The letter had a will of its own. I know my wife. My thoughtful, shy, beautiful wife. She is not the sloppy kind. Her deep-seated kindness would never be careless enough to bring a weapon home where it could hurt someone. Home where it could be forgotten in a pocket of her black trench coat and stab me to death.
“Where are the fucking car keys?”
“You have to yell? Check in my coat!”
The letter wanted to be discovered. The content within so dense the envelope practically burst open as soon as I laid eyes on it, ready to release under my inquiring gaze. It wanted to pour out of its papery skin like a gleaming snake and bite its sharp, poisonous teeth into flesh. My flesh. Each word a body shaking convulsively with desire.
Sliding. Cunt. Slam. Cock.
The letters shimmered, simmering on the page.
It was a letter designed to arouse. It stroked the genitals of the reader with cunning fingertips.
Stream. Throat. Filth. Cum.
There was a crude, sexual fire burning inside the letter, offering me glimpses of a universe unknown to me. The world where my innocent wife took another man in her mouth. His voice whispered inside my head, triumphant, greedy, victorious.
I will grab your hair and pull myself out of you, and you will cry as my hard cock leaves your wet cave, struggling in vain for it to fill you again, choke you, make you whole in a way you never thought possible… The sentences didn’t start and they didn’t stop. There was only one long, fluid movement of fucking. In the gutter of my mind, I was mortified to realize the words stung me, woke me up, made the blood rush through my body in a way it hadn’t since I was fourteen and a wet dream startled me awake in the middle of the night. Through the curtain of my half-closed eyelashes, I could see the fabric of my trousers surging. I had to bite the side of my cheeks. Waves of disgust went through me. My wife is having an affair. My wife is doing things with another man we have never done. My wife is a slut and it makes me stand up like a jack in the box. Their salty sweat and dark, moist juices danced on my tongue. I was standing in the room, half-hidden in a dusty corner, watching the spectacle of my milky, soft wife screaming as a man foreign to me slapped her ass with his dick, mumbling perversities.
I vomited straight into my coffee cup.
There is a picture on the cup, a cheaply printed photo of her before we got married. She smiles goofily into the camera, holding up a piece of cardboard with the handwritten message: I love you.
I didn’t read the letter right away. Already the touch of it had betrayed its explosive content. I held it for one moment, running a fingertip along the seal, making a deal. If she wears the coat, I am not meant to read it. If she leaves it here, God wants me to know about it. So I put it back. With one small adjustment. I placed it in the right pocket, although I had found it in the left, God knows why.
“Did you find them?”
Her dark blond hair was swaying as she bent forward to give me a peck on the cheek. I stood frozen to the bright, striped carpet in the hallway, bringing the coffee to my lips without drinking it. She grabbed her leather jacket and picked up her bag from the floor.
“It’s your time to cook tonight.”
I nodded for an answer. “Sure.”
There was a meeting with a client in a too-small room. I had to strain myself to prevent the images from flooding my mind. He pinning her down on sheets already wet with cum. She barking like a bitch in heat, begging for his cock to dig deeper into her pink flesh. Bodies intertwined, torsos glued together.
“Are you quite all right, Mr. Swann?”
“The heat, I am afraid I am ridiculously sensitive to this sort of heat…”
In the public privacy of the third-floor cubicles, I pulled my trousers down and stared at my swollen penis as it bounced out of my underwear. I cupped my hands around the warm skin and admired, for a second, the youthful peach flush of it. From the look of its smoothness, one would think its owner at least twenty years younger. A sense of pride came over me then, as I started moving my hand up and down in well-practiced rhythm. The simple pride of the erect cock. I cried as I came, wondering how I could have surrendered to wanking off to the fantasy of my degenerate wife with another man. The truth was, I had not been erect for a very long time. To have it alive and hard again fascinated me and gave me a sense of importance I hadn’t felt in ages, of power, of adolescent vitality.
When she came home I could not look her in the eyes. I wanted to make her suffer, to revenge myself, to punish her. My head was screaming feverishly, hungry for the opportunity to dominate her, to make her feel like shit, to climb a pedestal and sit on a throne of steaming self-importance while she cried blood at my feet. The letter had given me the privilege to abuse her by making myself a victim of her deceit, of her betrayal. And yet, deeper still, rose the longing of my balls to tingle and ache with the need to fuck.
