Part I: Finally Fucked for Real
(Don't worry; part II is right below)
“Honestly, I don’t support what you’re doing. I’m sorry.”
Rejection on grindr is expected. But it never felt so much like a punch in the gut. Adam helped make me. He eagerly initiated my first threesome. He kept prodding for details on my adventures, goading me on each successive one. The 20yo is a bottomless pit of sexual energy and he has no boundaries; he once asked to come over while my baby was asleep upstairs. I hope he was joking.
Last week, I posted about my visit to the STI clinic, and how they found a symptom-less chlamydia infection. Four horse-pills later I'm fine. I hope to god my wife didn't catch it. But apparently a mention of a minor STI is all Adam needs to see the light.
“You do whatever you want,” he types, “but you’ve already gotten one STI already. Not healthy for you or your wife or family.”
I’m stung. It all comes back to me, the feelings of dread. I can't block it out anymore. What the fuck am I doing? Reeling backwards, I lean against the brick wall in the student centre.
“You’re right,” I finally write back. “I have to stop this somehow.” Shaking. I press the back button. Edit profile.
“Are you sure you want to clear all fields?”
One click, and I’m an anonymous gray square. The weird guy with the tumblr diary is gone. Maybe that will keep me under control. I’ll just stop now. No more cock. Ever. Until I’m dead.
It’s lunchtime. I sit down to eat a Steak and Cheese sub, but I’m not hungry. I end up throwing it away.
Half an hour later, I’m sneaking into the girls’ dorm on campus. I follow a blonde haired Korean man down the hall, into the single room and lock the door behind me. On Jack’d, he said he’s from Toronto visiting his frosh friend. She’s in class right now.
Her small room is identical to the one I stayed in back in 1998. Maybe a little messier. A calculus textbook lays open on the floor, beside a thread-worn pink stuffed rabbit. It’s cute. My six year old has a stuffed cat, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she takes it to university with her too. The rabbit watches us sadly with its black button eyes.
He sits on the edge of the small bed. “So, how do we do this?” He asks. Shit. I’m the experienced one now. I’m not sure I like that anymore.
“I generally like to just get right into it.” I still don’t like making out with guys. My lips are used to one woman.
As I pull his shorts off he asks, “I’m just curious. Does your wife know?”
I look at the floor. “No she doesn't… and I don’t really like that part of it…”
“That’s alright. I’m cool with it.” He strokes his dick to hardness and aims it at my face.
By the end of it, I make him squat over my neck, a frequent fantasy of mine. He’s jerking and suddenly stuffs it in my mouth, bouncing a little on his haunches. The Korean is heavy set and his weight makes him go a little too far down. I’m forced to swallow most of it, but I try to show him what I can before I slurp the rest of his tasty seed. I stop when he starts to squirm. Cut guys can’t handle the simulation as well when they’re done. I hate that I know that.
“Very intense,” he tells me, panting.
When I get home I have to wash the dishes and watch the kids while my wife does her workout. I get to work, starting by tossing out the flowers I got her last week, on the way back from the clinic. The cheap bouquet from Sobeys didn’t last too long.
I examine the vase, a huge glass bubble. We bought it at Michael's to use as a centrepiece at our wedding. When we were engaged, we’d collect the half-price coupons each week, and over many fun evenings, walk over to the craft store together until we had 15 of them, one for each table. Afterwards, we gave them away our friends and family, but we kept this one. I plunge it into the suds for a scrub, and my insides churn. I’m pretty sure she has Chlamydia and it might slowly wreak havoc on her organs. Most people have no symptoms at all. Frustratingly, a single dose of pills would cure it, just as it did mine two weeks ago at the STI clinic. But even if I could get my hands on some, there’s no fucking way to give them to her.
I’m so preoccupied I don’t even hear it until my kids are shouting that the baby made it all the way up the stairs. I run and grab him. Thank God he didn’t fall. I carry him back to safety before my wife finds out.
She bounds up the stairs from the basement, oblivious to the drama going on around her. “I’m going to go shower. Would you mind making me a protein shake? Skim milk and a banana.”
“No problem dear. I know just how you like it.” I make one for myself too, identical to hers. Just before I blend mine my hand reaches for the cupboard. I unscrew the cap and drop in four tablets of Advil. The pills clatter against the spinning blades before they disappear into the mix. I close my eyes and gulp down the whole glass.
I don’t taste anything off. But it’s possible that she could.
Shit. I’m disgusted at myself. I’m not about to drug my wife.
She comes back in the room in her pajamas. “Thanks!” She gives me a peck on the cheek and takes the other glass.
“Girls, it’s bath night.” She announces to the tribe.
The rest of the night disappears into a routine of baths, toothbrushing, and story time, and we are both exhausted by the end of it.
Still, as we climb into bed, she looks at me, perkily, and asks in a cute lolcat voice, “We have sex now?”
I grin at her and reach for the condoms in the nightstand. I put it on badly; I know I’m clean down there now, and if she has something, I want to catch it. That’s the only way to know for sure.
The day she returned to work after her maternity leave, our marriage got great. No mother could admit it, but being stuck with the kids all day sapped the life out of her and made her angry all the time. Her coworkers are thrilled to have her back and they tell her that every day. They do half my job for me! Finally I have my delightful hot wife back. And now that she’s stopped breastfeeding she’s jumping my bones again. More than ever in our whole relationship.
I can’t fuck this up.
But I’m stuck. During the tough times I could tell myself it wasn’t fair, I needed some sexual outlet. Now I have no fucking idea why I’m cheating. Knowing that she might have an STI bugs the hell out of me. It’s like a time bomb. The only way I can sleep is when I tell myself that she has no symptoms. It might be fine. All I have to do is get tested again and I will know. There’s no point in getting worked up about it now.
