Amber stared at the ceiling watching the rain hit the skylights. The mimicked the feeling she couldn’t display and felt so deeply in the pit of her heart chakra. She would have to leave soon despite the fatigue. Rolling over in the condominium she rented, she thought over the last week of the conference. That awakened a soft smile.
At the end of the year, she would go away for a week-long conference for the last six years. All week she met new people in her field of work and got a chance to see friends she made from previous years. This was the only time she got to see them, and cherishing each moment was an understatement. Tomorrow was December 30th, and she needed to put her best face on.
She kicked the covers off and sat up straight in the bed. Her mind went to the question everybody always asked around this time, “What is your New Year’s resolution?” At the time, nothing came to mind. She had the job she loved. She had the family any woman would dream of. She didn’t want to make any changes to her full figure. She worked out five times a week. Always ate veggies with every meal and fruit on the daily. She carried her size 18 with pride.
She didn’t conform to society’s standards or taboos, except for one thing. She took in a full deep breath. She breathed in her current reality. Holding her breath, she thought of what would complete her. She released that breath slowly and let go of the fear of the next step.
After a deep meditation, Amber was able to calm her thoughts. The lighting shook the building as if in answer to her request of the Universe. The room was still too stuffy to put the covers back on. Her naked body was on full display for the elements. Serene thoughts clouded her mind, and dreams of a promising future took over.
He picked her up from the airport. His hand covered hers the entire ride home. Half of the time, her gaze was fixated on the scene outside. The other half, she listened to him talk about his week being at home alone. He beamed about getting work done but missing her with every fiber in his being. She missed him the same. Loved him beyond the stars in the sky.
He was perfection, and she couldn’t ask for more in a mate. Somewhere along their journey, she realized that she was not whole, and he was not the one to help her get that. Three years into their relationship, her best friend invited her to a play party. Apprehensive, she ran the idea past her then-boyfriend, current fiancé.
She sat at their kitchen island, watching him making them asiago bagels with cream cheese.
“Barron, I saw this documentary on play parties. I was…”
“Play parties?” His left eyebrow was already raised, and his lip turned up at the corner. “A bunch of people having sex with a bunch of people they don’t know. That is insane. I don’t know how people can do that.”
He passed her the toasted bagel with cream cheese. He quickly fried an egg and laid it on top with avocado. She took a bite while she took in what he said. She almost gave in, but his perspective was wrong.
“It isn’t just random people having sex, Barron. There are many avenues in the sex industry. There are many kinds of sex workers. It isn’t this blanket black or white community.”
He sat down across from her and ate on his bagel. “You sound like you researched it or something.”
“I watched a documentary. It isn’t what I imagined.”
“Well, Amber. You know we grew up in the church, and that sort of thing is unacceptable. Sex is for our bedroom only.”
“If that were the case, we would be married having sex only, B.”
Finishing her bagel, he replied, “You know there are levels to these things, Am. You act like you are interested. You have never mentioned that sort of thing before. I know me; I just can’t. And I wouldn’t expect you to go into that world either.”
And with that, their conversation was over. She had not lied about watching a documentary. Her bestie had told her to give it a chance, and she didn’t want to go into the environment blind. Barron came around the island and kissed her forehead before heading out to work. He was a prominent lawyer that the community loved. They knew her because of him. She had a reputation to keep.
That weekend, she wore a new wig and a leather trench coat. Entering the play party with her bestie, they took that black fabric from her body.
She wore a very strappy leather ensemble that barely covered her most intimate parts. Watching that documentary whispered to a part of her that she thought she locked away. A darkness that grinned and shivered in answer. She had to stop watching several times, afraid of what was happening to her body.
She thought she should see what it was about, at the least. And she wouldn’t be mild about it. Opening up to Barron was a bust. She didn’t like to lie or keep things from him, but the energy inside of her said she needed to do this. Her religious background told her that the energy was wrong. But, what if; it wasn’t.
A fairytale. That is what that night was. It answered all the questions she had inside. She found herself that wondrous night. She spent the night with her best friend; they talked about everything they saw.
“I have to be a part of that world.”
They walked through the door; Barron asked Amber for details of the convention. She gave him the bare minimum. She had not wanted to lie more than she already had. Six years of lies weighed heavily on her. He just wouldn’t understand. And she did not want to lose him.
“We have everything in order for the New Year’s Eve party. I am excited we are hosting this year,” he said after he threw his keys on the entryway desk.
She walked up behind him and laid her head on his back. Her honey-tinted hands slid around his abs and held him tight. She inhaled his musky almond scent. He let out an audible sound of pleasure as her hands continued to roam over him. Her hug got tighter, and the back of his shirt became wet.
His brows furrowed, and he turned around in her arms. She buried her face in his chest now. “Amber?”
His index finger tried to push up her chin, but she shook her head, denying his request.
“I missed you, is all.”
It wasn’t long before he scooped her up in his arms. She loved him because he loved her. But would he still if he knew? The next few hours had them wrapped in each other. Sheets wrinkled, melodic headboard and wall, smells of ecstasy mixing. Tangled in the webs of love.
He laid beside her, snoring softly. She kissed his lips tenderly and slid out of their bed. She grabbed her cranberry robed and allowed her feet to carry her to the kitchen. She made herself a Bailey’s peppermint hot chocolate. Her best friend had texted her, she called her back.
“Welcome back, Am! How was it?”
She sat at the island. “Spectacular. I wish you could have made it this year.”
“Me too. Not being able to travel in my last trimester is very annoying. But I can’t wait to see you for New Year’s Eve. You got a New Year’s resolution?”
She sighed, “I want to live my life as one person.”
“That’s the first time I have ever heard that before. What does that even mean?”
“You are the only one that knows that I am living this double life. I can’t keep doing this. I want to be able to be one person. Not have to lie to anyone. Especially Barron.”
“I know, love.”
“I am breaking. This is too much. I can’t lose myself again. I also can’t lose B.”
“Well, what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to have to tell him.”