In bed at night I watched her shoulders rise and fall as she breathed. I reached out to touch the delicate curve of her waist but stopped, letting my hand fall to the empty mattress between us. I did not want to touch her. I hardly kissed her at night anymore. I had not felt the need to make love to her for years. When we did make love, I had to wank first, just to make myself hard enough for penetration. Faced with her silence I realized how poor our erotic life was. A medical bag with a few trusted, but not often used, tools. I tried to get hard looking her, at her butt cheek visible under the T-shirt she slept in. But I found it lacking, sagging. It repulsed me. I closed my eyes and saw her instead straddling him, her vulva like an overripe mango, rubbing the thick carpet of his pubes manically, butt cheeks weighing heavy on his thighs. I felt like sobbing when my prick stood up at once. What kind of a person was I? Turned on by the thought of his wife with another man. The core of me was clearly disgusting. Soiled. Diabolical. And as I felt the truth of this, I was oddly freed.
The lust I felt blinded me, diffused the borders of reality and fantasy. I was hurt, yes. Hurt in a way that made me want to claw my eyes out, and still, - I was infused with a sort of aliveness I had forgotten was part of living. I knew if I confronted her with the letter, accused her, demanded the truth, stood up for my right to destroy her for what she had done to me, this hypnotic sexual tension would die at once. I had been starving, stunted into routine, going through the motions of an actor playing the same piece, night after night. Wake up, go to work, get home, watch TV, go to bed.
“Good night, sweetie, don’t stay up too long.”
“I’ll just watch the late night news.”
And now, through this perverse letter written by a man who evidently regularly spread the thighs of my wife wide to lick her senseless, I had been shocked into the present and my own deep craving for vice.
She disgusted me. And she fascinated me in a way she never had done before. How delicious it felt to observe her little inventions and carefully constructed lies. I soon began to draw a map of their schedule. They met every two weeks, late afternoon Thursdays. She left her Chinese ink drawing class half an hour early to drive the few miles to one of those cheap hotels at the side of the road. I discovered I was quite the talented detective. In fact I became a much more attentive partner. I was suddenly paying closer look to her dress, knowing when she had gotten herself a new skirt or pretty little sandals. I was alert to the way she changed her hair and makeup the days she knew she’d meet up with him and how her face radiated with the heat of the secrets she was carrying. I noticed how she shaved her whole body Wednesday evenings, rubbing her skin with subtle oils. Extravagant rose. Heady ylang ylang. Tempting jasmine. The woman I had shared twenty years with, day out and day in, now gained in depth and mystery as I observed her leading her secret life. I started a notebook to record my findings with forensic detail. Clipping toenails and painting them dark red, Monday, 7:45 PM. New shaving cream, Tuesday 08.07 AM. Scratch-marks inner left thigh. Black lace bra with hole for nipples hidden in pocket of jeans…and so on.
And I wanked. I wanked in our bed, in the car, in public bathrooms. I wanked twice a night and three times a day. My step was bouncy as a teenage boy’s, and the deep wrinkle between my eyebrows seemed ironed out by an invisible hand. I looked and felt ten, if not twenty years younger. Women in my surroundings who had never paid me the least bit of attention now threw bright-eyed smiles in my direction when I passed. Young, attractive girls in the streets tossed their hair, wanting to catch my eye. I was, in one word, jazzed. Colleagues asked if I had changed my diet. Had I gone gluten-free, perhaps? Friends hinted over glasses of beer at my secret mistress. I smiled and played along. Thinking, Right now my wife is sucking dick. My gentle, sweet-natured, mild wife is stuffing herself with a big, hard dick.
The man, Robert, a middle-aged accountant with a passion for bungee-jumping and erotic literature, didn’t interest me the least. My disinterest in him surprised me. Surely, I was supposed to want to kill him? To blame him for soiling my wife, for stealing what was mine? On the contrary. In some lofty part of my mind, I was grateful to him.
I felt powerful as I helped her out with a necklace, playing concerned at the blue mark visible under her right ear. “Darling, you should have that checked up.” My voice was soft with concern. She had the decency to blush and turn away from me. I was the forgiving, all-knowing God of her universe, and she didn’t even know it. Sometimes I played with the idea of making a scene. Of bursting out in tears and asking, voice trembling with fear and accusation, if she had a lover. In detail I fantasized of her reactions and my responses and me cleverly pulling it out of her, every single detail, never letting her know I had found her out ages ago.
I never did confront her. I was enjoying my sense of being untouchable too much. Of being on fire. Of being the one who knew. I felt like the boss of it all.
She was sitting on the bed facing the window, framed by sunlight. Her blond hair was shining golden.
“George, are you having an affair?”
She turned, her profile hazy in the bright light as she looked down on her hand stroking the crumpled sheets.
As she looked up I became aware of the shame in her eyes.
I couldn’t even summon the dignity to finally tell her the truth.
