Last night while he was in the shower and you were minding your own business reading a book, his phone rang; five times. Five. At 2230 hours. Standard ringtone. The Android chime. Nothing special to it. This should’ve bothered you, but the name flashing across the screen was Mark. To be more precise, Mark Marketing.
It has to be work. It’s always work. Why else would Mark call at that time? It rings again. He’s still in the shower belting out listen to your heart. Your heart? It tells you to answer the phone. Say hi to mark. Invite him for lunch one of those weekends you both laze in the house. Ask him to bring his wife or girlfriend. Expand your circle. Get to know his friends.
The phone is still ringing and you put the book down. Swipe across the screen and pull it up to your ear with a warm smile. Not that Mark will see it. You just do it. Force of habit. Your man. Husband. Father to your unborn kids. Has a deep voice. Sometimes when he’s in the mood. He whispers into your ears and says sexy stuff. Stuff you can’t think about in the day. And his voice unhooks that bra. Slides off those laced knickers. And leaves you at his beck and call. And boy do you call. His name. God’s name. Customer service. 911. And probably an ancestor. There’s silence on the other end of the phone so you say hello again. The line goes dead. Maybe you freaked Mark out. Thought he had the wrong number.
Babe comes out of the shower. Body glistening. Smiling. You tell him Mark called. Mark from Marketing. He absent mindedly asks what he wanted. You say you don’t know, he didn’t talk. He laughs and says classic Mark. You probably freaked him out he says. I’ll call him in the morning. What if it’s urgent? You ask. He smiles stares deep into your eyes and says the only thing urgent at that moment was you. And like that the book isn’t read. Names are called. And you fall asleep in his arms. Right before reminding yourself to thank God for this man you have.
A week later. You’re in the car babe has gone to get a bottle of wine. It’s movie night. You have your favorite movie downloaded tucked away safe in a folder in your hard drive. His phone is charging. It pings. Mark again. The message flashes briefly across the screen. Thanks for last night. It reads. It’s a bit strange. A man thanking another man for last night? So you sit there and wonder. But not for too long. You remember bae. What he said that morning. He was going for a product launch. He must have had some really valuable input. After all he is good at what he does. So Mark is probably saying thanks for that.
As an after thought you resort to having bae invite Mark over on a Sunday. So he can say thanks properly. And catch a quick one over a game. Oh yeah, you love watching games. And drinking beers. The ones in green bottles. You even know what an offside is. You’re such a catch. Babe comes back and gets in the car. They don’t have your wine here. We’ll go get it at that liquor store near home. Cool? He says. You agree. As you drive off you ask him about Mark. His eyes are trained on the road. He is not avoiding your stare. You’re not even staring. He’s just a good driver. Let’s invite him next Sunday. I want to meet him. Oh and he just texted. Said thanks for last night. You say. Aha. He says. It’s not a yes. It’s not a no. It’s not even an acknowledgment. It’s just an aha.
Over months you forget about Mark. He never did come for lunch. You didn’t bother. Maybe he just doesn’t like lunch. Or football. Or maybe he doesn’t like you. And that’s fine. After all you’re not his wife. Until one evening you’re watching a movie with babe. You’re at the cinemas. His phone pings. He checks and you see Marks name flash across. It’s an image. You don’t really get the chance to analyze it but you can see the female anatomy. It’s hard to miss. Perky breasts. Wide hips. Toned thighs. Light skin. Very light skin. Maybe a akin care cream campaign. You go back to the movie as babe puts the phone back into his pocket. Over the duration of the movie. All 120 minutes the phone keeps pinging. It’s on silent but you can hear the bzz of the vibrate. Mark is such a nag. You think. Thank God he’s not a woman. Who would date him? He needs to tone down.
As the year ends you notice a change in bae. Some good some bad and some subtle. You hate the subtle changes. You don’t know what they could mean. They’re just there hanging like a bad omen. Things could be bad. Things could be good. Things could just be the same. But you never know. And you can’t ask. Because it’s too subtle. It’s to be ignored. He changed his Cologne. He used to love Calvin Klein, Eternity. Now he’s onto Ralph Lauren, Polo black and sometime blue. You chose Eternity for him. You thought it complemented his personality. Laid back and not too aggressive. So when he changed, it hurt you. But you didn’t ask. After all guys change their tastes all the time. And you admit the Ralph did smell good on him. Stuck to his subtle muskiness like a fitting shirt. Also he wore his beard a little bit rugged. And it would scratch your cheeks when you kissed. At first you hated it. Then it started turning you on. And well that was he end of that. Can’t hate on a change if it’s sexy can you?
