SECOND WIND By Barbara C. Gonzalez
The Philippine STAR 03/24/2007
There are many differences between men and women. First, the way they look. Men are generally taller while women are smaller and rounder. Ooops, what am I saying? As I write this the names of tall, big women quickly pop into my head. Then I remember running into an old tall friend of mine while she was walking around with her significant other who was shorter than she.
"Are you taller than he?" I asked mischievously, as he walked away. I remember earlier years when she swore she would never go out with anyone shorter.
"No, no," she said, smiling. "Actually if you see us in the mirror, barefoot, we are as tall as each other but after I get my slippers on I look taller. I even feel taller because I look down into his eyes."
"How does that make you feel?" I asked.
"Fine," she said, shrugging her shoulders. "He likes it," she added, amazement sparkling in her eyes. "He said he liked being with someone taller."
Okay, so my original theory doesn’t count. Let’s go farther down the anatomy. He grows a moustache but she doesn’t, though more and more women actually have their moustaches threaded or waxed off. They both have breasts but he cannot breastfeed. As we travel downwards, the difference becomes stronger. She has something that needs to be filled and he has a filler.
They get married. He wants her to be fully faithful to him but he knows he will not be faithful to her. He cannot help it, he says. He is a man, attractive to other women. When a woman walks by, he cannot help but say yes. But women, they can and should always say no.
"Why?" she asks. This is when logic kicks in and the left brain works overtime.
"Because we have children," he says. "Your children have to be mine because they will inherit all my property."
"What about your son by her and your daughter by the other one?" she asks, suppressing her rage.
"Ooops, they are entitled, too, but they are mine, I made them. I know that so I will be responsible for them. But don’t worry. You are my wife. I will never leave you."
She sits with her pain for days, weeks, months, years. She doesn’t know what to do. Inside her anger brews, stews, boils brisker by the day. On the surface she is at worst, civil; at best, friendly, sweet, laughing even. She adores her children but finds herself getting slightly short-tempered with them.
Then one day she runs into an old male friend at the supermarket. "Why don’t we have coffee, just for old times? I want to know what happened to your friends. Remember when we last saw each other. . ." he says.
So they sit at a nearby café and have a cup of coffee, then another, a lot of laughter in between. She feels good. He gives her his calling card. "Feel free to call. . ." She does. They enjoy that, too, and agree to meet for more coffee.
In the beginning her husband doesn’t notice. She seems happier. She’s even looking better. Doesn’t seem so angry any more when he comes home late, though she doesn’t speak to him for days, he notices fewer wrinkles on her face, a prettier pout, like her mind is elsewhere. Come to think of it, she hasn’t asked for intimacy lately.
Occasional coffee has moved up to regular drinks. They think they are in love. They text 76 times a day. One of those texts arrives when she is in the shower and has forgotten her cell on her night table. Her husband comes home late from the office just as the text rings. Curious, he reaches for her cell phone and reads, "I miss you terribly. I smell your perfume and lose my mind." He loses his mind.
Now he is angry. He confronts her and she, feeling caught and feeling guilty, admits to it. "Are you having an affair?" her husband asks.
"Yes," she says, "I’m sorry but I can’t stop it either. I think I’m in love with him."
He packs up his bags and leaves.
He, the man who had so many women since their marriage, is livid with rage. She was his wife. How dare she do this? She feels guilty that he caught her. Why? Why do you feel guilty that you got caught? He should not have read your text. He violated your privacy. But who cares? It’s over anyway. The man will never forgive a woman who has been with another man. I think he hates the thought that she now knows someone else and has a basis for comparison. I really and truly think it’s as simple as that.
Why did she do it? Out of rage and anger. That’s where the new love, if that’s what it is, came from. That’s why she fooled around after he fooled around. And why did he fool around? Because he was a man, that’s all. That’s the big difference between men and women.