Maybe it’s these rum drinks giving me out-sized confidence but I have to confess something: I’m having an affair.
The sea is my mistress. And you have to swear not to tell Shonda.
I can’t keep lying. For months I’ve been committing adultery with the vast body of water that covers most of the planet. The sea and I originally met back when I was a teenager, on a family vacation in Fort Lauderdale. We kept in touch through the years but ended up reconnecting when I took Shonda and the kids to Cape Cod last summer.
I immediately noticed the sea. How good it looked. How strong and sensual it was. Our flirtation started innocently enough: a toe in the water, some gentle splashing, lingering too long in the surf. Burrowing my toes ever deeper into the sand of the sea floor. Shonda had to ask me to stop moaning in front of the kids.
I tried to stay away, I really did, but even as I sat on the beach, my future lover would lap at my feet, its tide rising and its waves reaching out to touch me. We wanted each other. And all the while, I had to sit and watch seagulls diving in and out of the object of my desire, taunting me with their freedom while I played Kadima with my sons. Oh, how I hated those gulls.
I eventually started sneaking out after Shonda had fallen asleep. I spent the length of that hot summer waiting for night to arrive so I could rush out into my lover’s surf. That was the beginning of our torrid sexual affair. Just a man and the sea he adored, frolicking in the moonlight as we consummated our lust each night. All summer, I could smell brine on my sheets.
Since then, I can’t keep my hands off the sea. And it can’t keep its sensuous waves off of me. The sea is as complex a lover as I’ve ever known. Sometimes it’s calm and wants to cuddle. Sometimes it’s content to watch me dance seductively in the sand. Sometimes it needs to be rough, frothed with lusty white foam. If things get out of hand, our safe word is me calling the Coast Guard.
I do still love Shonda, but there are things the sea can do that she just can’t. Shonda can’t carry me thousands of miles to far-off lands like the sea can. And the sea does this sexy thing where it erodes a coastline grain by grain over the course of centuries. It’s the sort of thing that Shonda wouldn’t be into. She can’t even commit to a book club so how can I ask her to slowly tear a mountain apart with me?
Once while we were making love, I asked Shonda if she could caress me like the Saltstraumen tidal current in Norway. She asked, “What are you talking about?” I replied, “Nevermind, let’s keep doing human sex.” It was embarrassing.
Shonda’s noticed how many clams and fish I’ve brought home recently. What am I going to do, lie and say “Oh, I love seafood now?” She’d never buy that. And I can’t tell her the truth, that my mistress is littering the coastlines of the world with gifts for me: driftwood, seaweed, old buoys, wrecked ships, even dead dolphins sometimes.
The biggest problem is that I tend to get jealous. I’ve screamed awful things at jet skis. I’ve lost fist fights with sea otters that got too handsy. When I see even a picture of a whale, I spiral into pits of deep envy. I want so badly to be huge enough for my mistress, the sea.
I know our love can’t last. But my heart is full. Of seawater.
What am I going to tell my kids? I took the boys out kayaking the other day so we could all spend some time together. For a minute I got to imagine what a life would be like if I had met the sea when I was young and single, and we’d started a family together. For a day, I got to live that pleasant fantasy.
Look, I want to make things work with Shonda. I asked her how she would feel if I told her that I was developing feelings for the sea and how she might feel about polyamory. She said, “What are you talking about, the sea isn’t a person, go to bed.” I chickened out of telling her any more.
For now, I’m just stuck here, dry and lonely in dumb New York, pining for my mistress. I’ve been flushing love notes down the toilet. But our relationship is so intensely physical that cheesy notes won’t cut it. We need each other. I wish I had unlimited lifetimes so I could explore every inch of my gigantic lover, from its dark depths to its sunny edges.
I’m not sure what to do. I know I love my wife, but I also know I have real feelings for the sea. And that’s why as soon as I leave this party — happy birthday, by the way — I’m headed straight to the shore, to chase away any animals that are trying to make a move, and plunge my puny, naked body into the sea I love.