NOTE: THIS IS A DIFFICULT PIECE.
IT CONTAINS BRUTAL CONDUCT AND BAD STUFF.
“It’s an Eric Wilson to see you Ms. Ilsen.”
I had no appointments and didn’t recognize the name so I asked the receptionist to see what it was about.
“He says it’s personal.”
“I’ll be right there.”
I only knew one person named Wilson. Sarah. I hadn’t seen or heard from her in two and a half years.
It took a moment for me to get up as thoughts of Sarah invaded me.
She was the first person I loved, really loved. I thought of her often, though not as often as I used to. It probably wasn’t her though. Why would someone other than she be contacting me? She ghosted me after I said some horrible things to her and would never let me apologize. So I let her have her space, figuring she’d get back in touch when she was ready. Then days turned into weeks turned into months and were now years. I missed her every day.
He, Eric Wilson, was waiting. It probably wasn’t about her anyway.
He was young. A bit disheveled, but handsome. About Sarah’s age when I knew her. As I approached with my hand out, he stood and lightly shook it. His palm was a bit sweaty. He was almost apologetic.
“I don’t know if you’re the person I’m looking for. But Ilsen is a rare name so you might be.”
He was nervous. I directed him to sit on the couch in the reception area.
“May I get you anything?”
“I’m good, thanks. Well, the thing is, did you know a Sarah Wilson?”
“Well, I used to know a Sarah Wilson. We were friends a while back. I’ve not heard or seen her since. Is she OK?”
“Can we go somewhere more private?”
I met Sarah at a seminar downtown about three years ago. It was September 17, 2016. Which I recall because it was the date when I met Sarah Wilson. We sat next to each other at a Continuing Legal Education course on fiduciary duty. We both needed credits to renew our attorney registrations. She was a partner in a small immigration-law firm. I’m a litigation partner at a big firm.
Our offices were nearby and we often met for lunch. And it blossomed. I hadn’t been with another woman since college, a lifetime before. Shortly after that I began to miss Sarah when I wasn’t with her. We started taking chances. At first it was stolen kisses in the ladies’ room of obscure restaurants near our offices until in our desperation we consummated our love, for that what we knew it was, in a stall in the ladies’ at Lord & Taylor’s on Fifth Avenue, using our fingers. It wasn’t enough but it was all we could afford.
“It’s Sarah Wilson. We’re working on a case together.” That’s what I told my husband when he asked to whom I was speaking one night at about 10:45. She and I worked out a code of the “antitrust case” we were defending. She was particularly fond of discussing upcoming mergers and acquisitions with me.
Sarah was single and was upfront from our second or third meeting that she was gay. And single. And interested. I was married. To a fellow lawyer who was also a partner in another big firm. We had an apartment on the Upper East Side. We had never—I had never—taken the step to having children.
My husband was working on a case in Chicago the year I met Sarah. As it neared trial, he started flying out on Monday morning and returning on Thursday nights. We spoke each night at about eight his time, nine in New York.
Had I time to think about it, I would have understood that the marriage was a failure. Two busy professionals who met as overworked associates who stole what time they could for what I then thought was passion and because most of the people we knew at that age were falling into marriages we fell into ours. It wasn’t bad, and once each of us made partners at our respective places we no longer had financial concerns. But it wasn’t good.
Sarah was good. A single Lord & Taylor’s bathroom liaison with her matched all of the regular sex with my husband combined, not accounting for the many fake orgasms he and I were both happy to get out of the way so we could turn to other, better things.
The curse of living in a doorman building is the doormen. It meant that Sarah could never spend the night while my husband was in Chicago. Always in by eight, out by eleven. But we maximized our use of the time. She always carried her briefcase.
Sarah was, of course, far more experienced. I’d only had some passing flings with women in college and two or three in law school. But they were flings, and passed. Soon she and I spent most of our allotted three-hours in bed. I so enjoyed being in bed with her.
Which is where it happened. My husband was back, his Chicago case having settled. So our routine was back. All those opportunities to be with her gone. I’d look at my watch most nights, marking when it was eight and marking when it was eleven and hating that I could not spend those allotted three-hours with Sarah.
So it was worse when I got in at about 8:15 one night. I went to get undressed. As I walked into the bedroom I saw Sarah. She was under my husband and he was in her. There was no mistaking it. Pumping into her.
