I had a fairy tale wedding with my college sweetheart.
Landon and I dated for four years.
No, it was more appropriate to say he chased me for four years.
He pursued me for the entire freshman year.
I said yes on the first day of sophomore year.
We got engaged by the end of the third year.
Our wedding day was the day after graduation.
Friends said we were a match made in heaven.
It was a fairy tale wedding, and I thought our love was going to have a fairy tale ending.
The prince and the princess, living happily ever after.
There was just one tiny glitch in our otherwise perfect marriage.
Landon couldn’t get it up.
He confessed on our wedding night.
He said he couldn’t do it.
He broke down in tears.
I hugged him.
I comforted him.
It was fine, I said.
I didn’t need sex to love him.
Platonic love was still love, right?
It actually meant we were one rung higher on the ladder of love—from carnal to spiritual.
Landon was relieved.
We consummated our marriage with a hug.
Landon had been a perfect boyfriend.
He was still perfect as a husband.
So what if we couldn’t have sex?
I was looking for a soulmate, not a bedmate.
I thought sex didn’t matter as long as we loved each other.
Boy, was I wrong.
Landon cheated on me.
Not with my bombshell bestie.
Not with his bootylicious assistant.
With my mom.
Did you catch that?
Here, let me repeat.
My husband cheated on me with my mother.
My biological mother, the woman who carried me in her womb for nine months.
The woman who raised me, fed me, clothed me, and gave me the talk about the birds and the bees.
I still remembered what she said.
‘A girl needs to know how to protect herself, Amiyah.’ Mom showed me a pack of Durex Performax Intense. ‘I’m not saying you can’t have sex before you graduate, but I think it’s best if you wait for that someone special.’
Back then, I thought Landon was my ‘someone special.’
‘Women have needs, too. It’s perfectly natural to express them.’ Mom gave me a username and a password.
It was an account at an X-rated website.
Women had needs, indeed.
My mother was a woman.
She had needs.
Was that why she climbed into bed with my husband?
They were so engrossed in what they were doing, they didn’t hear the door open.
Granted, it was a nice door, with a well-oiled hinge that didn’t creak.
But the door knob made a sound when I twisted it.
My four-inch heels clacked on the marble floor when I walked in.
My Telfar bag dropped to the ground with a loud thud.
They didn’t hear any of it.
I didn’t know the woman was Mom at first.
She was lying underneath Landon, writhing, moaning.
Her long hair was a mess and it covered her face.
I saw Landon’s back, naked and covered in a sheen of sweat.
He was thrusting into the woman who had her legs wrapped around him.
He was grunting.
‘Aaaaaah! I’m coming!’
His voice was hoarse, loud, and incredibly passionate.
Filled with desire.
It was a voice he’d never used with me.
Then Landon arched his back.
I saw the woman underneath him.
She was clutching his waist and screaming in ecstasy.
She opened her eyes.
Our eyes met.
Mom screamed, no longer in ecstasy.
Landon scrambled up and spun around.
He saw me.
They were both in their birthday suits, their eyes heavy with lust.
His t-shirt was balled up on the floor.
Her lace bra lay on top of it.
I looked at the floor.
I looked at Landon.
I looked at my mother.
I raised my right hand and slapped my face, hard.
It hurt like hell.
The nail on my little finger scratched my cheek.
The wound stung.
Oh, so it wasn’t a dream.
You couldn’t feel pain in a dream, could you?
I turned around and left.
My heels click-clacked on the marble floor.
It was impossibly loud.
How could they not have heard it?
I almost tumbled down the stairs.
Someone shouted my name.
Was it Mom or Landon?
I couldn’t tell.
I felt as if I was underwater.
Everything around me turned blurry.
I was wading through molasses.
My heels suddenly weighed a ton.
I slapped my face again.
It still hurt, which was bad news.
It confirmed reality.
I wasn’t dreaming.
This wasn’t some Freudian nightmare I invented in my sleep.
I saw what I saw.
Somehow, my mind went back to the wedding night.
Landon said he couldn’t get it up.
Technically, he didn’t lie.
He really couldn’t get an erection no matter how hard I tried to seduce him.
His kisses were always chaste.
A quick peck on the cheek.
Sometimes I got the feeling that instead of hugging me, he’d rather just shake my hands.
But Landon didn’t tell me the whole truth, either.
He couldn’t get an erection when he was with me.
But he was hard as a woodpecker’s beak when he was with my mother.
I saw it, clear as day.
My brain shut down.
My legs carried me out of the house.
I had no idea where I was going.
I had come home, hoping to seek comfort in my husband’s arms.
My father passed away last week.
The funeral had been a true nightmare.
I was bone-weary, and I came home looking for warmth.
I wanted Landon’s hug and Mom’s chicken pot pie.
I got neither.
I left the house in a trance.
Did I close the door?
I couldn’t remember.
It didn’t matter.
Let the house get broken into.
Let the burglars take whatever they wanted.
I no longer cared.
I kept moving.
Cars honked at me.
Eventually, their noises disappeared.
People’s voices disappeared.
The sun disappeared.
Neon lights lit up.
Night blanketed the city.
My calf muscles were on fire.
I kept walking.
I only stopped when I ran out of road.
I looked up and found myself on the Harbour Bridge.