Awkward, like teenagers, we spoke it out loud. We said, in words, what we both knew, both hoped, both feared might be true. We blushed (“And so we should,” you said) and I covered my cheeks with my hands, abashed. We stumbled over words, sort of stuttered, and tried out different ways to say it. I don’t know which one of us spoke first, or how many times we each started a sentence and then abandoned it when it began to sound corny or clichéd. Like teenagers, finding our ground, unsure of ourselves and each other. We were scared of saying it wrong, of saying too much, and flinching from the possibilities of rejection and humiliation. Both of us old enough to be out of practice, both comfortably wrapped in long marriages. Both still comfortably, happily married.
This can’t happen.
(“Nope,” we said. “It’s never going to happen.”) We both needed to understand that fact, to convince ourselves of that fact, now that we had told each other the truth. That made it easier to palette this uncomfortable truth; this delicious, tingling, exciting, uncomfortable truth. We said it again and again (“It’s not happening, can’t happen…”), each secretly hoping the other would say otherwise. Both so close to giving in.
But we had already fucked before we walked into that room. The glances and the smiles. Eyes connecting across crowded rooms and not hearing the speakers, knowing only that moment. Both knowing what we wanted but never saying it. And we both knew this room, today, would not be crowded. Only us. Hearts racing, pulsing with the anticipation of being alone together for the first time. Both wanting to table the subject at our meeting yet both unsure if it was the right time, or the right place, or had we read it all wrong? Read each other wrong? Both thankful that we sat at either end of the boardroom table because, had we sat any closer… close enough to touch…
And we spoke. One of us wet, the other, hard; both of us hot yet shivering. We said the words out loud, in front of each other. (“…And all this without alcohol to loosen the tongue!”) Resisting the urge to gush, to spill everything at once, to lay our thoughts out naked and betray our fantasies. Words… some of them wandering, lost, round the mind, others running about the room unsaid, some dancing on the lips, threatening to fall out of our mouths the wrong way round. Gasping for breath, and words choking out in bursts and, between the bursts, awkward silences. Silences that were filled with frightening, discomfiting, blissful expectation. (“I don’t know what to say,” you said. “You don’t have to say anything,” I said.) We were saying it anyway, silently fucking, from opposite ends of the room.
We have never touched one another. Both afraid of the shock, and of the aftershock. But now we have said it out loud. And now we both know, and now we are both sure, and reassured. Still awkward, yet serene: knowing what to do next, but not knowing how.
A clock, somewhere in the room – I don’t know exactly where, strikes the hour, breaking the silence, disturbing the peace. Reality calls. Our meeting has an Agenda, other than our own. There is work to be done. We must return to our worlds; the worlds that we long to escape yet never want to depart from. Different worlds. We both silently acknowledge the truth of what is right and what is wrong and what is not ours.
But now that we have spoken it — said it out loud — we both know it will only be a matter of time.