I originally wrote this as part of a hoax. I was going to post it in an online forum as if it were true and see what happened. As I wrote it though, it became more and more pathetic and I decided that someone might believe it and feel bad for “me”. Here it is, as fiction.
I have this friend John at work who is like a better version of me. We started at the same job, but he was really good at it, so he got promoted. We even look a little bit alike, he’s just better-looking and in better shape. You’d think we would hate each other, that I would be envious and he would be disdainful, but no, he’s such a good guy that we’ve stayed friends for the nine years we have known each other. I was still envious though; I just felt guilty about it.
Wait, it gets worse: he found this incredibly stunning girlfriend I’ll call May. Not just physically attractive, but sweet and brilliantly intelligent. I had a crush on her like you wouldn’t believe. Neither of them knew, of course. When they got married, they apologized for not asking me to be the best man—he had promised his brother the job years before—but you can guess how relieved I was about not having to actually participate in the girl of my dreams making what even I admitted was the right choice.
Wait, it gets worse: At the reception, there was a girl who looked kind of like May, enough that I asked her if she was a relative. No, it turns out Hayden didn’t know anyone at the wedding except her date, who was my friend’s college room-mate and who was drunk and flirting with two of the bridesmaids. I guess she wanted revenge or something, because she took me in the cloak-room and we made out. She told me she was on her period but that I could do her in her butt if I wanted.
After that, Hayden and I started dating. Let me be completely honest, a big part of the attraction on my side was how much she resembled May. She wasn’t nearly as pretty, but she looked like her. In personality they couldn’t have been more different: May as I said is sweet and smart; Hayden was kind of a dumb-bunny and inclined to be mean when she was drunk, which was a lot.
And about a year ago, she got really drunk, took my Alfa without my permission, and drove it full-speed into one of the concrete pillars supporting the SR-60 overpass. Again, let me be honest, I was more upset about the car, which I had inherited my father when he died, than about Hayden, who I had been liking less and less. I was planning to break up with her anyway. Still, I acted terribly cut up; it didn’t seem right that nobody at all would miss her.
May and John were pretty distressed about Hayden’s death, mostly on my behalf. Each of them separately told me something like “I’m there for you, if you need to talk.”
Wait, it gets worse: about two weeks ago, I got really drunk and made the mistake of telling a lot of this… to John! Not about how much I loved and lusted after his wife, but certainly the part about how I only dated Hayden because of how much she reminded me of May, so I think he could guess a lot of the rest.
Then last week, it was the anniversary of the accident. Seeing the actual date on a calendar made me a little morose, more so than I would have expected. At work, a very strange thing happened. I ran into John in the lunch-room and he wanted to talk about Hayden. I wasn’t feeling talkative and John said he understood, and then he took out his house keys and gave them to me. May was out of town, and he had to go to his mother’s house in Clayton until the next d ay. Would I go to his house tonight to walk and feed Darwin, their beagle? I told him I would and he said the fridge was full, and the liquor cabinet, and I could help myself, which I thought was an odd and condescending thing to say, but I let it go.
When I got to his house that evening, there was food in Darwin’s bowl and a note on the kitchen table: “Hon, I’m waiting for you upstairs.”
Something I forgot to tell you: May always called me “Hon”, short for “honey”. It hurt like hell when she did it, because she didn’t really mean it; she loved John, her husband, not me, the shabby imitation. She said it only out of friendship; I knew that but I couldn’t really accept it, and my heart would leap then crash every time the word came out of her sweet mouth. I would have asked her to stop, but I couldn’t think of a way to ask without telling her everything, and I wasn’t ready to do that.
I went up the stairs. There were rose petals scattered on the carpeted steps and then in the darkened hall, like bread crumbs. I followed them to a bedroom, not, I think, the master bedroom, a guest bedroom. The door was closed so I opened it and May’s voice told me to come in and close it behind me.
May hugged me and kissed me in the near-total darkness. I ran my hands down her back. I could tell she was wearing a short negligee that only went down to her midriff and she was wearing stocking to her thighs, and, to judge by her height, high-heels—and nothing else. “I got so wet, Hon, waiting for you,” she whispered in my ear. “Feel.” Between her legs she was as warm and inviting as a loving heart.
And the night was something. I’ve never been with a woman like that before, and never expect to again. Passionate, energetic, her whole body had the scent of roses and hot peppers. In the pitch darkness, I could see her eyes glowing.
As I was leaving she said the strangest thing. “Are you OK? You felt a little… off.” I couldn’t think of an answer to that so I just murmured goodbye.
I spent the weekend thinking about what happened. Clearly, John and May had planned all this together. At first I wondered if I had taken their gift under false pretenses. Did they think I was truly mourning Hayden? Was this their way to try to soothe my grief? Appreciated but unnecessary.
Then I remembered what I had told John. They knew that I never loved Hayden, that if I grieved for anything, it was my own wasted and unrequited love. That’s what John meant about taking anything I needed from the house. I couldn’t have May, I couldn’t have her love, but they were both my friends and for one night, they decided, I could have her body.
I tried to be grateful, but it hurt to realize that I could never be as good a friend to anyone as they were being to me. And as sweet as they were, all that one night did was underline how empty was every other night of my life.
I wrestled with that until Sunday, when John called and asked me to come back to the house, right now. I didn’t ask why, not of him, but I did ask myself that a hundred times on the drive over. I hoped it wasn’t some weird sex thing, like he wanted a threesome or wanted to watch.
I got there and it wasn’t a sex thing. Everything was very icy. John was glaring at me; May had been crying and she wouldn’t look at me. John asked me if I’d come over the other night, and what happened. I was too stunned to talk and just looked from one to the other.
May sobbed to her husband, “I told you, I got back early. I thought he was you.”
“Him?” John asked contemptuously.
I thought I might collapse. A mix-up, mistaken identity; they had never meant for any of it to happen. I managed to stammer out something pointless about her calling me “Hon”.
She finally looked at me, pure boiling hate. “I call everybody ‘Hon’!”
I managed to stumble out of that house and drive to get back to my little apartment, without crashing my car into the pillars under SR-60, and I’ve been huddled in here for a week. My phone has been ringing off and on, people from work but not John and certainly not May. I’ve been writing, eating very little, and throwing up most of that.
What happens now? Am I going to jail? How do I live the rest of my life? Those pillars are starting to look very inviting.