I Did Not Marry for Love

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At first, news of the brothel was only a rumor. Men would rush in and out of the spa in our development at all hours, often looking harried on the way in and relaxed on the way out but we had no proof. Then, Evelyn Marshall caught her husband getting a blowjob. She was getting a hot stone massage and heard a familiar groan from the adjacent room. News spread through our small community quickly but no one alerted the authorities. We felt important, having such goings on in our midst.

In the afternoon, the therapists often sit on the large lanai behind the spa in negligees and peignoirs and heavy makeup, smoking and drinking bright colored fruity drinks, waiting for their next clients. My front balcony looks out onto this lanai where the ladies lounge. They are not as beautiful as you might imagine but they are interesting and they talk loudly. Their voices are deep and velvety in the way of women who know things. I sit on my balcony most afternoons wearing a pair of dark sunglasses. I hold a book in my lap. I pretend to read.

One of the women who works at the spa is very tall, the kind of tall in a woman that makes people stare. She has long dark hair she always wears down. She is beautiful and I love looking at her, how she moves, the anger in her eyes. She caught me staring once, stood up, her robe falling open. She lifted a leg and propped it on the railing and pointed between her thighs then threw her hands in the air. I did not stop staring. She did not close her legs.

I went to see her. The woman at the desk studied me carefully. She said, “Nadia is one of our special therapists; she charges high fees.” I said, “I know.” The receptionist shrugged. Soon after, I was escorted into the back. I heard interesting sounds. Nadia had a thick Russian accent but spoke English well. “You want massage? Candles? What?” she asked. I said, “I want to fuck.” The words felt heavy and strange in my mouth. Nadia cocked her head to the side. “You are different,” she said. Later, her tongue was cool and soft between my thighs. I twisted my fingers through her hair, resting my heels on her back. I wanted to explain myself. It took me a long time to come—it always does—but Nadia was patient. I reciprocated her attentions. I wasn’t afraid.  As I was leaving, I ran into my next door neighbor. She pulled her purse closer to her body and looked away. I pressed my hand against my neighbor’s shoulder as we passed. She still refused to look at me but she leaned into my touch. Now, Nadia stares at me when she’s on her lanai and I am up on my balcony. I don’t look away.

My husband calls me a wildcat. After we make love, he always whistles under his breath and slaps my thigh, says, “Goddamn, woman. You’re going to kill me.” On our wedding day, my mother pulled me aside at the chapel. I was only half dressed, walking around in white panty hose, a corset and white patent leather heels. My dress was a monstrosity of satin and chiffon and I wanted to wear it as little as possible. We stood in a dark vestibule and my mother began straightening my curls, pulling them out of my face, messing with the pearl headband holding my hair back. She said, “There’s no mystery to keeping a man.” She dabbed at my lipstick with a tissue she had been holding, folded, in the palm of her hand. She said, “You do whatever sick thing he wants, when he wants, and you’ll never have a problem.” That was the only advice she has ever given me. She and my father divorced when I was nine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Source: Diva Scribe

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About Author

Roxane Gay lives and writes in the Midwest.

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