Issue: August 2001
The Other Woman

So the hubby rolls in last night at about, oh, 10:30, and I hear him out there in the kitchen, rumbling around like a big grumbly bear just waking up from a long hibernation and not quite used to his own legs. He doesn't know he's doing it, thinks he's being quiet-just like my dad used to think he was being so stealthy on those early Sunday mornings at anchor when he would tromp the deck directly over my head.

I hear Johnny rustle through the fridge, ice clatters into a glass and then he settles in on the couch, flicks through the Weather Channel and CNN. Finally he creeps into our room, still silent in that ridiculously noisy way guys have. And when I catch the tinny scent of bottom paint, mixed with a splash of rum and stirred with sweat, I know in my heart what's been going on. He's been with her again. That scheming witch.

"So?" He jumps a little when he hears my voice.

"Oh, sorry I'm late. I just got on a roll and wanted to finish up." Uh huh. I remain church-still and silent in the dark. He squirms a little. "She looks great," he says eventually.

The trollop, I think to myself. It's no wonder, what with all the attention she's getting. The baubles. The gewgaws. The trinkets. The new turnbuckles for the new standing rigging (the old ones looked too shabby for her, he says). The new Harken sheaves for the new Spectra halyards running through the new deck organizers and jammers (for easier sail handling, he says). The lustrous white decks and glimmering green topsides job (a face-lift for the tart, no less). I should have called her Bijou.

"You know," I say, after another bit of inky silence, "I could prance around in a little black lace thang all day long, and I'm not sure you would devote every evening of the week and every day of every weekend to moi. In fact I am fairly certain you would find some way to sneak back to her."

"Well she is kind of complicated, really. It's not an easy job."

True love never is, I sigh to myself. I lean over and flick on the light. He's so tired he looks like something the cat coughed up. But I can't help myself; I try a quick primp. "You didn't even notice that I painted my toenails this nice shade of red for summer."

"Your toes are under the covers, honey."

"Well, look!" I pull them out, wiggle them. They glitter in the low light. He takes a look. "Very nice," he says, but I can tell he's thinking they should be Awlgrip. Hinckley Green, to be specific.

Is this fair, I ask myself? When I told him that our 10th year of marriage was, indeed, our fiberglass anniversary, did that mean I was throwing open the door to this torrid romance, this trophy babe? I thought we were just going to get the boat we'd been waiting for, not a full-on, fatal-attraction obsession to make her as perfect as possible. How silly of me. Ten years ought to be enough time to know this man's passions, especially when it comes to fast, good-lookin' boats. I sigh, shove my glittery toes back under the covers and pout. He gives me the worn-out smile of the smitten."So hey," he says. "Wanna come down at lunch time tomorrow and see her? I can't wait until you do. I think you'll be pleased. She's really looking beautiful."

And so she is. The vixen.