First, Happy 420 Day for those who partakes! Cheech and Chong’s “Up In Smoke” popped into my head for a moment.
Next, I was thinking/remembering a guy everyone called Denver – and why they did was something I didn’t know since I did know he was born in the same state and city I was born in and had never been to Colorado. I saw him walking up the street and looking aimless and not paying attention as he bumped into a couple of people and as if he hadn’t seen them.
To me, he looked like someone had stolen his lunch money after his dog died. I have an eye on him as he approached where I was sitting on my steps and mostly because I’ve seen people approaching the corner, where there’s a traffic light, and just keep walking and getting hit. He got to where I was sitting and I kinda waved at him and I guess it got his attention because he kinda waved, was going past me but then stopped and came back to me.
“What’s up?” I asked him – and now I could see that he’d been crying.
“Man, shit is all fucked up,” he said.
“Sorry to hear that,” I said. I wasn’t going to ask him what was “all fucked up.”
He stood there for a moment and like he was thinking; he lit a cigarette, took a long drag, and finally said, “Lemme ask you something, bro.”
“Go ahead,” I said.
He took another drag off his smoke, cleared his throat and asked, “Man, what would you do if you found out that your woman has been sleeping with other women?”
My first thought was, “Uh-oh…” and for a couple of reasons. One was that I knew his woman and that she was, indeed, sleeping with women and the other was that I knew that she was because she had slept with my [then] wife a few times and the last time was just a couple of days ago; I very much remembered seeing her coming from upstairs with a sheepish grin on her face as I was coming inside. For me – for us – it was no big deal given that we were open.
All of this had flashed through my mind in the space of a second or two and I even had time to think about how I was going to answer him… because he was waiting for one. My choices were to “lie” and say that I’d raise all kinds of hell or to tell the truth, which was it wouldn’t bother me. The “answer clock” in my head is running and I knew I had to say something one way or the other. I made my decision.
“I’d want to know why but I wouldn’t be all that upset about it,” I said.
He blinked. Kinda shook his head like he hadn’t heard me right. He frowned and took another puff. I’m thinking that he wasn’t “happy” with my answer and give me one of those “I ain’t got time for you” waves and keep on walking but that’s not what he did. He actually gave me a look that asked if he could sit with me and I just nodded. He sighed one of the biggest and heaviest sighs I’ve ever heard someone do before saying, “I came home an hour ago and I could hear that she was in bed with somebody. Man, I was ready to kill a motherfucker, you know?”
“I creep up the steps and the door is wide open; I peek around the corner and, damn, I almost shit my pants to find her in a 69 with another babe!” he said. “I started to break that shit up and throw both of those bitches out on the street… but I just left because I ain’t trying to catch a charge, ya know?”
I nodded. He lit another cigarette and that gave me time to think that it’s one thing to suspect that your lady likes pussy and seriously something else to catch her in the act and like he apparently had.
“I don’t know what to do,” he said. “What would you have done?”
Yeah… I knew he was going to ask me that. I shrugged and said, “Um, I would have seen what was going on and I would have left without saying anything… but I wouldn’t have been mad about it.”
“Why the fuck not?” he asked, looking at me like I’d lost my mind.
“Because I know my lady likes pussy,” I said and shrugging like it was no biggie… because it wasn’t.
“Shit! You ever catch her?” he asked.
“No, but, yeah, I know about it,” I said. I was praying that he wouldn’t ask me if I knew if my wife had slept with his wife but quickly decided that if he did, I was going to lie like a rug. I didn’t feel good about that but it was either that or having to listen to him going off on me and my wife and, shit, I hope he doesn’t ask.
“You a better man than me,” he said and with a small laugh. “I should go home and kick her ass for cheating on me but, shit, she didn’t do it with a dude.”
I nodded my understanding of this. I knew that a lot of guys and gals felt that if they were “doing some freaky shit like that,” it wasn’t really cheating. I almost laughed aloud about that one because I knew it was still cheating but, yeah, I understood why so many said it wasn’t – but they’d still be pissed off about it anyway.