“Just tell me. No lies, okay? No lies.”
I sat down next to her, knees touching, staring at my feet in my worn brown leather slippers. I sighed deeply, my mind blank. I had thought I was going to be the one blaming her, at a time of my own choosing. Her accusation threw me off course and stirred something deep inside. Interpreting my silence as a confession, she bent her head forward and wept quietly. Her hands were locked between her legs, her hair hiding her face.
“That it should’ve come to this,” she sobbed then, drying snot with the back of her hand. “I love you so much, you know.”
I saw myself through her eyes then. The cheating husband. How convenient for her. What a wonderful way to relieve yourself of your own guilt.
“Show me your cunt.”
The innocence in her voice, the tears rising in her eyes, her sloping shoulders…all for the sake of protecting our marriage. It was quite touching really.
“Show me your cunt, you whore.” I spoke slowly, the way they do in movies. I liked the way the words made me feel—cold and sharp as an ice pick. Lethal.
“Why are you doing this?” In an attempt to diffuse the situation, she stood up and walked to the window, embracing herself, feeling indeed very sorry for herself.
“Is that how you speak to her?”Her voice cracked with pain.
For a moment we were just two empty bodies in a sunlit room. A floorboard creaked. Somewhere outside a car door slammed shut. Downstairs the old grandmother clock struck twelve.
“Cut the act, Vivian.” And there you go, I had finally said it.
She turned then, tears drying up, smiling, a childlike indignation in her eyes.
“You beast,” she wheezed like a snake. “You fucking beast.”
“This Robert guy, how’d you meet him? Did you join Fuckbook? Did you blow him under his desk at some conference? Did you write one of those ads? Lonely middle-aged woman longing for big dick?”
She rushed towards me, reaching out, her fingers curled into claws. I barely managed to hold an arm up to protect my face. Her force was unexpected. I fell back on the bed with her on top of me, trying to claw my eyes out. I laughed, high on my own hate. “You crazy little whore. Did you like it? Did you like to have his cock in your ass? Did you like to suck his dick? Did you?” I grabbed her wrists and held them tight, bending over her, staring at her. “Did you? I want you to tell me! I want to hear you say it.”
She pressed her lips tight and stared back defiantly.
“You liked it.”
She wiggled in a pathetic attempt to free her wrists.
“No. I didn’t like it, George. I loved it. I fucking loved it. I begged for him to fuck me.”
Her usually soft gray eyes sparkled with a savagery I had never before seen in her. She truly wanted to kill me. Her murderous gaze forced itself down my throat, down my spine, down into my groin.
There was a noise of skin brushing against fabric that could only have come from inside my trousers. I let out an involuntary moan. Biting my lips I fixated her hands on my cock.
“You love a hard cock, do you?” I heard myself breathing more heavily. I thought she would laugh at my vulgar arousal. Instead she separated her thighs and pressed her thumbs against my erection.
I thrashed like a wild animal inside her, all the while silently expecting my wife to order me to stop. When I was younger I thought women wanted me to treat them gently, that having sex meant spending hours lighting candles and saying romantic things in hushed voices. I had thought the raw, animal sexuality I felt was somehow inherently immoral. Right there and then, burying myself deep inside my wife, I wish I could go back and say to the boy I once was, Women want this too. You want to ravage and women want to be ravaged. I thought I had known my wife all this time, but now it has become clear to me that I was meeting her, the real her, for the first time at this very moment. Behind all her softness and kindness, there lived a beast. Our eyes met then, and all veils were shed.
“I love your wet cunt,” I whispered, feeling her lips draw me deeper inside her.
“And I love your hard cock.”
I came like the devil himself, screaming profanities with a joyful heart. A second later my wife came too, biting my nipples like a mad cat and pulling my face toward her for a kiss.
“Can you forgive me?” she groaned.
“There is nothing to forgive,” I said. And then, holding her face between my hands, her sweet, beautiful face, “There is nothing to forgive.”
I wrapped my arms around her body, amazed at the, oh God, the tender, fragile intimacy between us. It seemed like a miracle, the two of us, naked and soft and sweaty and content. Vivian with her hand cupped around my member, protecting it, assuring herself of it. Me inhaling her scent, sniffing behind her ear, nibbling her earlobe like a playful puppy.
We would never speak about the affair again. But once in a while, out of sheer vice, I would open that letter and wank myself into oblivion.
Caroline Bruckner is a screenwriter and short story writer from Stockholm, Sweden. 2011 her short film The Confession was nominated for an Academy Award (category: Live Action Short, credit: Writer). After years living in both the US and the UK, she now resides in Vienna, Austria.