There’s something about the theater that thrives on infidelity. I love combining the tensions of discovery with the anticipation of the stage. I also love it when narrators get up-ended. enjoy
by David Cain
When Ellen suggested that we attend the ballet, I was suspicious. My response was guarded, displaying the reluctance I considered normal for a disinterested middle-aged male. Ellen didn’t seem to notice my response and made plans. Dinner, a new dress and a grand time at the ballet was her plan. I moaned a bit but was gracious in my defeat.
So I found myself taking my wife to see my ex-mistress dance. I was still suspicious but at the same time I felt certain that Ellen knew nothing of my affair with Della. The whole thing had been brief, intense, insane and over as quickly as it had begun. I certainly didn’t plan to have an affair and never expected to be involved in one.
Of course, we were seeing Tristan and Isolde. Ellen couldn’t have engineered that detail; the Universe conspired to make me uncomfortable on that evening, dramatically set with Wagnerian leitmotifs. I waited for the encounter with bated breath, waiting for Ellen to pounce with accusations. Guilt rose to blinding levels. I kept mum, clinging to my last shreds of hope.
Ellen dressed dazzlingly, every detail touched up to bring her natural beauty to bear in full glory, reinforcing her position as a force to be reckoned with, as pretty a woman as I’ve ever dreamed to know. Let me be clear: I love Ellen, I have always loved her, I will always love her. I overflowed with fear, knowing what I might lose.
I can make all the excuses in the world about my affair with Della but none of them excuse me. I was weak and I should always be strong. The best thing in the world would be for it to be forgotten, erased, disappeared, turn back time, it never happened, what never happened?
“Isn’t this exciting,” Ellen said as we waited for the orchestra to begin, for the curtain to rise. “I love dance,” she said. “Don’t you?”
I measured my response but lost my sense to romantic feelings, her beauty glowing in the subtle lights. “I’m happy anywhere I am with you.”
The ballet was long, beautiful and enchanting. Della danced better than I ever imagined anyone could. Maybe it was because I know her but the ballet really spoke to me, through her.
About one-third of the way through, a man danced across the stage.
“That’s him,” Ellen said with a muted squeal. “That’s Gary. I met him at the Windersons. Isn’t he gorgeous?”
I turned to look at Ellen, glowing like an enchanted schoolgirl in adoration of her heart throb. I had the strange feeling that if she met the young man, she might have attacked him. In naughty ways. I should have been jealous, I suppose, but I understand. No one is always strong.
“Dancers are just beautiful,” I said. “It’s what they do.”