I cheated on her.
She’s engaged to be married to someone else. But still. We have a thing, she and I. It’s been going on for years.
And I cheated on her.
This is the third time.
I feel dirty. I do. Ugly on the inside.
Her name popped up on my phone this morning. A text message.
“Haven’t seen ya… hope all is well!” she wrote.
It just washed over me.
We had a quick back-and-forth. And agreed to meet up next Tuesday.
I’ll give her a sheepish grin. She’ll forgive me. She always does.
Then she’ll run her fingers through my hair and ask me about my life before we get down to business.
And afterward, I’ll pay her for her time.
Ugh. I’m a bad person.
“This is a moral test of oneself. Whether or not one can maintain loyalty. Because being loyal is very important.” – Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction
Being loyal is important. Vincent was right.
We’re faced with these decisions, big and small. All the time.
We often order from the same pizza places. Or hit up the same restaurants for lunch or breakfast. Maybe we’re regulars at our favorite local pubs.
We often exhibit loyalty to other kinds of businesses. Doctors. Landscapers. Contractors.
And to the people in our lives.
We’re loyal to our families. To our friends. To our children. To our teammates. To our siblings. To our employers. To our romantic partners.
Sometimes, we fail other people because of our own irresponsibility.
I do this all the time. All. The. Time.
For example, people I love sometimes don’t get birthday or Christmas presents from me. Because I waited too long to get them something, or because I completely forgot.
Maybe I told someone at work I’d get something over to them by the end of the day, and then don’t. And then I make their job harder. Because of simple irresponsibility.
Maybe my son had to eat a crappy lunch at school because I waited too long to update his lunch money account online.
Maybe my snowblower sat dormant the entire snowy-as-all-hell winter because I didn’t work hard enough to get it repaired.
But sometimes we display disloyalty of sorts for purely selfish reasons.
We don’t return someone’s phone call or email because we’re so self-absorbed.
We choose a new restaurant over the old one we’ve been supporting for years, even though the old one did nothing to warrant losing our business.
We switch brands in our various shopping adventures for any number of reasons.
I cheated on this girl because I’m irresponsible.
She didn’t deserve that.
The Last Time I Saw Her
“Do you want to schedule an appointment for next time?” she said.
She knows I can’t wait too long. I’m needy. I am.
“No, I’ll just fire you a text and see when you’re available in a few days,” I said before walking out.
But she gets busy. She’s in demand.
And yeah, she likes me, but I can never be No. 1 in her life. She has other clients, too.
She’s not going to bump well-paying clients just because I want to see her.
So I went to see someone else.
And yes. I feel bad about it. I mean, it was good. This new girl got the job done. But the experience ultimately left me dissatisfied.
It just wasn’t the same.
So Tuesday I’ll go back. Back to where I’m supposed to be.
And she’ll take care of me.
Those familiar hands.
And I’ll feel balanced again.
We’ll talk for a bit afterward.
I’ll pay her for her time. She’s thoughtful and attentive.
Only this time, I’ll schedule our next rendezvous before leaving.
To be loyal.
To be responsible.
Because she deserves it.
My hair just looks shitty when I let other people cut it.