Never, ever park your car in front of your lover’s house. Park at least a block away. Park somewhere that cannot be seen on any route your spouse would take if he were to swing by and check on you. This is what my friend, D, tells me. She knows. She’s done it.
I don’t park in front of H’s. I park around the corner and do the same walk every time. Turn right, hop over the water pooling in the cracks in the old cobblestone road, three steps, security door unlocked for me, radiator on right, fixture with exposed bulbs overhead and then the cracked-open apartment door. I still knock every time. I’m conscious of H’s privacy and I want him to know I understand that it’s a big deal I’m here.
H moved alone to this old, quirky house in the city. He’s got the first floor to himself. The apartment has no overhead lighting and a bathroom with odd angles and a window that serves dual purpose as a mirror. So when I’m looking at myself in the lower pane, the light coming through the pane above beams on the gray pieces sprouting from the part in my hair.
I walk around in my underwear at H’s or wear nothing at all. He doesn’t. I respect it. Full exposure takes a lot out of you. For me, hiding things from him is exhausting. I’m honest for the most part, but when we’re on our backs and he asks, “B, what are you thinking about?” I don’t always tell him the truth. It’s not because I don’t want to tell him, it’s just that the words don’t exist to explain it well. Instead I say things like “oh nothing. Nothing at all really.”, “Just, you know, thinking about…stuff” or even “I’m staring at the cobweb that’s been in the corner of your window for a month.” The cobweb I don’t mind. I even kind of like it because it’s always there. I can count on it. I know when I’m lying on his bed and look up to the left, it will be exactly where it was.
H knows I have this thing about leaving. He’s taken to asking me when I plan to go and then setting an alarm for a half an hour before to give me time. I get dressed, freshen up my make up, pull my hair into a ponytail, sling my bag over my shoulder and look at him. “Oh c’mon B, it’s not like we’re never going to see each other again.”
I close the apartment door behind me. I do the same walk every time. Fixture with exposed bulbs overhead, radiator on the left, security door shuts behind me, three steps, hop over the water pooling in the cracks in the old cobblestone road and turn left. I listen to my friend D. I park around the corner from my lover’s house. I do it so my husband won’t see my car if he drives by. I also know that if I park around the corner, I won’t be able to look back.