My water breaks all over my favorite pair of expensive shoes. Before I know it, someone is slamming me down in a wheelchair from behind, pushing me hurriedly down the long stark stretches of a hospital corridor.
Someone grabs my ankles and another underneath my arms and lifts me roughly onto a white bed before I can tell them I can do it myself. Multiple hands reach towards me, each ripping off an article of clothing until I am naked and cold, goosebumps rising over my exposed flesh. A doctor appears at my side as the pain in my belly worsens. He tells me its time to push and I try to tell him that I can’t, something is wrong, I feel it. He doesn’t hear me. I shake my head furiously as he continues to tell me to push. The pain worsens. I scream at him, at the nurses, at the other people in the room who won’t come to my aid but just stand around like sick voyeurs, entertained by my pain. He keeps telling me to push and I’m yelling, I feel the sound reverberating in my throat, the skin growing ragged and raw from the effort. He tells me again that I have to push and the pain low in my abdonomen grows so great that I know no matter what is wrong I must push now.
I give birth to a thousand shards of glass, each one tearing me from the inside in its own unique way.
I sit straight up on my side of the bed. Sweat has made wisps of hair stick to my face and neck. I am hot all over and my heart is racing. I bury my head in my hands. This is the way it’s been, a couple nights out of the week, for about a month or so. These crazy dreams, more vivid than oil on canvas. I sigh and look to my right. I didn’t wake him.
I put my back to the wall to soothe my burning skin and draw my knees to my chest. Hopefully, he hasn’t felt my movements because usually when I spend the night and I can’t sleep he wakes up and decides it’s his responsibility to put me to sleep. Which is always good but right now I don’t need sex. What I want, what I need, is beyond sex. And I don’t know how to explain that without seemingly overstepping the boundaries we’ve set. The boundaries that we have to maintain if we have any hope of this not getting even more convoluted and messy.
I start to think about threesomes. The most successful threesomes are those that have boundaries, limits so that the parties involved don’t find themselves unnecessarily jealous, slighted or at worst, abandoned for the other. He and I have talked about having a threesome but it never quite happened. But really, is this not a threesome we’re already engaged in? He, me and she. Or more accurately, he, she and me. Well, really, they and me as I am the trespasser here, walking forbidden ground I’m not welcome on.
I’ve never met her. Don’t know her name or anything about the five senses of her. But I think about her often, sometimes at the most inopportune moments. When he’s inside of me I’ll think to myself, does he look at her like this? Does he touch her like he does me? That little thing he does, does he do it with her? Does she respond like I do? Does he ever feel guilty?
There are a million questions that I’ll never ask. This too is an unspoken boundary of this semi successful threesome of ours: don’t ask and I won’t tell you what you really might not wanna know anyway.
Aren’t these kind of emotional threesomes far more treacherous? I knew of her when all of this started. I knew their situation, he never lied to me about it, never kept it from me, told me about her in the very beginning. Does she know about me? Make that a million and one questions.
I watch him sleep and I tell myself that what he says he feels for me is genuine, extraordinary, special to only us and who we are together. Somewhere, in the back of my mind though, I doubt this. It couldn’t possibly be the way I envision it.
How did they meet? What drew him to her? What drew him to me? Is what he feels for the both of us the same? Then I question myself; if it were does that lessen it? Does it render it false? Does any of this really matter? You have to leave him anyway.
I wonder how many times she has watched him sleep.
In my saner moments I hope that he has told her nothing about me, that he’s spared her this emotional purgatory. That he hasn’t given her enough details for her minds eyes to drag her naked across barbed wired when she pictures where he could be and what we could be doing.
In the less balanced moments, when I am far more spiteful and jealous, I hope he’s told her everything about me, enough so that when he’s away it drives her crazy, as it does me. So that when he’s with her she sits up at night, watching him sleep and agonizing over all the questions I’m debating.
But I try not to be that person.
Mostly, I am this person. Silent, observing him when he is uncovered, vulnerable and at peace. I am the girl who is silent, who says a million things but never says anything that is important. I am the girl who loves too hard, when I shouldn’t, when none of this is right or healthy or sane. I am the girl who can’t sleep because she is lying next to a man she is crazy about, and that loves her but he’s made a youthful commitment to someone else he feels obligated to keep, property that is not mine. I am the girl who sits silently in dark corners, knees drawn to my chest, singing old blues songs in my head.
The more I think about it the more I realize I’ve been in a threesome for a year. Me, him and this woman I’ve never laid eyes on, never put a name to, never discovered anything about the five senses of her. There have always been three people in this bed. We’ve already had our threesome.
I scoot a little closer to the wall to make more room for her, closer to him, as she should be. I am the stranger in this bed and I am sleeping in her place.