The Last Right Thing I Did (Followed By The Next Wrong)

(Sally: I openly express later on in this story how I don’t know why I continue to do things that would make you ashamed of me. So please don’t read past this line.)

Writing this will be mildly difficult. I don’t want to give away anything about the other members of this story so I will have to not only change the names of the people in this story as I tend to do, but the timeline will be off and what city it occurred in will be a city that I never lived in, and the job I say I have may or may not be the job I had at the time, as to truly protect everyone involved in this story (which in all honesty is one or two other people, but they don’t need me to air their dirty laundry…unlike everyone else I write about. Huh. I must actually care about them). Basically, what you are about to read has been turned into a work of fiction based on many different experiences in my life that have been conglomerated into one story (It’s kind of amazing how often I find myself in this situation), and my desire to truly protect one person.

A few years ago I was working as a server in a local, privately owned, fun, pizza place in, we’ll call it Macon.  All the people that worked there were very close, and regarded each other as friends and family. For an extended period of time they were the closest things I had to family. My parents and sisters were spread around and, while we remained exceptionally close, at times I needed people to be there for me in person. The people at this restaurant were those people.

clintonAlso, while I worked there I had been entrusted with so many secrets I had to keep to myself I truly discovered not only was I deceitful, but I was so good at it, my own secrets were never of consequence because I had figured out so many ways to hide them.  It truly was a gift. I found out I could tell people the exact truth while convincing them I had told them the exact opposite of what I said. I had learned a way of speaking that never denied anything being asked, while never confirming it either (I think it is referred to as Clintonisms). The answers had become second nature to me after a while. It was a regular thing for me to not give a straight answer to any question I was asked in an entire day just for the practice of being deceitful.

As I have stated before, I think I am a great person. Not only that but I believe that not only the World, but the Universe is Matt-centric. Since I was at the center of so many secrets that were happening at my restaurant this meant the restaurant also revolved around me (I hope that at this point, everyone knows about the size of my ego).

It was during this time of compiling all of my secrets, along with everyone else’s, inside my brain I met “May”.

May was short, with dark hair, dark eyes, very proud of her heritage and carried herself with an air of arrogance that just rubbed me the wrong way. She was sarcastic, demeaning, found herself to be exceptionally funny and had no problem of letting other people see that she thought she was the epicenter of her life and everyone around her (so, I guess many would say she was a female me). I couldn’t stand her for so many reasons and yet, there was something about her I was so exceptionally attracted to at the same time (I’m certain it was the fact she was basically a female version of me).

For the first month she worked there we had an ongoing banter that was quick and filled with witty one-liners that made me laugh regularly. She was slowly becoming someone at the restaurant I would consider a work friend, but being the fact that she was married with a few kids I knew she would never be anything more than the annoyingly obnoxious girl at work who was decently clever when it came to making fun of each other (if you think you know the plot of this story by now, you probably do).

Since I can’t really hold out on the suspense anymore I may (hehe) just go into it.

I was up at work one night celebrating a personal milestone that I had just achieved, and will write about in another story some time in the future. May had been working there about a month at the time, and we were decently close, nothing like my other friends there, but still close. Let’s just say, she was not one of the people buying me shots that night. I can’t say how much I drank that night. All I really know is I was well beyond the ability to drive by the time the night was over.  So much in fact the bartender told me the next day that after I got back to the bar (having left at one point to go to another bar for some reason), all I could say to him was, “I just want to go home.”

May offered me a ride home. I was exceptionally happy to get this ride. Not because it was May that was giving it to me, but because I really wanted to go home. I was tired, very drunk and since there wasn’t anyone I would be going home with that evening I wanted to lie down in my bed and fall asleep (pass out).

Drunkenly I gave her directions to my house as we talked about god only knows what. Since I was a drunken mess that night I couldn’t tell you about what was said or discussed. If what happened next hadn’t happened I probably wouldn’t remember the ride at all.

While we sat in the car, outside my house, we talked about work and the other employees and the sort of stuff two people talk about when there is no hope for them to ever get together (I assume, I really don’t remember a whole lot from this evening. One of my buddies I will refer to as Greg was buying me shots of Goldschläger and another buddy, Fred, was buying me Jack Daniels shots). Somehow, and again, I am not exactly sure on the exact details of the night, my hand brushed the back of her neck. In the area some would describe as the “nape” I would assume. This was apparently one of those spots hidden all over people’s bodies that are fun to find.

A chill shot down her back as she warned me not to touch her there. In hindsight I probably should have heeded this advice, but as my mother always said, I am a button pusher and this particular night I was a drunken button pusher.  I kept finding excuses to have to reach across her back just so I could lightly run my fingers across the back of her neck and she would curse at me, but never once asked me to get out of the car.

