The First Night
Tonight was the first night of a series of dinner parties, mingling, and the first time that I have been able to come out on an outing with my husband as is, and not as “husband and wife in private”. I don’t even have to make up some story about being a cousin with HIV. He really wants me in his world, all around! It was going to be great. Outlined, it was that we were going to attend a series of dinner parties, whilst our children were entertained in the resort. There was a pool, dining halls, and game rooms. It was geared for children; it’s one of the many places where famous and important people dump their children so they can attend adult conferences and other places where they do not want to be bothered by their offspring until the little ones are old enough or unique enough to start raking in the dough themselves. I hated leaving the kids there, but they didn’t seem to be so sad to be unattached to their parents for a few hours. We didn’t even say goodbye.
Dumping our luggage in the suite, I was surprised to see there was a whole separate bedroom for the kids, with two beds. We were in a hotel with two bedrooms and three beds! I’d never saw anything like this in nursing school. Dennis told me I should get used to it. Lots of places are set up like this, apparently. I unpacked my meds, changed, grabbed a clutch and we both hurried to the elevators. Glass, fast moving elevators took us down to the lobby, where we met up with some friends and band mates of Dennis’. I was glad I had my iPhone. Possible human contact. I was ignored on the way to the dinner hall. It never occurred to any of them, these people that my husband supposedly gets together with frequently, that he had a new date. There were people there that he was quite open and comfortable around that I had never saw before. People who saw right through me. I suddenly wished I had packed some Vicodin.
Dinner proved to be different. Dennis ordered something that looked, and smelled like, cat food that a house cat had thrown up onto his plate. I ordered a single plate of spanish rice and a glass of white wine. I ate slowly, tried to get myself into the conversation, but every time I said something, they would either ignore me (the band members) or look right through me (Jewish friend and co). Even the women. Even the other band wives. Alright. Fuck ‘em. I didn’t have to stand for this. After clearing my plate, I pushed back in my chair, and hurried out to the patio outside. If I couldn’t be accepted by the stars inside, I could wax poetic on the stars outside.
Sitting on the rail, watching the sky above me, I started thinking that maybe it was a mistake to come to this. After all, for the next three days, while Dennis mingled and became more important, someone else was tucking in our kids, I was being ignored, and my urge for Vicodin was rising. My back hurt. My shoes were painful and the bed was hard. I wasn’t craving because I am some kind of a pill popping maniac. I stopped a waiter carrying a tray and took another glass of white wine from the tray. He acted like I slapped him and then kicked him in the nuts, but I didn’t care. This wasn’t a place I’d be invited back to any time soon. A roar of laughter came from Dennis’ table. I turned away sharply. Fuck ‘em, I thought, when I become famous I’m never doing anything here. And if they invite me I won’t even RSVP. It was then that I realised that tears were on my cheeks. I was crying! Over this! Why? It wasn’t a vacation. I knew this was business when I agreed to come. What was wrong with me?!
“Break up with someone?” A soft voice asked from behind me. I spun around. “What?” I asked. A man dressed in a white shirt and black pants stood behind me with a kind smile on his face. “You’re upset about something. I don’t recognise you, so I assume you’re a date that got kicked out when fame came crashing back down on your date,” he replied. The fuck…? Get outta my head, asshole, I thought. “I um, I came alone,” I said. “Really? Were you seated at the wrong table?” “What’s it to you? What are you, a reporter? The interesting people are in there.” “I’m not a reporter…” he began.
We made small talk out there on the patio. He was surprised that I was a band wife, bands never bring their wives to places like this. He should know, his band never did anyway. I was surprised to find out who he was. In retrospect, he was familiar, but I couldn’t place him. I asked where his wife was, and he shrugged. Never had one, don’t need one, hasn’t found any to change his mind. By nine-thirty, my head was throbbing. S, as I will call him, ordered me an entire bottle of the white wine, and I had hogged it all. We talked of many things. The most common was how badly we hated that place, and the crowd of people inside.
The Groupi in me was coming out. I wanted to offer him a lay. Sex, with no strings attached, that night, just as I would if it had happened in 1996. I wanted to be that Groupi again. I wanted to have the freedom to do what I wanted right then and there. But all the swarms of changes came back to me. My children would be sleeping in the next room. Dennis would know. I would know. It just doesn’t seem to be in the stars that I love so much to be coming true. S made the first move and handed me a piece of paper. “This is my room. We’re staying at the same place. You should come by and visit me if you want to talk again,” he said. “Thanks, let me go get my car and I’ll be there,” I replied, somewhat drunk. His eyebrows rose. “You drove here? You can’t drive back, drunk.” I replied with some off remark. He took me by the arm and said he would make sure that I got back to my room safely.
All the way back, the focus was on sex, and when it was going to happen. My inhibitions were gone by now, and I openly expressed that I wanted to screw his brains out. I also blurted out that Dennis and I were in an open relationship, so it wouldn’t be cheating on my part. Something that was only partly true. In order to keep our relationship secure, we tried being open, but when the time came for one of us to get laid by someone else, usually me by his brother Billy, we couldn’t do it. We loved each other so much back then, we couldn’t turn away from each other. I slipped my silver wedding band off and dumped it in my clutch. “Bastard never got me a wedding band, either. But that’s alright. It’s not like I don’t know that he gets lucky every time he’s with that group,” I said. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to go through with sleeping with S. Sure, I was pissed at Dennis for bringing me here, and then making believe that I was invisible, but was it really worth an affair? With a man technically old enough to be my father?
I had an idea. I promised S that if I needed him tonight, I would call. We said goodbyes, and then I contemplated that if Dennis could fix what happened tonight by talking to me, I wouldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t. An hour later, he staggered into the room, and flopped down on the bed. “You’re drunk,” I replied. “You came here?” he asked, “And I’m not drunk, I just feel bad. Nothing that sleep won’t fix.” “We need to fix something else, first. Us. Can we talk?” I asked. “Sure. Just let me get ready for bed and put on my earbuds, Cee, I’m exhausted. Plus I think the tuna was bad tonight. And so what if I had a drink or two? I’m not in AA or even NA anymore!” With that, he hurried into the bathroom to change. I sighed. I was in pain. I hadn’t bothered to get undressed for when he came home, so I was still pinched with the dressy clothes.
Getting up off the bed, I wrapped up in a robe and hurried out of the suite. I tiptoed down the hall to the room number written on the piece of paper. When S came to the door, suspiciously scented of vinegar, I blurted out, “Do you have any Vicodin? My back is really killing me. My feet too.” He seemed surprised at my request, but nodded, and stepped back inside his room. When he returned with a ziplock with four pills, he asked me something that I was not expecting, “Are you sure this is for your hurting feet and back? Or your hurting heart? Cray, I think we shouldn’t break up your family.” I grabbed the bag from him. “I just came by for the narcotics. That’s all. You didn’t think I was serious about sleeping with you, did you?” I threw in a small laugh, turned and hurried down the hall. I knew if I scurried right, I could get back before Dennis was out of the shower, and he’d never know that I had been gone.
Back in the suite, I was right, Dennis was still in the bathroom, still taking a shower, and I was there alone. With the kids sleeping in the room next to ours and the ziplock baggie of Vicodin. I opened the bag and inspected the pills. They were Vicodin. A little strong for my liking, and use, but hey, S was right, I didn’t need them for my back and feet. I needed them to heal my hurting heart.
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