He was sipping his third Scotch rocks and wishing he still smoked so he could feel the burning of the drag as it invaded his lungs and the cool release of the exhale. He had been listening to Sinatra, Bennett, and some of the old time crooners and singers of torch songs, of love lost, of hearts broken. He had come to the conclusion that he was being forced to accept a situation that if they were married could be the verb of cuckold. They left with a kiss but he was told that she was going to "see" her old lover and "nothing" was going to happen. He guessed his expression told her he wasn't happy and she pressed him for his reaction. He told her how he felt and she tossed it off as "some man thing" after all it was just two friends getting together. But the more she said that, the more he felt less a man and more a cuckold. Maybe it was his background. Maybe it was the fact that he could do the same thing and "nothing" was going to happen but he knew that to play that game of doing one better than the other always leads to a shambles of a relationship.
He pored himself another Scotch. As he sipped it he remembered when they first met, the way they were. There was an excitement to their touch, to the next phone call that lasted hours, to the next touch that sparked shocks through their systems. He remembered her telling him she couldn't wait for the weekend, so they met in the middle of the week. Much of that excitement was gone now. The fact of the matter was she seemed bored when they spoke during the week. She just recently said she needed more time to spend with those she felt closest to and one was her past lover. Not for any other reason but to keep their friendship growing and maturing. That is when he started feeling like a cuckold. She was very subtly letting him know it didn't matter what he felt about all this because, at least to him, she clung to her own definitions and that is what mattered. He felt she was letting him know that no matter what he felt she was going to let this old relationship grow, certainly not regress. It was almost as if the choice was made, if one had to be made, she would chose the old lover because she needed to be free no matter what and he could accept it or take a walk. He was getting older but not that old that he would lose his manhood and become a cuckold.
He still loved her deeply. He told her he would never leave her but he meant for another woman not if she chose another man. He loved being with her. He would miss her greatly. He felt she was making the decision for him. He didn't know what he was going to do. He wanted the old excitement back. He still felt the desire, the want, the need but if she felt it, she wasn't exhibiting it. He drained his glass of the Scotch and decided to go to bed knowing his heart would break if he called it off but at the same time he felt the ending was coming sooner or later. Her choice; him or her old lover. He would miss her deeply. His life would need time to heal, maybe never heal. So much would be gone without her in his life. Then he heard the strains of an old torch song that expressed everything he was struggling with. Billy Holiday, a great blues singer of years gone by but who still lives in the hearts of those who know and understand good music.
The song, "When You Lover Has gone".
Billie Holiday sang it so well with all the pathos and phrasing that you might want in a torch song.
What good is the scheming, the planning and dreaming
That comes with each new love affair
The dreams that we cherish, so often might perish
And leaves you with castles in air
When you're alone, who cares for starlit skies
When you're alone, the magic moonlight dies
At break of dawn, there is no sunrise
When your lover has gone
What lonely hours, the evening shadows bring
What lonely hours, with memories lingering
Like faded flowers, life can't mean anything