What happened next was a point of contention between the two of us for a while. Since there were no witnesses to the event it was my word against hers on how this happened, or who instigated it, but I contest that she was one who kissed first. She, being the married one with a family, is insistent I am the one who first initiated the physical relationship. No matter which one of us kissed the other first we both were in the wrong here.

I think it’s listed somewhere in here.

Now it is painfully obvious to people that I am not a religious person. I describe myself as an agnostic in many different stories. The Ten Commandments though, if nothing else, are a set of decent rules to live your life by. I’m a little rusty on the subject but I believe one of them says something about “Do Not Covet Your Neighbor’s Wife”. It’s amazing how quickly I could excuse this in my head due to the fact that 1) she was not my neighbor, she didn’t live on my street or in my neighborhood and 2) I was pretty sure it also said not to covet her husband’s donkey or ox also, and I was willing to bet they didn’t own either one of those things.

I will say this here and only here (you know, in a public forum for all the world to read), she was an amazing kisser. Unbelievable. Her husband was truly a lucky man (for her kissing ability, her faithfulness maybe not so much).

Immediately guilt set in for both of us. I was suddenly much more sober than I had been only a moment or so previously. We pulled away from each other, unsure of what to say of the event that had just transpired.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

“Me too,” I said. “I should probably go.”

“Yeah,” she said.

Then we started making out again.

I had no idea what I was doing at that point, except aiding and abetting in the committing of adultery. I realized that I had truly sunk to a new point of apathy in my life because I really didn’t care. In all honesty, I still don’t.

We stopped again. I got out of the car and again we both apologized to each other through her open driver’s side window. Then I kissed her through the open window and went inside, completely amazed by what had happened only a few moments ago. I laid down in bed and fell asleep while thinking about May and now filled with mixed feelings about how I now had yet another secret I had to keep inside, but at least this one was mine as opposed to anyone else’s. I actually fell asleep happy that night.

Watch this episode on DVD, the song they use on the Netflix version doesn’t do the scene justice.

I will say here that for the number of times I found myself in this position I constantly found that I was struggling with not loneliness, because I was surrounded by friends every time, but just that feeling deep inside of being alone. I am a huge fan of the television show Scrubs. I can almost act out the first eight seasons. Typically there are one or two lines in every episode that truly resonate with me. There is this one episode (season 2, episode 18) called My T.C.W. in which J.D. (Zach Braff) starts to date the wife of a man in a coma. The episode ends with J.D. walking down the hallway of the hospital while his voice echoes over the scene saying, “Because nothing sucks more than feeling all alone…no matter how many people are around.” This is where I was mentally and emotionally whenever these situations arose (also was a big reason I ended up writing this story here).

I didn’t see May for a while after that. I took time off from work because I didn’t want her to feel awkward around me. There was this night I received a drunken text from her saying that she needed me to start working with her so we would be able to get past the initial awkwardness we would undoubtedly experience. I was unsure of what she was referring to, as I don’t feel awkwardness, but I returned to my normal work schedule.

May and I agreed that what happened between us was a fluke (the most prominent fish in the sea) and could never happen again. We went back to our witty banter and friendship-based relationship.  We both needed work friends (well, I didn’t. I had a lot of them. She did) and we were there for each other in this capacity. Until the next time we were drinking together.

She and I were at hanging out at a work function, her husband wasn’t there, and she and I were spending a good portion of time drinking together. I wasn’t spending a lot of time with her at first, but as the alcohol got deeper into my blood stream the more I found myself sitting next to her. The two of us made snide comments. Barbs were traded back and forth as we both knew what was going to happen if one of us didn’t leave soon.

I announced to our coworkers I was leaving. I went to grab my bag, made a quick stop off at the bathroom and was ready to go. When I exited the bathroom May was standing there (unisex bathroom) waiting to go in, or waiting for me, I’m not really sure which was true (yes, I do).

She looked at me and smiled. Then pushed me back into the bathroom. Our lips met as I locked the door behind us and had May pushed up against the wall. Her arms wrapped around me, holding me tightly as I held her close to me with my right arm, my left hand settled on her hip.

Before you judge me more than you already have, remember this is a conglomerate of women. They all told me they were happy in their marriages. They all said nothing would ever happen between us. They all basically initiated these encounters. And never in any of the circumstances did I ever have sex with any of them.

When May pushed me into the bathroom and we threw down like high school kids who were skipping class to make out in the janitor’s closet. I felt alive. I knew how wrong it was of me to get such a great pleasure from doing something that would make my mother so ashamed to have raised me, but that was something I had gotten used to over my 30+ years of living.  I didn’t want the moment to end. I feel like she didn’t want it to either. I don’t know how long we were in that bathroom, but if we could have lived in that moment for the rest of eternity I would have found a small sliver of heaven.