“I should be all she needs,” he grumbled, flicking his butt into the street.
“Obviously not,” I said. If looks could kill, he “killed” me like three or four times after what I said sunk into his brain.
“What the fuck, man? Why would you say some shit like that?” he blurted out and, for a moment, I thought he was going to take a swing at me.
“Just stating a fact, Den,” I said. “The mistake we make is assuming that our man or women will only need us and nothing more than that… until we find out otherwise. I didn’t say that to be busting on you or anything like that but, yeah, if your wife is getting some pussy on the side, I’d say that it is obvious that you’re not all she needs.”
“But she cheated on me!” he said.
“I understand that but, um, lemme ask you something. If she had come to you and told you about this, would you have allowed her to do what she had to do about it?” I asked.
“Hell no!” he said.
“Well, um, that’s probably why she never said anything about it you,” I said. “So, um, whatcha thinking about doing?”
“I dunno. I should divorce her ass,” he said – then he turned his head to look at me so fast that I heard his neck crack. “But that’s not what you did, did you, when your wife told you about this shit.”
“Nope. You probably won’t understand this but I had to decide which thing was better: Knowing what she was doing and who she was doing it… or not knowing and thinking that everything is A-OK. I thought about divorcing her but… I love her; I didn’t see the sense in throwing away everything we’ve built together just because she needed something that I couldn’t give her.”
“Damn…,” he said. “You definitely a better man that I am!”
“I don’t know about that but what I do know is that she’s happier,” I said. “You know, happy wife, happy life?”
“And?” he asked.
“And what?” I asked.
“What do you get out of it?” he asked.
“I get to get all the pussy I want and can get,” I said with a laugh. “No such thing as a free lunch and if it’s good for the gander, it’s good for the goose.”
“Damn…” he said. “You for real?”
“As real as a heart attack,” I said.
“So what you saying? That I shouldn’t say anything to her?” he asked.
“Nope – not even saying that,” I said. “It’s all on you to decide what to do about this but y’all been married for, what, like, seven or eight years and I know y’all got kids?”
“Yeah… and?” he asked.
“And I’m just wondering if you’re really that willing to throw it all away and if you are, well, you gotta do what you gotta do,” I said.
Denver lit yet another cigarette and just sat there for a moment before saying, “Man, I don’t know what the fuck I’m gonna do! She lied to me!”
“About what?” I asked.
“She didn’t tell me she was into women!” he said.
“Is that really a lie?” I asked. “I mean, unless you talk to her about it, uh, this could have been something that she realized after y’all met and got married and, besides, I have a problem with that lie of omission shit.”
“Lie of omission? What’s that?” he asked.
“That where people assume that you’re lying to them because of something they didn’t tell you – and you believe that they should have,” I said. “I’m thinking that if she was, ah, like this when y’all met and she told you, it would have been over with before it got started.”
“You got that shit right!” he exclaimed.
“So now you’re thinking that she lied to you because she didn’t tell you about something that – and I gotta be honest about this – a lot of people have found out the hard way that telling someone about something like this doesn’t go well so the best thing they can do is to not say anything about it. Now, does that make them a liar? I’m not sure…” I said. “Lemme ask you this – you still hitting it with her?”
“Shit yeah!” he said.
“Has it been better?” I asked.
He had to think about that one but I was pretty sure that it was better.
“Yeah, now that you mention it, she has been throwing it on me big time,” he said.
“So, um, ah, it’s not like she ain’t handling her wifely duties,” I said. “And if she is and she seems like she’s happier…”
I let the sentence trail off. On the one hand, whatever he decided to do about this wasn’t really any of my business unless my wife’s name comes up and he wants to give me some shit about it; if so, well, I’d just have to deal with it.
“So I shouldn’t say anything to her about it – is that what you’re saying?” he asked.
