Lisa worked in the office.
I had never been with a married woman before but, when I saw her looking at me I knew she didn't want to be pals.
Before you get to thinking, I see you all the time, Rudy, you're a tiny, pot-bellied old man.
I am. But I wasn't always.
Without knowing so much as her name that day in the offices of the Stars and Stripes, I knew something was going to happen.
There was a welcome party a night or two later. Lisa brought me a shot of something and sat next to me.
Later that night we ended up making love on the hood of her car on an abandoned WWII Luftwaffe airstrip.
She crawled off the hood, pulled her skirt down and lit two cigarettes. She handed me one, you can't tell anyone about us. My husband wouldn't like it very much.
She giggled at the look on my face and touched the side of my face. C'mon, I gotta get home to tuck in my kid.
We were having a party of sorts in the barracks. A handful of the airmen and soldiers getting ready to head in country having a last night of beers and bullshit.
It was my ex calling from America. We broke up months ago after she'd been through at least seven guys that I was made aware of.
You really didn't have to tell me.
I wanted to be honest.
Honesty is vastly overrated. Next time just tell the guy 'it's not you, it's me' and let him get on with his life.Hello?
Hi. How is everything?
What do you want?
Can't I just call to say hi?
Lisa came out into the hallway. The phone was located in a corner alongside a cheap armchair. With raised eyebrow I pointed to the phone and mouthed EX. She nodded and smiled. And dropped to her knees.
You never... mmm... call just to say hi. What do you want?
Are you okay?
Well, I just wanted to tell you something myself before you heard rumors.
My eyes popped open and I pulled Lisa off of me.
I didn't mean to laugh but, laugh I did, do you know who the dad is?
Are you sure?
I'm pretty sure I know who the dad is!
'Pretty sure' I laughed.
Lisa grabbed the phone from my hand and hung it up.
We laid there in our hotel in Budapest. Or maybe it was Frankfurt or, Salzburg. Cities blur together after twenty plus years.
You never ask me about my husband.
It's not that interesting to me.
You're a terrible liar, she said as she ran her fingernail around my areola. Well, this would have happened even if I was happy at home.
So you're not happy?
My son makes me happy. My husband makes me question my sanity. She rolled over and stared at the ceiling. I was too young to know how to reach her when she disappeared into her own head like this.
He's not a bad guy, she said, he just married the wrong woman.
I don't know what that means, I said.
It means he needs someone who is safe and submissive and willing to mother him.
Boys and their mothers, I quipped.
She looked at me and laughed at me, not at my one liner.
Shut up and fuck me, she said less as a request and more a command as she crawled on top of me.
I told you this would have happened even if I was happy at home.
Yes. I wanted you so, I was going to have you.
What if I'd said 'no'.
She laughed. You're so cute, Rudy.
I stared at her. I love you, I said.
No, you love the idea of me. I'm ten years older than you, married, I have a child. You are not equipped to love me, she said matter of factly.
The hurt on my face must have registered something in her mind because she took my face into her hands and brought me closer. Touching foreheads, eyes closed she said, you won't forget me, right?
How could I? Are you going to tell him?
About us? She aimed her laugh right at me again. Of course not! That would be particularly cruel, wouldn't it?
Hi honey, I fucked a guy off and on the last six months. No, I don't want a divorce and there isn't really much you can do to make me love you more and, you can't possibly love me better. I just wanted you to know because, you know, the truth or, whatever!No Rudy, I am not going to tell him. And you are not going to tell your girlfriend. You are going to tuck me away and keep me deep inside of you. From time to time, if I am lucky, you'll take me out and remember our time and at least smile.
The tears were welling in both of our eyes. She had to get back to work and I had to finish packing.
I didn't see her the day I got on the plane home. I don't imagine she was sitting off in the distance watching me say my goodbyes. I imagine she was sitting at the end of an abandoned runway, leaning on the hood of her car, smoking a cigarette. Not crying. Not sad. Not regretting.
Smiling just before tucking me away deep inside of her.