I was naked and begging to be wanted. I was trying to seduce him but the look on his face only showed disdain for me. Even though we were just newlyweds, it had been months and I was fed up with his excuses. I had run out of reasoning - his and my own. I wanted to understand why I had entered a marriage that so quickly turned cold.
Twenty minutes earlier, sitting alone in our dark dining room, as I had done so often, I slugged back two glasses of wine. I needed the alcohol for courage, but also to dull the disappointment that I knew was inevitable. I was so god damn disappointed all the time that I had forgotten what satisfaction felt like. But most of all, I was angry: at him, but really at myself for letting him do this to me, to us. Drinking was a great way to get in touch with that anger - and I was angry a lot during that time.
With solid intentions, I trotted up the stairs to the bedroom where I knew he would be lying in bed reading. I was a 10-pound thinner version of myself now, comfortable and confident in my own skin, but still feeling a sort of doomed anticipation that this attempt would end as so many others had. It confused me, but gave me a goal - a puzzle to solve - and a resilient determination to not give up. My attempts to persuade and seduce occurred more often and aggressively, but were all deflated in some way or another. It was as if he was challenging me and I was sure that my determination would outlast his many acts of withholding. He was going to concede, so I thought, to having sex eventually.
But let me first clarify: Sex isn't just sex. It is a vast and complicated landscape of need and emotion, pleasure and trust - many things of the physical and subconscious realms that we so seldom even consider. (And let us not forget that it's good-ol' fashioned fun.) Sex is Love and connection. It is physical desire, but it is also channeled through the desire for affection, attention, nurturing, and comfort. These are the subtleties, the bi-products, of Love. Sex is, or better yet, should be the affirmation that Love is present. At its best, it can be a beautiful soul-baring experience. At very least, we should hope, it is proof that base physical desire is reciprocal. Hey, I can imagine worse things. But when sex is continuously denied by someone you love, the connection that it creates can't exist. Within the context of sex, it is through the connecting, the response one receives, the acceptance and return of ones desires and affection that one feels Love. Well, that's my opinion of it, anyway.
For him, it was a nuisance, an uninvited duty at the end of his day - like taking out the trash. My desire for him complicated his life and muddied his own desires, whatever they were. There was no connection lacking for him by way of having or not having it. Sex was, after all, not about connecting for him, but an inconvenient obligation that he thought he could wriggle himself out of once we were married. And wriggle he did, with one excuse or another. You know the typical ones claiming headaches, fatigue, or an artificially aggrandized dissatisfaction with the state of the world. With every excuse he made and for every one of my failed attempts, a block was mortared into the growing wall between us. Why do you need this? Why are you keeping track?, he would ask me. Why aren't you?, I would say. The tethered bond I had once felt to this person waned with each day we didn't communicate about the enormous elephant in the room.
He didn't bother to look up as I pushed the door open and walked into the bedroom and so he didn't see that I wasn't wearing anything. To him, it didn't really matter what I was wearing or not since what was on offer had little appeal anyway. Despite knowing that, I slunk, provocatively, from the foot of the bed over to where he was laying. I noticed his grasp on the book became stronger, as if to avoid my advances by pretending to read. I grabbed hold of it in an effort to throw it aside but he held on tighter so that it became a barrier between us. A look of frustration and annoyance came over his face but what I noticed most was that he looked afraid of me. I thought, at first, it was fear of what I wanted to do with him. I now know, it was fear of what I would only months later find out.
I was once again denied, not surprisingly, and I couldn't bear it any longer. Don't you know it's been four months since the last time? Have you fallen out of love with me? Are you having an affair? Because I was so exhausted by my own sickening curiosities, I asked all of these questions and more. Deep into that night, a pregnant pause filled the room, flooded with his inability to speak the truths that needed to be said. Many hours brimmed with our private internal monologues. My stomach ached with wanting the truth but I was overwhelmed with an apprehension to know it.
Finally, breaking the silence, his mouth opened to speak what would become the most unforgivable lie ever told.
You used to be thinner and I'm not attracted to you anymore.