This was another 'Web' story. It was written in March of 2000 as well. I could have sworn I wrote it as a collaboration but I can find no evidence that is the case and I always credited Jeanne when she did more than just edit one of my stories so maybe not. Nobody but Connie seems to be reading these now but my main goal with these old stories was to get them posted somewhere other than the AOL short story board anyway. I see it's changed format yet again. I want to get all these stories off it before they just delete them not that I've had any indication they are going to, but also I've had no indication they are NOT going to.
I didn't set out to create the web of deception and lies in which I now find myself tangled. But how simply and innocently these things start...
I received a random instant message one evening while I was on-line. Her name was Laura, and we talked for over two hours that first night... and said goodnight feeling like we'd known each other forever. My nights, which had previously been spent aimlessly surfing the Net, were soon consumed by chats with her instead. I looked for her every time I got on-line, and we met almost every night for several weeks. And while there was always a strong sense of flirtation between us, our discussions continued to center on our families, jobs, likes and dislikes, etc.
So when my wife casually asked one evening what I was doing on the computer after she was asleep, why did I lie and tell her I was just surfing? When she teasingly asked if I was enjoying the porn sites, I knew that would be both believable and acceptable to her, so I just smiled and said I was. I'm not sure why I didn't simply say I was chatting with a new friend... but maybe it was because I was secretly hoping for what eventually did happen... that is, Laura and I stepped over that line into deep intimacy.
I've never thought of myself as someone who would have an affair, on- or off-line... but it all happened so naturally. It began one night when we were talking about a favorite movie of both of ours, "Dr. Zhivago," and we began discussing the intense passion and love that filled that story. We progressed to telling each other what we considered the most important components of a passionate relationship. And we concurredthat it was not just the physical side, but the emotional, romantic arousal that defined true *passion*... it was not the destination as much as the *journey* that mattered. It was uncanny how we'd write simultaneously, and receive almost the same wording back from one another. And soon we realized... we had actually embarked upon such a journey together.
After that night, our writing became more sensuous and suggestive... our conversations concentrated on sexual teasing and deliberately arousing statements... and began lasting several hours. Cybersex seems like too insensitive a term for what Laura and I were sharing... it was much more personal than the everyday hyped and raunchy depiction of sex on the Internet. What we were doing truly felt like making love on-line.
And while it was something we both enjoyed tremendously, we agreed to never allow it to harm our marriages, as we both loved our spouses and had solid, secure relationships. But Laura's husband traveled most of the time... and my wife had dedicated most of her time and attention to her home-based publishing business the last couple years... so both Laura and I found ourselves literally feeding one another's starving libidos when we got together.
I began getting to bed later and later at night... actually in the early hours of morning. And I was always prepared with an excuse... but my wife never asked for an explanation---in fact, she rarely even woke up when I slid in beside her. And sometimes I was still so aroused from my chat that I longed to wake her and share with her the passion that lingered in me... because it had been a long time since she and I had experienced that much intensity together. In the back of my mind, I was actually hoping that my on-line affair with Laura would spark some excitement in my own marriage. The enthusiasm for physical love had been revived in me, and I wanted to inspire such feelings again in my wife, as I truly did miss the physical and emotional closeness that the two of us used to enjoy. But I never did wake her... I guess I just felt too selfish, "using" her physically for feelings and stimulation planted by Laura.
So I just continued to spin my web around me... tighter and tighter.
Then one afternoon when I arrived home from work, and I found the house empty... and eventually remembered that my wife was attending a publishing seminar out of town, and wouldn't be back until the following afternoon. I cringed to think that we had grown so far apart that I could forget she would be gone... or that she hadn't said goodbye. Suddenly, I longed to talk to her... I was overcome with remorse and just wanted to tell her that I loved her, and to hear her say it back. We generally left each other's desks alone, but I needed to find the hotel name and number, and thought maybe she'd left it on there somewhere.
What I found instead chilled me to the bone. She was not at a conference at all... she had gone to spend her first night with a man with whom she'd been having an on- and off-line affair for months. It was all there in the letters: an innocent beginning just like Laura and me... her telling him how she had felt so ignored by, and isolated from me lately... details about them meeting for lunch... then accounts of him coming to see her at our house, sometimes several times a week. He was apparently seeing my wife more than I was! And no wonder she was not interested late at night when I came to bed, hoping to share my "leftover passion" with her... she was tired and well-satisfied.
Dumbfounded and numb, I sat and waited for her to come home... examining over and over the events that had occurred. I saw how we had both run in different directions rather than to each other when we felt lonely and shut out. And I saw how the webs of deceit that we ultimately forced each other to weave had strangled our marriage in the process.