It Wasn't The Sex
We got to know each other because we shared the same bus to work. She worked at a law firm at the time just a few blocks from my office. I remember the first time I saw her, it was a winter evening that she got on the bus. Her woolen gray cap was pulled down over her ears and amber hair fell out the back. Her nose and cheeks were blushed from the Erie winds. She had a few freckles dancing about her fair skin. Her eyes were deep and warm, lips spread just so.
For whatever the circumstances we sat with each other one day and started to become friends. She saw I was reading Hemingway (A Moveable Feast) and commented on the book. I told her it was my favorite Hemingway book because it was in some cases the life I wanted to live. She, being an English major in her undergrad work, had plenty to add.
Over the course of the weeks we would skip the bus all together and carpool into downtown just to have more time alone together. It was at that point that I realized that my feelings for her had grown to be more than just friendly. I realized that she "got" me in a way that my wife didn't. She understood the emotional and romantic side of me and how that colored how I saw all of life. During those car rides and lunch hours we began to share more and more intimately about ourselves. Hurts, pains, failures, successes. For awhile I think we both knew what was going on but had not the courage to name it.
Eventually she told me that she was starting to have inappropriate feelings for me and that she struggled with how fair that was to my wife and her fiance. We agreed to spend less time together, but that didn't last long.
We never slept together. We made out once, and passionately so. You could sense that if we had made love it would have made the world stood still. Held hands another time. But the foundation of our affair wasn't physical at all. It was an intellectual and emotional connection before anything else. Quite frankly I could get my physical fix from just about anyone, but it wouldn't constitute a legitimate connection with that person (in my definition of the word). I have had empty sex before and would not want that ever again. So the affair for me was so much more.
I don't see her anymore. Life just happened. She left the law field and went back to school. We moved to opposite cities in our region. We still talk from time to time, catching up on things. And some of my most meaningful and honest exchanges are still with her. But I certainly had an affair and I will remember it always.