Then major changes started coming in too. Like no more date nights. Or movie nights. No more goodnight forehead kisses. No more spooning. He was always tired. And grunted his goodnight. Like he didn’t want to say it. Like he didn’t wish you a good one. Like he just wanted to sleep. Get done with the night. wake up and leave. When you’d put your arm around him he’d push it off. Wouldn’t even wait for you to fall asleep. Just brush it off and inch away from you. He did not respond to your touch. Barely noticed the new lingerie. When you tried to creep into the shower with him he lashed out. We’re grown ups dammit he said. Can’t a man have privacy in his own home. You retreated and probably figured it was your own fault.
He hang out with Mark alot. And also Carl from accounting. One time you answered when Cark called and you thought his voice was too feminine. You could even smell the Rose shampoo in it. And babe got mad when you asked. You have a raspy voice he said. Does that make you a man? So you retreated again. And took a good look at yourself. You’re breasts were still perky. You hated that. You wanted the sag that came with having breastfed. You wanted a baby. But he was just not ready. You can’t force a man to be a father. Then what? When he walks out? You’ll only have yourself to blame. Plus he was sweet you know. Never made you use those God awful birth control. He wrapped it up. They dint come better than that.
One fateful evening while he is in the shower singing along to Whitney Houston and missing the high notes like you do him. The old him. Mark texts. He says he is pregnant. And it hits you. Hard. Like a wave of nausea in a fish factory. Disgusting too. And you’re mad. Angry. Infuriated. You go through Marks chats. Mark isn’t Mark. Of course. The goodnight. The thanks for last night. The not wanting lunch. The nkt liking the games. Dammit. You missed the signs. You want to kill Mark. You want to bury his or her body in the ocean. You want to rip out that little foetus and feed it to him. Her. And as babe comes out the shower he can see it in your eyes. He knows you know. He just knows. And he looks down and mumbles a quick. Shifty. Babe, I’m sorry. Picks up his pj’s and walks to the sitting room. He will sleep on the couch. You didn’t tell him to. He just did.
Alone with your own thoughts you see Mark in your head. His. Her. Perky breasts. Toned thighs. Short curly hair. That’s a shade darker than her skin. She looks boyish in a sexy way. Like a Justin Bieber with boobs. She looks like the smell of the Ralph. Of course. It was his. Her. You mean her, sorry. It was her idea. And you wonder if at some point you let yourself go. Maybe you should’ve hit the gym more. Even though men still stared at your ass. Maybe you should’ve cut your long black locs. Maybe you should’ve acted indifferent to football. Maybe you should’ve scrunched your face at the mention of beer. Mark looks like she drinks Cognac. And whisky. And sparkling whites. And hates beer. With her gut. But loves men who love it. You find yourself wanting to be Mark. Carrying his child.
You see me? I’m just a guy. And like every guy out there I have choices I make. Being in a relationship. What Cologne to wear. What drink to buy. How cold I want it. Who to buy a drink for. And that’s what it all boils down to. Choice. Every guy makes them. And it’s conscious. The only difference between cheating and a relationship is that you can find yourself in a relationship without wanting to. Never for cheating. Any guy that cheats wants to cheat. Thought about it. Calculated the risk factor. Decided it was worth it. And then bam.
I’m not a scientist. I’m just a funny guy that loves his drink. Beer to be specific. And whisky. Sometimes I love whisky more. I’ve heard all these stories that guys were meant to be polygamous. It’s in our nature. We love the hunt. A guy will always cheat. They will only hide it if they love you. All that in a collection of bullshit and other stories. See in the story up there, she will probably forgive him. Blame herself. And he will probably pretend to break things off with Mark. But for the sake of the baby you know hang around. And he will do it again. With Carl from accounts. Because he learnt he could get away with it.
I wrote this because of the whole Lemonade debacle. Beyonce did what every woman out there should do. Don’t let him get away with it. Fuck masculinity. Real men. A term people throw around a lot. Will look you in the eye and tell you babe, I can’t live with just one woman. They’ll be others. You’ll be among them. If you’re not okay with it then bye. If you are don’t cry. Kind of like Hugh Hefner. They won’t hide and do it behind your back. I mean if it’s a part of you why hide?
When road meets rubber. When hammer meets head of nail. When Jon snow met his death. Hehe. Cheating is cheating. And we’ll only get away with it if you let us.