Just as before we agreed our encounters could never happen again, and we would return to just being friends.

The problem was we now couldn’t just be friends. A connection had been made between us. She would say  she couldn’t have a connection with me because she was married but, as everyone knows, it is possible to have a connection with someone that isn’t your significant other. It is just frowned upon. Even though she was stating  she had no feelings for me, I couldn’t help but have feelings for her.

Again, this was during a time when it didn’t matter how many friends I had, when I went home at night I would stare at the ceiling and just wish there were someone lying there next to me. The fact I had found someone who was smart, funny, attractive, confident, who genuinely seemed to be into me, but at the same time “couldn’t” be with me was almost like finding my perfect woman.

The problem was I didn’t want to be the guy that ended a marriage. One of these women at one point told me she needed to figure out if she was going to leave her husband for me. That was an eye opener. While it all seems like fun, flirtatious, simple fooling around the truth of the matter is I would be at least partially responsible for ending someone’s marriage. I didn’t want to be that guy. I couldn’t be that guy (I understand the hypocrisy here being the fact that I had already done everything necessary to end these marriages, but it should not be unknown by now that I don’t really think about the consequences of my actions. Hello? Former drug addict? Been to jail a few times? Living in Nashville? I’m sorry Nashville. I do love you).

The next time I saw May I told her simply I was having issues with the fact I had feelings for her. I knew nothing could ever happen between us as far as a future goes and I thought it best we never spoke again.

She said she understood and acknowledged how much it was going to suck not being able to speak to each other any more. She didn’t want to lead me on, or give me false hope for anything. She also couldn’t keep doing this to her husband.

I would like to say it was a win/win for everyone involved. Her husband was getting a little screwed in the deal but I honestly felt like what he didn’t know here wouldn’t hurt him (or me for that matter). I wouldn’t continue to grow close to this amazing, beautiful, talented person. She would never have to question whether or not it would be a good idea to leave her husband for me (at the time I probably thought it would be, but let’s be honest, I’m a fucking mess).

There it was. The last right thing I did. I actually sat down and thought about the consequences of my actions. Not only how they would affect me but also how they would affect other people. This meant I had to think about May, her husband, and their kids. I had to stop being me for a little bit and become someone who isn’t completely self-centric. I had to take the time to try to see the world from someone else’s point of view. It was a terrible time in my life.

I would like to say I learned a lot from my experiences with May. I would like to say I would never get myself into a situation such as this again, one where I would have to think about how other people look at the world. I would like to say there would never be a time in which I would find myself in a precarious situation with a married woman again. I really would like to say those things.

But, I am Matt.

I immediately followed up the last right thing I did with the next wrong thing I did. May and I agreed we couldn’t not talk to each other. It was too difficult. We had become too close. We were now friends. We just wouldn’t be allowed to drink around each other. We could work together and if she was going to hang out after I would leave. This plan worked for about three days.

One night she ended up hanging out after work. I keeping true to our pact left and went to some bars in a different part of the city. I drank a lot and ended up cabbing it home (one DUI in my life is enough).

I figured we were safe for another night. Nothing had happened. I was at home in my bed, alone once again. Then I got a text message.

May was drunk and needed a place to stay for a little while until she sobered up. She asked if she could hang out at my house until that happened. I told her that would be fine.

Like I stated earlier, I never had sex with any of the women in this story. This isn’t a Clintonism, depends on what your meaning of “is” is kind of thing either. There was no sex of any definition that happened between us. That night I fell asleep next to someone for the first time in months and it was the best sleep I had had in the same amount of time.

Even when I want to be good I still figure out a way to fuck it all up.

May and I stopped talking shortly after that. One of her friends who she had confided in about our “relationship” told her roommate about it, who told his friend about it, who was friends with May’s husband. It all got smoothed over for them and as far as I know they are happy. Part of the deal was she and I couldn’t ever talk again.  I can’t blame him for that request.

When I thought I had learned a lesson and had grown from my experiences I found out that I would constantly make the same mistake, which means I really didn’t learn anything. I continue to look at the world in the self-centric view I always have and this time it almost cost someone their marriage, their family and their friends. When you have that happen based on decisions you made it really makes you realize that the world really is centered on you. When you realize that it makes you see that you have to be careful with your decisions.

It’s the whole Spider-man thing, “with great power comes great responsibility.” This is the burden with which I now live. I just have to remember that my actions affect others, and not everyone will be affected positively. The question is, do I retain the self-control to make the decisions that will positively affect others, or will I choose the option that serves my own personal interests best?

But then again, we all know the answer to that question.

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