While Ethan is gone to work, I stay in and go through the five stages of grief. I don’t know how to process the fact that all of the state knows that I have been frequenting a sex club. I know that they may not know me, but the point is, they know a woman with my name is caught up in this scandal. It’s even more upsetting that Ethan’s name wasn’t in there. He’s been going to the club for years and his name just magically didn’t make the list.
I’ve also been ignoring all of my mother’s calls and texts. When I wouldn’t answer, she even came knocking on my door, begging me to open it. Just so she didn’t think I’d died in the apartment, I made sure she heard me sniff ready hard through the door. I was crying so it’s not like I had to try hard. I don’t know how to explain this to her. I don’t want to see how she looks at me differently when she finds out the things I’ve done.
The news has been talking none stop about the scandal causing religious groups to come out of the bushes to condemn all of us to hell for our sins. Politicians have angrily promised to crack down on how this could be going on for so long when in all actuality, most politicians are the biggest supporters of the club because when their wives won’t engage in their wicked ways, they know someone else will.
Society likes to make it seem like people don’t have fantasies and fetishes. Everyone has something that gets them off that another person would consider weird or even gross. Sex is not just cookie-cutter missionary with doves flying from under the bed when the couple climaxes at the same time. No, sex is whatever two people like to do. It’s sweat and moans. It could be strawberries or a bottle of baby oil. Handcuffs for a riding crop. Those of the things the club provided for those looking to find a safe place for their deepest desires and now it’s being tarnished as if it’s some brothel. And I’m being depicted as some whore.
I spend most of the day sulking around with a bottle of wine, obsessing over every article about the club. Each new source uses the words, disgusting, morally grotesque, and sinful in it’s heading. I read every single one of them.
I’m so engrossed with the media that I don’t realize the time until Ethan comes home and I’m still in pajamas with an empty bottle of wine. I’ve only eaten cheese and crackers so I’m starving and buzzed. When he walks through the door, he just stops and looks at me like I’m not his fiancé.
“You’ve been there all day?”
“For the most part. How was work? Did they talk? How was Anna? How was my mother?”
“Which questions am I supposed to answer first?”
I roll my eyes and he sighs.
“Work was fine. Yes, there was some talk, but nothing much around me. Anna was distant and seemed sad. Your mother had a few words with some girls, so I gave her the rest of the day off to sort herself out. I assume she’s been by here. She texted to tell me that you aren’t answering her. She just wants to know how you’re doing so you should probably talk to her at some point.”
“I don’t know what to say Ethan. This whole situation is bugging me. How did my name end up on that list and not yours?”
“I don’t know, babe. I just don’t know. There were a lot of names missing from that list. I don’t know how yours was thrown into it.”
I lie back on the sofa and just sigh. Ethan comes over and kneels over me, running his fingers through my hair. It instantly comforts me and, in the moment, I don’t give a damn about the articles. I wish I could feel this way the other minutes of the day.
“I just feel like everyone is going to see me and know who I am. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s how I feel. This whole thing has taken my rights away. It’s like they took my identity and shaped it into this horrible thing. People at work are going to think I’m this ex crazed woman.”
“I know. I know, but in my opinion, this is a chance for you to own it. Don’t deny your sexuality. Don’t defend it. Just be it. Own it. Take back your identity.”
He leans over and kisses me, making me feel like the weight of the world is no longer on my shoulders. It also motivates me to shower and put on decent clothes. I need to talk to my mother. I need for her to know the truth about everything and not what she’s been reading or hearing.
While Ethan goes over some contracts, I get clean and head to her place with a bottle of wine. I feel as though I’ve been needing a lot of wine lately.
At her apartment, the door is unlocked so I go on in. This time I decide to announce myself before making assumptions like the last time. However, before I can say anything, I hear someone talking in the back. I assume it’s Drew so I walk back to let him know I’m here.
As I’m coming down the hall, his voice gets louder.
“No, Ethan doesn’t know yet and I can’t tell him….yes, I am aware that he deserves to know….things like this take time….I know…Yes! Yes, I know!”
I know I shouldn’t listen to watch he’s saying, but I continue standing there. If it’s about Ethan then I deserve to know. He doesn’t say anything else again for a while and I think the conversation is over, but he begins talking again.
“Look, I will let Ethan know in time. I don’t want him to be angry at me for hiding the truth all his life. He deserves to know me as his father, not his uncle.”
My hand flies mover my mouth as I clutch the wine to my chest. My heart pounds with the fact the I just heard the Drew say that he’s Ethan's father. His father! Holy crap! I try to piece in the rest the best I can, but I can’t. I don’t know enough facts. Did Ethan’s mother cheat? Did Ethan’s dad know?
I knew that Drew and Ethan looked alike, but I would have never thought that this was the reason.
Before Drew gets off the phone, I hurry back to the kitchen and put the wine in the fridge with a note for my mom to let her know that I stopped by. I can’t be here right now. I don’t know how I can talk about anything with my mom is Drew is looming around now that I know the truth. I’d give myself away in a heartbeat.
When I get back to the apartment, Ethan looks up.
“That was quick. Did you talk to your mom?”
“Uh, no she wasn’t there.” I mumble wondering if I should tell him what I heard or not. I quickly decide that I’m not. It’s not my place to share such a secret.
I do know that when the truth does come out, it’s going to break Ethan’s heart.