The affairs began within a week of each other this summer. After twenty-some years of marriage, my husband and I were surprised to find ourselves ensnared by others—he with his wrong-side-of-the-tracks trollop, me with my beautiful Mexican lover.
I could not help falling in love with Tulio. His eyes, my God, wonderful espresso eyes that gazed, no, bored, into mine with such romance, such intensity, such devotion. He had it all—a personality that drew women wherever he went, and yet an ability, when we were alone, to make me feel as if I were the only one. I knew I wasn’t, that he belonged to someone else, but I didn’t care. Our time together was ecstatic. Caresses, kisses, nuzzling . . . his mouth on the buttons of my blouse, first pulling playfully, then urgently. Once, his tongue darted into my ear and . . . electrifying.
My husband’s lover was different. Oh yes, she was beautiful. She possessed a taut, lithe young body, and she poured her attention on him like molasses on a buckwheat pancake. Yet, she was common. I knew her type and it was legion—gorgeous young, ordinary old. She’d call, bitchy and demanding, and he’d jump. He thought her demands were “cute.” He showered her with gifts, while I looked on, jealous, but mired in my own guilt. My husband wasn’t Elowen’s only love either, but, like me, he knew and didn’t care. He reveled in the attention, worshipped her youth.
We knew about one another’s infidelity, and we flaunted our summer loves.
One afternoon my husband caught me and Tulio nuzzling on the bed. I looked up and smirked, as if to say, “He’s so much nicer than you, you cannot imagine.”
“He’s cute,” said my spouse, “but not what I’d call a real dog. A chihuahua . . . good grief.”
“Only three-quarters. Don’t forget the miniature pincher.” I planted a kiss on Tulio’s tiny head and he turned his melty eyes toward me. “Mmmm, puppies are a girl’s best friend. Your feline, on the other hand, she’s a mutt.”
“Elowen? Aww, she’s a sweetie.” At the sound of his voice, slinky grey tiger Elowen leapt upon the bed and brushed up against my husband, gently scent-marking him with her velvet cheek.
Tart, I thought.
Our two daughters came into the bedroom, catching us in the act. “Hey,” said ten-year-old Lily, “why don’t you get your own pets if you like ours so much?”
“Here, kitty, kitty,” her thirteen-year-old sister Zora beckoned.
Elowen ignored her owner; she had spotted Tulio. She raced to him. Delighted to see his playmate, Tulio bolted from my arms, tail wild with excitement. The two began their routine, one we’d seen dozens of times already. They began to roll and tumble. They took turns pinning one another down, biting with gentle vigor. Two four-month-olds, more interested in one another than any of us.
As we watched them absorbed in their play fight, I thought about the one that my husband and I had indulged in this summer. Our little mock rivalry had been fun, serving to awaken the youngsters still very much alive in both of us.
There’s nothing quite like middle-aged puppy love.