“This is good isn’t it?” It was my husband. I didn’t have the chance to get the answer because I shouted at Sarah: “You whore. How could you do this? I never want to see you again.” That might not be exactly what I said, but it’s close enough. I know I called her a “whore.” I may have called her a “bitch” and worse. And I fled. Walking the streets for over an hour when exhaustion carried me home.
When I got into the apartment my husband was sitting in the living room.
“She’s gone. I’m done with her.”
“What did you do?”
He just sat there. With his smirk and his scotch.
“TELL ME. WHAT DID YOU DO?”
“You want to know?”
“I need to know.”
“You thought you were so clever. Screwing her. Not thinking I’d find out. But I found out. I heard one of the doormen say something about you and her in the lobby. If you didn’t lock your phone I probably could have gotten what I needed from it. So I called your secretary. Said I needed to reach you but you were probably with a lawyer you were working on a case with, a woman lawyer.
“She said it must be Sarah Wilson and while I didn’t recognize the name I recognized the firm. You shouldn’t have let your secretary know about her.
“So I saw her picture on the firm’s site. It’s kind of cloak-and-dagger but I spent a few afternoons outside her office at lunch time and waited for your Sarah.”
What my husband was saying washed over me like a flood. He took a sip from his scotch.
“On the third day, today, she came out. She was alone, and I walked up to her. “Sarah Wilson?” I introduced myself. She looked like I’d just killed Bambi’s mom. So I told her. ‘Here’s the deal. I can do two things to you right now. I can let everyone know you’re a dyke.’ She laughed at that, although she was still terrified. ‘I’m out,’ she said. ‘Everyone knows and nobody cares.’
“So I waited a beat. ‘Tina’s not out and if her firm finds out that she cheated on me, who gives them a fair amount of business, she’ll be out the door before sundown.’
“That wiped the smirk off of your Sarah’s pretty face. So I moved in. ‘Here’s the deal. Tina doesn’t do it for me. She’d been faking for years.’ You didn’t think I noticed did you? Sometimes you make feel like I’m getting a pity fuck with you. So maybe this Sarah can do for me what you can’t. And I didn’t care if she faked it.
“It was cute. She cared about you and your wonderful reputation. So tonight was her audition. To see whether I’d keep her.
“She has a real sweet pussy. But I’m sure you already know that. You skank.” Another sip.
“It felt very good to put myself in her. But I guess you don’t know what that’s like.
“It’s a shame you came in when you did. I was enjoying myself. She got off the bed after you left and threw her clothes on. She has a nice ass, I’ll grant you that. I enjoyed watching it when she ran out. Last I heard of her was when the door slammed. I assume she got her clothes on.
“Don’t worry about me though. I took care of that.” And he reached for his crotch and laughed. “You can clean me up if you’d like.”
The bastard raped the woman I loved. On the bed where I loved her and now he was drunk and laughing about it. I had to find her. I had to explain.
But I never found her. I never explained. I called and called but she never picked up. She never retuned my messages. Voicemails or texts. I went to her apartment but they said she wasn’t there. Her firm said she never came back. I knew where she was from and I tried and tried for weeks, but I could find no trace.
* * *
I moved out that night. I couldn’t do anything about what he’d done without speaking to her first. And I couldn’t find her. I think she must have thought she cheated on me or that I’d never want to be with her after what he did to her. Or that I was afraid to be exposed to everyone as a cheating dyke. I don’t know why she left and why see didn’t contact me again.
Our marriage was over, and it was official within a year. He’s now with an associate at the firm and I hear whisperings of how much better she is than me.
I’m alone, working longer-hours than I should.
Eric Wilson sat across from me at my desk.
“We just found out about you.”
Huh? Why didn’t she tell them about me if I was important to her.
“Her phone had no power and my daughter decided to see what was on it a few weeks ago. Sarah was her godmother.”
Was? It was hitting me.
“Once she got it powered up it took a while to break into it. Then we saw your texts and your messages. We’re pretty sure this is for you.
He reached into his backpack and pulled out a manila folder. Inside was a single piece of paper. Her careful handwriting. He handed it to me.
“It was next to her body.”
I never deserved you. Please forgive me.