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adult friend finders URB Palmas Reales,mingle dating Rixey,,muslim dating Macksville,adult friend finders Vivian,dating 60+ Murfreesboro, Phone in hand, you walk through the peak-hour pedestrian throng, reading the confession you spent the morning typing and retyping. You’ve stopped yourself sending it three times so far–once at the last second for using the wrong ‘past’, and the other two times because you’re petrified of the repercussions. Dams breaking, avalanches, an atomic bomb whistling as it plummets to earth—these are the scenes playing before your addled brain.You have no appetite but have ingested three strong coffees. The effect is one of agitation built on a gelatinous foundation of crippling anxiety. You know you need to eat something but the shame spiral tells you that you don’t deserve nourishment after what you've done. But you’re feeling faint. You rationalise that to sit down would not be a reward, it would be a necessary concession to complete the task at hand: send your full confession to your closest friends, to get out in front of what’s coming.You wish you could have told them a year ago, at the start.But, no. That type of behaviour—at our age?—scandalous. Verboten. And then you wouldn't be feeling so…alive. ‘An overused trope,’ your editor would have said if you'd submitted it as a story idea to the magazine. You would have groaned and thrown the book aside if you'd read it in a novel.Cliché or not, you loved the new sense of purpose in your workouts and the results that both loosened and tightened your clothes in all the right places. Your friends had all noticed, they just hadn't known the true motivation behind your improved work ethic.'Accidentally' running into them at the gym, making calculations of their routine then scheduled your visits accordingly. You’d changed from twice a week to four without being questioned but had been prepared to counter the accusations that never came.You craved the jolt of adrenaline that came with seeing your crush—a crush! How deliciously juvenile—enter the room and dreamed slippery, pornographic fantasies of consummating your forbidden lust in the showers. You felt like a teenager again, not much older than your oldest kid is now.Your kids.A wave of shame-induced nausea threatens to expel the caffeinated bile onto the pavement and you take a seat at the café.You try to swallow but your mouth is dry and putrid as if the guilt has manifested itself as halitosis. “Can I get you something?” a young woman says, swiping her iPad to unlock it. “Coffee to start?”“No, thank you,” you say. “I’ll have a heart attack if I have another coffee. Water and some toast, please.”“Jam? Peanut butter?” she asks.In your state of self-loathing, anything buttery or sweet sounds like a reward. You ask for plain toast, no butter. “Gluten-free, please,” you add as a final self-flagellation.“Won’t be long,” the waitress says, pouring a glass of water next to your phone—unlocked—your essay on full view. You know she must have seen a few of the pertinent words. ‘Ashamed’, ‘pathetic’, ‘disappointment’ tend to stand out from a body of text, no matter how cursory the glance.She leans across the table to wipe up a small puddle and her black t-shirt droops to reveal a bony, decorated decolletage. She has an intricate tattoo emblazoned across the full width of her pale chest. Recently done, its lines are razor-sharp with only a hint of redness. You tilt your head and see now that it’s not the dragon you thought it was at first glance but a phoenix. She looks up and you avert your gaze. She smiles that it’s okay to look, peeks over her shoulder to make sure her boss isn’t watching and pulls down her shirt for your benefit.“That’s amazing,” you say, not because you like the tattoo, or even out of appreciation for the admittedly skilled artist, but because you are amazed that anyone could permanently deface their skin on such a vast scale. “Thanks,” she says, correcting her top with a proud grin.You notice a tiny line of script across her collarbone, that, before she’d practically flashed you, you’d thought was a thread from her bra strap. “What does that say?”“Tohle by také mělo projít,” she says.“That’s beautiful,” you say though you feel you may have been spat on.“It’s Czech for ‘this too shall pass’.”The phoenix and the quote tell you this kid is one of the multitudes who mark the end of a challenging life chapter with tattoos of quotes or symbolic icons. She’s done both. Betraying your belief that you are a progressive forty-something, you wonder how it’s going to affect her job prospects and how it will look when she’s a grandmother.“I take it you’ve been through something,” you say.“Just the usual,” she says, straightening the salt and pepper grinders. Then, with a forced smile, “All men are bastards.”She walks to another table and the misery of your predicament resurfaces. You read your drafted message again, scrolling down and down, endlessly down through the outpouring of shame until you reach the final statement: ‘I don’t expect your forgiveness or your sympathy. I’m just sorry.’ You delete that you’re sorry. It feels hollow, because—if you’re being honest with yourself—you’re not sorry. Not in the truest sense of the word. You’re reminded of the times you made your kids apologise for something even though they were too young to conceive of what sorrow or regret was. ‘You’re just sorry you got caught,’ you would have said countless times. Of course they were. They were having the time of their life drawing on the walls or ripping up plants until you scolded them. You feel the same now. I’m sorry I got caught.Sorry that you’ve almost certainly ruined your marriage? You didn’t ruin it in the same way a derelict building isn't ruined by a single incident. The ruination of your marriage had taken years of neglect to achieve. Neither of you are happy but neither of you are bad people. You care for each other but you're not in love. Based on how functional your kids are, you’re great parents. You both hold down demanding jobs and make time for your family. You pay your bills on time and regularly sevice your car. You go to church for the main ones—Easter, Christmas, the kids’ baptisms, that vigil for the missing girl last year. You wouldn't see your kids run away for attention. If you were to die in a suspicious house fire, neighbours would say that you were upstanding members of society and had no enemies. You’re on the PTA for God’s sake. You're good people. And good people deserve happiness. Marriage? Damned archaic ritual. It’s unnatural.You scroll back up the message and delete the part about feeling like such a shitty person. What you want to say is, ‘Don’t I deserve happiness? Life’s too short to pretend to feel something when the real thing is right here. And it is glorious.’ But you don't.You note that you haven’t mentioned anything about ending it, which is what they will assume your course of action would be. But you haven’t written that because you have no intention of ending it. In fact, now that people know, you’re feeling a sense of relief. No more slinking around in the shadows, switching your phone to silent, face down, making up elaborate excuses as to why you’ll be an hour late. You might even come to this very café and have a coffee outside, in the open, like consenting adults.As you convince yourself of the happiness you deserve, your appetite returns. This is a good sign and you look toward the kitchen to see if your plain, gluten-free toast is being plated up or if it’s too late to change the order to something more palatable. Speaking of signs, on the door you notice a large, red circle with COVID-19 printed on it. Beneath it is written in bold, black type: Due to the current risk of COVID-19, we are exercising an abundance of caution.You look around and see the tables have been spread out, all waiters are wearing gloves, and the kitchen staff are all in masks. There are bottles of sanitiser everywhere. The caution is indeed abundant.Your waitress is doing the rounds, ensuring tables are straight, clean, stocked with condiments, and you raise your hand to attract her attention. She smiles and strides to your table.“What can I get you?” she says.“If it’s not too late, I was hoping I could change my order.”She pulls out the tablet and swipes, taps a few times, and says that would be fine. “What can I get you?”“Whatever the chef recommends.”“Any allergies?”“Nope.”“Not gluten-free?”“I was feeling guilty. I was, you know, punishing myself.”“For being unhealthy?” she says with an empathetic smirk.“Making unhealthy choices,” you say, hoping the girl picks up on your doublespeak, to ask what unhealthy choices you’ve made. You want to tell her everything because somehow you know that she’s exactly the kind of person who would join your team, high five you, and say, “Fuck yes, you deserve this”.But she just taps away on her tablet and says she’ll see what the chef can do and turns to leave.“What happened?” you ask a little too loudly.The waitress turns and lifts her eyebrows. “Sorry?”“What will pass?” you say, tracing a finger along your collarbone.Your words freeze her in time and space, an incantation that renders her immobile, her eyes turn to glass. Her lip quivers. Oh God, what have you done?You know from experience not to ask if she’s alright. That’s the universal command to unleash the waterworks. Instead, you push back the empty seat and encourage her to sit.“Sorry,” you say, meaning it. “It’s none of my business, I shouldn’t have pried.”She nods, sits, then says, “We were engaged,” and rubs her ringless finger; a phantom limb. She blinks and carefully scoops tears from the base of her eyes, a practised action that avoids spoiling her mascara for now.“Sorry,” you say again, vowing to find another word to express consolation for something that’s not your fault. “That … sucks,” you add. Do kids say ‘sucks’ anymore?She cry-laughs and agrees with a hearty nod. “Yep!”“You don’t have to tell me,” you say, realising she’s now almost certainly not going to join Team Justifiable Infidelity.“I’ll get over it,” she says. “It’s Dash I’m worried about.”“Oh,” you groan. “You’ve got a dog together,” you say, empathising with the agony of losing a beloved pet in a breakup. “Dash is our son.”Fuck these kids and their trendy names. “I love that name,” you say with a smile. “I-I didn’t pick you as a mother. You’re so young is what I mean.”