I stood at the bus stop half an hour later and stared at the black tips of my boots washed by the rain, I felt a little weird. There were quite a few people at the bus stop and I was wondering if they could see that I’d just, after the first sociable orgasm in half a year, solved the mystery of the impulses coming from my university acquaintance. At least we’d got to the bottom of one thing, even if we’d opened up so many new problems with it. One of them I couldn’t get out of my mind: the light bulb had gone out in my kitchen, and because of the whole carry-on I’d forgotten to buy a new one. Bloody shite, the kitchen will be dark all night.
What now? I was standing at the Queen Street bus stop. In our city. But if I pictured your face, I simply couldn’t explain to myself I’d just cheated on you. I hadn’t. That’s just …
You had nothing at all to do with it. You’re my man and I love you. But this was something I had to do, I had to explore. It was my little project. Maybe it got a bit out of hand on occasions but I brought it to a successful conclusion. Everything was clear now: I knew I’d never do anything like that with Jason again. I simply didn’t need to. It wouldn’t make any sense. I don’t need a married lover with a baby, do I? If he still hopes for something like that, well, so much the worse for him. I’m yours. Our relationship will never be like Jason and Helen’s. There’s no doubt that that’s what I want, not him.
It was bucketing down. The sky was grey and, in the falling darkness, acquiring a heavy, almost nightmarish appearance. My body didn’t quite respond to external stimuli, to the cold wind predicting autumn, to the tiny droplets on my hair and face. My body was still somehow floating, like it still couldn’t believe what unexpected fun I’d organized for it. At what Claire was capable of. I was happy I was capable of it. Everything was fine, it was all over. Done. But could I just forget about it now?
It was so daft. Why would I force myself to tell you about it? Out of sincerity for sincerity’s sake, for some kind of purity in our relationship? Why should I tell you something that would surely hurt you? And why should I hurt you with something that had nothing to do with you? I shivered at the very thought of how you’d react. But still …
There’s apparently at least one decision left to keep me busy for the next few months.
The bus splashed me with water. My black tights were soaked, a chilly damp feeling against my skin. So what? I had other things to consider. Top of the list was – what a nuisance – having to spend the night with a dark kitchen. I got on the bus.
Translated by the Author