When I was 21 I waited tables at Friendly's Restaurant. The people I worked with were all your run-of-the-mill college students, vets or stoners. We all got along pretty well and had a good time both at and outside of work. We would all close the restaurant down at 11:00 PM, have whipped cream and water fights, then clean up and head over to the local bar or go drunken neon bowling, always followed by breakfast at 2:30AM at Denny's. Saying Moons over My-hammy still gets me tipsy.
It was during this time I became close friends with a 31 year-old married man. He was the assistant manager and put on this pompous ass facade. Only, he wasn't really. If you got past all the crap you realized he was actually a pretty decent person and I always had a great time when he was around. He had this really dry sense of humor and was a lot like me. I am a pillar of worthless knowledge and so was he. We would have these really out there conversations that no one else could understand.
Everything just kind of snuck up on me. We would sit next to each other at the bar. Our heads would lean closer and closer towards each other as the music and the people around us just seemed to disappear. We were the last people to leave or, if I had to leave early, he always walked me to my car where our conversation would continue. I was young and stupid, but I knew better. I kept telling myself as long as there was never any physical contact, I wasn't doing anything wrong. His wife was at home waiting for him, but she could have joined us if she wanted. Couldn't she?
One day he invited me to his house, the reason escapes me now. He poured me a glass of wine and we chatted. We were supposed to be leaving to go somewhere when it hit me. His wife wasn't around. I was in his house. I was drinking his wine. We were having an emotional affair. I was taking him away from his wife and he was letting me. It was definitely a turning point in my life at that moment. I was the other woman. I was helping to break apart a marriage. Who was I and how had I fallen so far? Now that I am older and married for almost 15 years, I see that I was providing him a chance to relive something that leaves all marriages....that gotta, need it, want to have it emotion that causes us not to sleep or eat when we meet someone new. I offered him a glimpse of his lost passion, and whether he actually got to experience it with me or not, he could imagine.
Years later I found out he had divorced his wife. He worked for a former presidential candidate and was doing well. I know I didn't cause their divorce. Their marriage had problems before I ever showed my face. But that doesn't mean I think that what I did was right. If some woman were going out every night with my Hubby, you'd better believe I would hunt her down and bitch-slap her until she couldn't see straight after I took a baseball bat to Hubby.
But I still think of him from time to time. And whenever I see marriages in trouble, I ask myself, is there an emotional affair going on? Most of the time, the answer is yes.