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Bend It Like Marston

'I write because there is a voice within me that will not be still' Sylvia Plath


The College Student Babysitter

College student, Hillary Watkins was exquisite. At 5'ft 7 inches, she could easily be a model. So imagine my surprise when my wife, Ashaki hired her to babysit our kids.

It took me by surprise, because most wives wouldn't be inclined to allow such a beautiful young woman access to their house like that. But then, my wife hadn't watched as many Lifetime movies on the subject as I had.

You know, those movies where the hot young thang comes along to take care of the kids but ends up taking care of the husband? Not that I saw myself as some kind of DENZEL WASHINGTON, BLAIR UNDERWOOD, MORRIS CHESTNUT type that a young woman would fall head over hills for, but I definitely was attracted to her. And it was very difficult to hide such a fact, so I tried to stay away from her as much as possible.

The difficult part was that my wife was a very busy college professor who worked long hours. And she would also participate in after school events where she had to speak or network, that I usually wasn't invited to.

She was that stereotypical career woman.

We had children, but she wasn't that type of woman to stay home and bake cookies and check homework. But I maybe didn't realize that when I first came along. I just saw them as a package deal. But as I got closer to her, I fell hard for the kids as well, not having any of my own. And perhaps seeing how much I chose to be there for her kids, maybe had something to do with why Ashaki let her guard down and agreed to marry me.

It's the kind of thing that maybe you figure out later on. That maybe we weren't the perfect match. That maybe she chose me for my stability and and normalcy. Because I checked off a box of some sort. That despite the fact that she committed to me in front of God and family and friends, that her passions lie somewhere else; with another man or a series of other men. That maybe we were too different with interests that didn't coincide.

So here comes along this young lady who gives the kids all of this unconditional love that their own mother seemed to not be able to give. And it made my heart full watching them together, because those little ones were so precious to me; their smiles and laughter shaping my contentment beyond words.

The other part was that she looked at me like I was someone special as well. And I couldn't deny how great that made me feel.


She Still Gets Jealous

I came to feel as though Ashaki saw me as a novelty.

A good man who liked to stay home and be with the kids. Who wrote fiction in his five subject spirals and journals hoarded from Family Dollar and the bygone days of Walden Books. Someone who liked Hallmark and ELVIS movies. A good man. But maybe not the love of her life. Maybe she even saw me as some kind of lovable "square". But Hillary ... Dear sweet Hillary ... She looked at me with eyes of wonder. Like I was a big man. The big man on campus, not just big in terms of weight.

She would knock on the door of my office hesitantly, fearful that she was interrupting some great opus that I was creating. But in truth, I treasured her interruptions; willing to risk writer's block if it meant that I could look into those sweet, pretty eyes. Because she made me feel worthy. Like I meant something to someone in this world other than my children.

The interruptions were about trivial things. Wondering if one kid preferred crunchy peanut butter over smooth/ strawberry jelly over grape. Silly stuff like that. But I would notice her staring at my open spiral and eventually I asked her if she would like to read something that I'd written. And she joyfully accepted.

Thus began a relationship where she read my work and red penned spelling mistakes or other minor flaws in the story. And she did this like it was a great honor and responsibility. This beautiful stranger. My wife asking to read something of mine once, but then putting it over to the side and not providing any critique. Maybe just wanting to make sure that I wasn't writing love letters to another woman. Because strangely enough, even though she acted as if she didn't care, she still got jealous if she thought that my attention wasn't strictly directed at her and the kids -- but mostly her.

Which was why Hillary's hiring puzzled me so. And then when the trust and loyalty was secure, she posed the idea of Hillary becoming our live in nanny. Which meant that instead of her being around for a few afternoon to evening hours, she'd be around 24/7. And the thought of it made my heart pound inside of my chest. It was too much! It was too much! Translation: I was beyond excited.


You're A Wonder ...

Someone that I'd always been fascinated by was WILLIAM MOULTON MARSTON, the creator of the lie detector and the comic book heroine known as Wonder Woman. But as well as all of that, he was known to have lived a unique life where he was married with children, but took in one of his students and had children with her as well. And they were all one big happy family. Believe it or not.

I had that series of facts in the back of my mind as Hillary moved in and I got to see her seven days a week; fully clothed and in night clothes. And we got really comfortable being in one another's company.

Everything I couldn't do with my wife, I could do with her. Things like enjoying a couple of hours in the park with the kids. Things like going to car shows and parades and arts and crafts shows and Free Comic Book Day. And I loved it so much.

Being that I worked a job where I was home by early afternoon, had access to multiple sick days and was allowed paid time off for random school holidays and half days, I was truly spending more time with the nanny than with my wife. And being how satisfying it was to be around her, sometimes I would take a sick day just so I could spend the whole day with her; swearing her to silence about me not going to work.

She kept silent. Because clearly she wanted to spend that time with me as well. And eventually, on one of these hooky days, I found myself walking with her on the bike trail and before I knew it, we were holding hands. Neither of us unashamed, though both letting go as we headed back and approached the turn off to the house; for fear of being noticed by a neighbor or two. Though I'm pretty sure that anyone with 20/20 vision could see the affection that we had for one another. And then it became more obvious to us when we entered the house, closed the door and I went from touching her shoulder from behind to kissing her passionately.

Ashaki and I had watched something about an open marriage before. And she didn't speak on it one way or another. She seemed really concentrated on what was being documented.

Another time we were together when a reality show was on and a singer was talking about her husband and them opening up their marriage because it had gotten stagnant. And I may have made a comment or two. But I don't remember Ashaki agreeing with my disagreement. And now Hillary was in the picture .... Was this hiring some kind of set up to bring that issue not only to the discussion table, but into our marriage?

© 2022 LaZeric Freeman

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