“No, I’m not saying that at all,” I said and vigorously shaking my head. “But, yeah, y’all need to talk about this and I hope that if y’all do, it doesn’t go as bad as I’ve seen and heard it does because you two clearly love each other and belong together.” He sat there for a moment, plucked his butt away and got to his feet.
“Thanks, man,” he said, reaching out to shake my hand. “Shit… I dunno how this shit is going to go but you said some right shit. I love her and what we have together but, damn, I dunno.”
“I hope everything turns out okay,” I said.
“Yeah, me, too – later on, man,” he said and walked back in the direction of where he lived.
I sat on the steps for a long time and thinking about this. I knew that quite a few of the local ladies who had men were getting busy with each other since, again, my wife was all up in the middle of it as well. What I knew about Denver’s wife was that she wasn’t into this before they met but, over the time they’d been together, she had felt that there was something missing in her life… and then she figured out what that was. I even knew the first woman she has slept with – it was her closest friend.
Denver, if he went about this the right way, would find out what I had found out, not only about his own wife but some of the other wives in the ‘hood… including mine. But I was okay with her getting some pussy “on the side” and I hadn’t lied to him when I said that I felt it was better that I knew what she was doing and who she was doing it with. Seriously tough pill to swallow and that was being nice about it.
As I got up to go inside, I thought that one way or the other, I’d eventually find out what happened. Either they’d come to some kind of understanding, or the word would get out that they broke up or, worse, he got locked up for beating on her.
It’s a situation that people often don’t handle very well. Being married and monogamous, well, it is what it is and the way it’s supposed to be but as I’ve said here many times, the people who invented this were blind to the fact that people change; they really do have needs that appear after the vows have been said and sworn to but those same vows imply that the new husband and wife should be all that will ever be needed…
And it doesn’t really work like that and as I had found out. And while my wife and I had found a “peaceful” and agreeable way to deal with this situation, man – I’ve seen so many relationships and marriages get totally destroyed because people faithfully believe in monogamy… which is fine, but such a firm belief also tends to blind them to the fact that people change; needs change. Monogamy just doesn’t allow for this, and I even remember reading some stuff where experts are saying that we – humans – aren’t meant to be monogamous and being this way is unnatural.
I tend to agree with the assessment; I have known for the longest time that married people are bound by the rules of monogamy… and so are people who are in a relationship and not married. I learned a long time ago what happens to bisexuals who aren’t allowed to be bisexual and, yes, a lot of very serious depression happens to them and there’s no telling what they’re going to do at that point but one thing they might to is to go for what they know because it’s better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission and, yeah, chances are good that they won’t be forgiven and asking for permission is a no-go kind of thing because it’s not that hard to figure out and/or assume that the answer is not only going to be no, it’ll be “Oh, fuck no!”
It’s a sad situation and that’s being nice about it. The good thing is that a lot of people are finding out that being able to take care of those “extra” needs and without reprisal is a lot better than taking a perfectly good relationship and throwing it all away. We get married and “for better or worse” and what causes the big problem is figuring out how to handle shit when it does get worse… like it did for Denver to come home, hear his wife having sex, and seeing that she was with another woman. Nothing prepares you for this… because it’s not supposed to happen. It gets… confusing because, yep, some sundering has taken place but instead of ruining everything, things get better.
It’s seriously messy. I know what it feels like to be a firm believer in monogamy and then find out that it doesn’t have a damned thing to do with people needed to be… themselves. I had had to remember what my mother had told me the day I told her I was getting married: Your marriage is only going to be as good as the two of you are willing to make it.”
Well, as always, she was right about that, and our solution was unorthodox in that we went in a direction that wasn’t getting a divorce and it wasn’t us fussing and fighting over the matter. As a guy, shit – it is one very well-placed and very hard kick in the balls to find out that you’re really not all she needs in order to be okay with herself and more so when you know that you can’t give her what she needs… because you’re literally not equipped to provide it.
