When my boyfriend and I first fell in love, he was not in an open marriage in any way, shape, or form. After a couple of weekends of falling asleep next to each other, sneaking guilty kisses, and finding any excuse to be alone together even just to talk, we finally decided it was necessary for him to tell his wife what was going on before he did something that would ruin his marriage. Shockingly, she told him he could keep seeing me and a year later we're the poster children for happy, poly families. But we didn't always know it was going to turn out that way. This entry was written during the tense times.
"Wanna go get coffee?"
His eyes were locked on mine. Amidst the swirling coats and bags of people standing and preparing to leave the restaurant, I caught the question that was delivered to me. Even as I opened my mouth to reply in the affirmative the girl next to him responded enthusiastically,
"Coffee would be great!"
I wanted to turn to her and snap "He wasn't asking you," but there was no reason why anyone other than me should have assumed it wasn't an open invitation. After all, we were all here to hang out with our friends. Why would we want to disappear to a coffee shop together while everyone else went back to the house? I'm just his friend - just like all the other friends here who only get to see him once every two weeks and want to spend time with him. So I stay silent. And only the briefest flicker of his eyes portrays any conflict on his part.
So the swirling coats and bags signed the last of their checks and walked away from the table to join the smokers who were waiting on the sidewalk. He and I walked past the group towards the gate of the coffee shop patio. As we walked past she called out forlornly from her husband's arms, "I'm not allowed to have coffee." I'm not certain if her husband was more clever than her, or if we simply got lucky that he decided to enforce the limits of their financial situation. Regardless, I expressed our regret and told the group that we'd see them back at the house.
I walked up to the counter to catch him asking for advice on which coffee to order. He reached a decision and turned to ask me what I wanted. "I've been told I can't spend any more money," I replied.
"You won't be," he said. Fair enough, I thought and placed an order. He paid and the man behind the counter told us to take a seat while we waited for our drinks. He walked ahead of me directly toward the table I had mentally already picked out for us; it was the one farthest away from everyone else in the small coffee shop. He sat down in the booth that ran along the wall. At a two person table etiquette would dictate that I sit in the seat across from him, but that seat had its back to the door and the rest of the shop, which is something that makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Normally, I would tell the person who took my preferred seat to move and swap to the other, but today I simply accepted the excuse to slip in beside him.
We weren't talking much. He mentioned how tired he was, and how he should have left town already. I made passing conversation explaining my aversion to the opposite seat. Our drinks arrived and we lifted them to our lips in unison. Conversation was limited to the occasional bemused facial expression or snarky comment regarding the conversation at the table across from us. After a moment we fell silent again and simply sat side by side, drinking our dark, caffeinated beverages. The intro music for some mellow indie rock song began to play over the shop's speakers. As he sat his cup down he commented,
"You know, sometimes there are these moments where we could just be two normal people." He stares into his cup for a second before continuing. "This is one of those moments."
"Yeah." I smiled into my hot chocolate and didn't say anything more. I knew exactly what he meant. Meanwhile, the vocalist in the song began to sing about the conflicts of life while the people at the table across from us continued talking about sexuality and drama as if they had any idea what it meant.