal to have marital sex once a month when and only when she was in the mood.
Oh, how I missed my wild days. I will have to share that story another time.
I had gut instincts that told me that our marriage was not... normal. Over years of this, she had found her outlet and tried to hide it from me. Talking about not communicating. She never thought having sex with other women was cheating. I’d enter the bedroom when I arrived home early from work, and the scent in the air was undeniable. I know I was at work all day. All the while, she was doing the bedroom tangle the whole time.
With broken trust in my heart, the yearning for my own true self to be loved and desired, I stood before a court and requested the dissolution of our marriage contract. Thank the universe she had been taking birth control pills (without my knowing) all those years to not have kids spawned by me.
Then I dipped my toe back into the dating pool. Oh. My. God. I thought the male of our species can be funked up. Ladies. Jesus Holy Christ. Ladies. What the fuck happened to you girls? Who asks to meet at McDonald’s, only to sit in the car and ask to see the size of my penis when we only met yesterday? Who goes to a man’s place and demands raw dog sex without giving me a true name, or gets pissed when I demand a condom? Who has their BOYFRIEND drive them to my spot, have them wait in the CAR to want to give me a blowjob when I didn’t even know you had a boyfriend until he was banging on my door!
My faith in the delicate half of our species vanished faster than a toddler when asked what’s in their mouth.
But the universe or God Almighty wrote my queen’s name on the sandy beach for this city boy to travel the world in perilous conditions to seek her out.
One night I sat in my home office. Alone. Depressed. No music. Mo television. Not even a candle was lit. The glow of the computer monitor illuminated just enough to keep the shadows from overwhelming the room.
Clicks of the mouse and the clacking of the keyboard echoed even to the hallway. How pathetic was I?
The smartphone had not yet been invented. The internet was still young. Streaming services from cable nor global radio stations had come into the world.
For me, I was on a dark quest. Find a friend.
Behold, I landed on a networking website pre-Facebook. My world was going to change.
I scrolled through half a dozen pictures of pen pals and women around the globe. Then hers appeared. Less than 10 miles away. I stopped scrolling. At first, I didn’t even read her biography. I peered into her picture.
Those brown hazel eyes drew me into her secret world. Those luscious curls cascading her shoulders made my finger yearn to intertwine and dance with every strand. What stood out to me the most was that sadness in her eyes hidden beneath a forced smile.
I looked. I scanned like a CIA analyst. I dove into the Mariana Trench, that was her soul captured in a picture. My hand traced her image on the screen. I could have sworn I had the urge to wipe away tears from her cheeks.
Then I moved the mouse to the send message. I typed, and then I heard my whole existence echo the sound my mouse did.
It went click.