I’m writing this and I can still feel the emotional hurt and pain I experienced. Many in this situation will say that they have no choice but to break up… and the reality is that it’s not the only choice but I’ve seen couples make the same decision my wife and I had made… and just fuck it up and wind up breaking up anyway because it is a busload of bitches trying to figure out how to do something that the rules of monogamy says you cannot do – and you’d better not do it.
What happened with Denver and his wife? One night, I go to answer the door… and there’s Denver and his wife, “Lisa,” and I just knew that they weren’t just dropping by to say hi and maybe play Spades. I invited them in, got my wife – and I got the impression that she knew something was “up” and I did see her and Lisa exchange… a look.
Denver says that they were there to talk to us about how we made it work for us to have sex with other people and it does not wind up being an even bigger problem. Yeah, Denver “got in my case” because I didn’t tell him that our wives were getting it on with each other and I had no excuse for not telling him but, yeah, I knew. He waved it off and said that if he had been in my shoes at the time, he probably wouldn’t have said anything either.
The four of us sat for hours talking about this. They had arrived around 7:30 and didn’t leave until 4:00 the next morning. The two of them “grilled us unmercifully” about what we did to make this not be a problem and while it was “easy” to tell them how we had decided to go about this, well, it wasn’t that easy to explain some things that, again, monogamy doesn’t allow for but I thought that the two of us did a good job of explaining to them that, if nothing else, we were responsible for each other’s happiness and if we weren’t willing to do whatever was necessary to make this happen then, yeah, it’s time to get lawyers involved.
And we weren’t feeling that at all. Here’s the “good” part. Denver and I are talking about things on the “guy side” of this deal and it had taken me a moment to realize that our wives weren’t there with us… and another moment to figure out and realize where they were and what they were doing. I got… stuck between not mentioning their absence and mentioning it but he noticed it.
“Do I wanna know where they are and what they’re doing?” he asked.
“Probably not,” I had said.
“This is weird sitting here talking and they’re, um, they’re…” he trailed off.
“I guess they figured that they didn’t need to be sitting here while we were hashing things out and, besides, we’ve been talking a lot about having sex and, well…” I had also trailed off.
“You were right about one thing,” he said. “It is better knowing what she’s doing and who she’s doing it with… but it sure the fuck is weird as shit. Do you ever get over that feeling?”
“Yeah, you do,” I said. “It’s… difficult because you love the shit out of your wife and you always and only want the best for her and want to provide whatever’s going to make and keep her happy… but you don’t see this coming and then you do. I mean, which thing is easier: Getting a divorce or trying to find a way to stay together? It’s not an easy decision to make and, yeah, it can fuck with your head knowing she’s with another woman.”
“Um, um, have you seen your lady with another woman?” he asked.
“Yeah, I have and, wow – it’s… something to see,” I said. “And before you ask, yes – I have been invited to join in and sometimes we get down with other couples and whatever happens, happens. It’s all good, well, it’s been good for us.”
“Damn,” he said. “This is a lot of shit to take in.”
“You ain’t said nothing,” I said.
“So we just sit here?” he asked.
“Yeah, unless you wanna get cussed out,” I said. “If they need us, they’ll call us.”
They didn’t need us. They came back down and appeared to be quite happy. We kept talking – and Denver was very keen to hear the very juicy details and, overall, I thought it was good that he could hear this from his wife and if he was upset about anything, it was probably because his dick was hard and bothering him… and I was feeling the same way, to be honest.
They finally went home with an agreement under their belts. We’d have a foursome with them a short time later and that was after we had another very long talk about that. I would wind up moving out of that neighborhood and we kinda lost touch with them… but I would run into him many years later and learned that he and Lisa were still married, and things were still going well.
Sometimes, the thing you’re not supposed to do is the thing that you should do and more so if you really and truly love the person you’re with and as much as you say you do and you’re about doing whatever it might take to keep the relationship working. It’s just not that easy to take everything you’ve ever known about love, sex, and relationships and get rid of it so you can learn a very different way to go about these things. Some people find that they can do it and make it work…
And some just can’t.