“Twenty-two.”“A baby,” you say. Reaching out to squeeze her arm, then, stopping yourself, you place your guilty hand back in your lap as if it were sullied by where it’s been; as if by touching the girl she’ll see your indiscretions.“It’s not just the cheating, you know?” the girl says, sniffing, now composing herself. “It’s the carelessness. I’m not saying I’m, like, some model or anything but he hooked up with the grottiest skanks. Real filth. I had to get tested for STDs, a round of antibiotics for—sorry, too much information. You know, he even brought one girl back to our house when I wasn’t there. When he was supposed to be looking after Dash, if you can you believe it.”Of course you can believe it. These are horny kids having babies way too young when they should be out experimenting, not parenting. “Unbelievable,” you say.“I found a baggie under a cushion on the couch.”Your immediate thought is a bag with soiled diapers that, while disgusting, doesn’t seem the worst thing in the world under the circumstances. She says, “A baggie of—”“Oh, drugs!” you say. “Oh, God. How…reckless.”“Reckless,” she repeats. “Yeah, that’s what he was. Reckless,” she says again as if to commit this word to memory. Maybe she’ll get it tattooed on her lower back or something. “I mean, that’s how we got Dash.”“A, um, surprise was he?”“Surprise is right.”“Well, I’m sure you’re an incredible mother and that’s all he’s going to need. Don’t need some deadbeat dad in his life with you to take care of him.”“He doesn’t want anything to do with Dash and it breaks my heart,” the waitress says. “He’s just the sweetest little kid and he’s going to grow up to find out his daddy didn’t want him. And that’s the thing, I couldn’t give a shit about him not wanting to be with me, it’s Dash that’s going to feel the rejection as he grows up.”You’re thinking about your kids and the shame spiral begins to gather its momentum once more. “Yeah, it’s always hardest on the kids. So they say.”The waitress shakes her head as if expelling bad energy like a wet dog recently emerged from a muddy creek. “Anyway, I’m not exactly earning my tips here! What’s up with you?” she says brightly. “I didn’t mean to stickybeak, but it was hard to miss the novel you’d written on your phone.”Five minutes ago, you were desperate to tell her about your affair. To make it official by disclosing it to a stranger. Now the wind has been sucked from your sails. You tell her, “I was, ah, look—I was trying to console a friend who’s going through something. She’s been seeing a married man. And she’s been married nearly twenty years. A couple of kids, sixteen and nine. The youngest was a surprise—like Dash. The problem is that the two having this affair seem to really, you know, love each other. It’s not just sex, she says. Not some meaningless escape from the monotony of marriage and parenthood. She thinks this is the real deal. More than anything she’s felt before, maybe.”“What are you telling her she should do?”“Well, I thought I knew,” you say, momentum lost. “But now I’m not so sure. I mean, the kids, they’re at the core of everything, right? They’re my life—her life, I mean—like they would be my first priority if this was happening to me. She loves her kids more than life itself, but doesn’t she deserve happiness outside of being a mother? Is she supposed to remain in a loveless marriage for eternity for the sake of her kids? I think even her kids would want her to be happy, right?”The waitress sighs, checks her phone for the time. “I’m afraid that’s a question that needs more time than my break will allow.”“You’re probably right. It’s not that simple,” you offer, picking up your phone and scrolling down through the hundreds of words. “So, nothing to add from the perspective of the victim?”She ponders a moment before standing and saying, “I’d say, don’t be reckless. Being reckless gets people hurt that aren’t directly involved.”“Collateral damage,” you say.“Exactly.”“Hey, it was nice talking to you. What was your name?” “Mel,” she says. “Melody.”“That’s a beautiful name,” you say and feel like it’s the first honest thing you’ve said all morning. Perhaps all month. It feels good to be honest.Melody heads back inside and you stare at the phone again, the cursor flashing in anticipation of your confession’s closing statement.After a moment’s pause, you delete the entire message.You put the phone down and take in your surroundings, the air seems lighter somehow. The colours, more vibrant. Across the street is a tattoo shop and you consider making an appointment. How reckless. You smile to yourself and type a new message to your friends. “By now you would have heard. Please don’t worry about me. For the first time in years, I am happy. It will all work out in the end. We are exercising an abundance of caution.”,blind date Komatsu Dresser,65+ dating Hillman,dating rich men Laona,first date Country Terrace,dating virgo man Markleton,transgender dating Earl,over 50s dating Upper Tract,asexual dating Indian Rk Bch,dating for singles Turners Falls,interracial dating URB Gardenville,singles to meet Howes,dating 55 and older Pawling,dating over 50 Henderson Grove,dating 40 year old woman Wendelin,date me Paradis,