Afterwards, I lay beside her, slowly stroking her cheek. “Jen,” I tell her, “I love you with all my heart, and I want to cherish each and every day I have with you.” My eyes tear up. She doesn’t notice.
“Awww. I love you too.” She gives me one final passionate kiss, and turns off the lamp.
I try to fill my mind with work problems. At least I can solve those. I’m almost asleep now.
“Tomorrow could you pick up some Canesten cream from Sobeys? I’m feeling a little itchy down there again.”
My eyes snap open.
Part II: The Red Pill
Tonight’s when my fantasy life finally catches up with me. Just before turning out the light, my wife mentions she feels itchy down there. She wants me to pick up a yeast kit tomorrow.
It won’t help. I know she needs four pills, the same ones that I had last week at the STI clinic. The nurse watched me swallow each one. I’m completely cured.
I toss and turn, then give up and pace the dark hallway. Maybe honesty is the best policy. I’ll tell my doctor everything. With patient confidentiality, he’s not allowed to reveal anything to her. He has to help me. He can’t just decide to destroy my family. He must have some decency.
So now I’m in his office, bleary-eyed, and waiting. I message her.
“Morning dear. I noticed I’m a little itchy down there too so I’m going to the doctor this morning.”
“OK,” my wife writes back, just as I knew she would. “Can you ask him about mine while you’re there? There’s a bit of an odd smell now.”
I sigh. The plan is working so far. I’m too good at this. “No problem, I’ll mention it, maybe he can get you something too. I love you.”
He comes into the room and puts on some rubber gloves. Mr. Rogers with a stethoscope, so wholesome it’s unreal. The same doctor that helped raise our three kids through every minor sniffle. “How are you today?”
“Well, not too good,” I tell him.
“How long have you had this itchiness?”
“Well…” I start.. I didn’t want a paper trail. “What I told the nurse isn’t exactly true.”
He furrows his brow, confused. “Oh?”
Fuck. I know he knows. I told him in my original visit, how pretty much right after I started taking my antidepressant, I started fooling around with guys. He didn’t see the connection. But it’s there.
In the past year I’ve never mentioned it again, except a month ago I asked him for some Gardasil vaccine. He scribbled his signature, and rushed me out without asking any questions. “It’s so great that you’re doing this,” the nurse had said after she injected me. I stuffed my ring finger in my pocket and thanked her.
“It’s not easy to say this, but.. I made a mistake, and I was treated for Chlamydia, and I’m pretty sure my wife has it too.”
“I see,” he says, typing something on his computer.
“We always use a condom,” I say. I don’t want him to think I’m a complete idiot. “But now she’s complaining that something itches, and so I was wondering if, you know, I could get treatment for both of us.”
His eyes furrow even further in disgust and horror. I’ve never seen him like this. He looks at me like I’m some crap on his shoe. “I have a problem with treating someone at arm’s length,” he tells me, after a long pause. “Usually I’m required to at least explain to a patient what a diagnosis is, and what a medication is for…”
“Yes, but, I mean, ethically, I know, I made a mistake but I don’t want to destroy my family…. and in the US there’s something called Expedited Partner Therapy, where I’d be allowed to deliver the treatment to my partner, don’t we have something like that here?”
He scratches the back of his neck, clearly perplexed. “Just a moment, I’ll be back. I’ve got to check our stock.” He gets up and quickly leaves, locking me in the room.
I lean over the computer, but he’s carefully logged out. I’m left here to wallow in my own self hate. What the fuck am I doing? When the fuck did I become such a low-life disgusting person?
I don’t believe in cheating. Heck, I never believed in sex before marriage, It was a long time before I finally gave myself to her. I remember that day, on the mattress on the floor of her rented room, one spontaneous morning before work. I cried afterwards. I cried with joy that I had found my soul mate and shared this special thing with her. She held me in her arms, and I knew that we would be together forever.
Three kids later, I get depressed. Just opening a laptop for work takes a day’s worth of willpower. If she snaps at me, I sulk. So my doctor puts me on these cursed pills.
They worked great. Two weeks later I’m happy and energetic again. Plus I think it’s a great idea to try to hookup with guys so I’ll finally know what it’s like.
What the fuck.
The door opens and he comes back in the room, a bottle of Azithromycin in one hand and a printout in the other. He looks at me gravely. “You have two choices,” he tells me. He holds out the form. “You can take this to the lab and have a urine test. You’ll get a call from public health if it’s positive. If not, at least you’ll have some peace of mind.”
“Erm, I don’t really want that kind of message on the answering machine. The STI clinic I use has a range of communication options…”
“Or,” he continues firmly, “I can treat you right now. But I cannot treat a patient at arms length.” He shakes out four pills into a Dixie cup and puts it on the table in front of me..
Fuck, if I wanted to be tested or force-fed antibiotics I could have gone to the clinic again. Both options are shit.
He sees the look on my face and gets even more exasperated. He gets up, paces the tiny room, and points at the phone. “If I could call her right now, explain to her that this is what she might have, this is the treatment, then there would be no problem. But… does she even know you’re here?” He stares at me.
This was a terrible idea. What was I thinking? “Uh, she does but–”
“Jen has to come in on her own and get a diagnosis. Until then, you have a choice.” He shoves his rolling chair back under the table. It thumps against the wall. “I hope you make the right one.” He leaves, and the door slams behind him.
I stare at the tiny cup of pills in front of me. I pick one up and raise it to my lips.
He’s wrong. I don’t have a choice any more.
I drop the pill back into the cup, carefully crumple it and the others into a ball, and stuff it in my pocket. Then I reach for my phone and prepare to message my wife.
I’m going to hell.
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