How Not to Cheat

By Marissa Frazier 

The clicking of her deep maroon heels chatter against the ground, constantly bantering on which one hits the hardest. Live classical jazz plays quietly in the background, as if being in an elevator, yet it is quite modern like what one would see in a masquerade with people galloping around in masks, hiding one’s identity. Snow quietly chimes from the windows slightly ajar, not bothering those who mosey by. Those who do wear satin shawls, or take their lovers tuxedo jacket, not caring if their male is cold. The ones that care suffer through, people like me, tend to find that action repulsive. The weather should have been something thought about before leaving. One must be always prepared, or you might as well be considered a foul woman.

People migrate throughout the large room, not minding if they hit one another, as most do. I sweep past the waiter, allowing myself to have one more glass of wine. It does not hurt if one is not tipsy yet. Although Patrick may not be as exuberant with my choice, but he will be fine. If he is allowed to drink till everything goes dark, so can I. Although as a proper woman, I would never such a thing as that. Others, though, have different ideas. Lois, for example, was the last woman to drink herself to death before the men started watching us like little boys do in peepholes. It’s the reason most boys turn to perverted men.

My husband, Patrick, sits in the far corner of the violet paned room, discussing business trades and secrets to those who care to listen. Most don’t. I suppose that’s why I found him when I did with her. She would listen to him, while as I wouldn’t. No one typically cares about business mechanics. Some men do, but no women. It’s a foolish lie though. While no one may care, women are all about manipulation and seduction. If you give a male someone to listen, they’ll be begging on their knees for more. Some might say that’s how it is for women, but they would be far wrong. Those who think that belong to stay home. Women don’t care if people listen to them, their husbands never do it anyways. They gossip among each other and that pleases them enough.

“You’re not the least bit worried about Edith? She’s real friendly with Patrick over there, B, you might have to watch it.” The voice from the man behind startles me, knowing it is Henry Beckings. This is the man that is the bane of my existence, my brother. 

I turn to him, seeing his sweat drip from his brow. Whether he be highly intoxicated from the wine or just getting done throwing himself upon another woman that gazes his direction, he smells foul. He’s a man who lives with animals, wild dogs almost, never bathing. I’m unsure who he lives with now, but whoever that is, I feel bad for. One would hope it’s not a female, it would be considered beastiality. Nevertheless, here he is, never waxing or removing the unneeded filth. Patrick isn’t foul in that way.

Smiling, I sip the red wine, matching my lips still- hopefully at least, “Oh. I don’t have to worry about her of all people.” I shift the other direction, listening to the pop turn more sophisticated as the night goes on. It’s what one does at these around here, but it benefits hospitals with the lack of drunk accidents.

Edith, youthful as can be, you could say she’s pure. Though, she’s the reason every boy in the schoolyard left their lady. She never knew how to keep things kept shut and private. I see no reason to speak to her, but if that’s what Patrick wants then I must get over myself. One shall not cheat, man neither woman, it’s basic law here. Adultery results in humiliation, but other times, it needs to be taken care of in a more efficient manner. If he feels the need to break the law, then he can do that. Though, I trust his genitals won’t speak too much for him. Plus, I don’t think many people would enjoy a man who eats hotdog sized beans, made specifically for him of course.

“You sure? She’s a bit touchy with him too.” Henry nags, it’s what he does best. Our mother must be so proud.

Now choosing to ignore my brother, finishing off the glass of wine and reaching for another without thought. I take another glance at Edith and Patrick in the corner, Patrick’s greying hair sticking in places it wasn’t before. Such public displays will end up causing a frenzy in the paper, not that my husband cares much about that though. He’ll do anything for more attention on him, anything to raise his wealth. He’s like any other man in this town, a fraud and a cheat. I clinch the black shawl, making my way to my husband before any other acts where to happen.

My eyes quickly meet with Edith’s with her half white mask, not wanting to be hidden. She is either unaware of him being taken, or she’s okay with being labeled the town whore. This isn’t the first time, but I’ll make it the last. Her gaze refuses to stay with mine, wanting to ignore any physical contact. Patrick, on the other hand, shines his white smile, one to make women drown. It used to make me drown in his looks too. Now, all I see is a fish-mouthed man trying to get a taste of any woman he sees. It may be harsh, but I’ll have to keep him on a puppy leash. Edith shows no shame in our similar fashion, clearly wanting to mimic me. I’ve never been one for this childish game.

“Patrick, we must leave soon.” I say bluntly, refusing to acknowledge the woman beside me who will no longer exist after today, depending. 

Part of me hopes my husband will understand what I’m saying, and leave with me to avoid Edith. We’ve talked about the two of them before, with it only ending in threats and screams. I’m never given what I need with him, but a woman must never leave her man. While I’m for equality, as some others, I’m really fine standing where I am. Well, there are some people who I would rather not have here, but it’s still alright I suppose. 

Quickly saying goodbye to Edith, Patrick grabs my hand before we leave to the bedroom. After locking the ballroom doors behind us, knowing people are able to escape without our permissions, we wander our way up the glass stairs, reaching our bedroom. The walls are sullen, sinking in from the Great Depression occurring in our love life, possibly our sex life too. Not that I care too often. I find myself thinking the act of love and passion should only be done when it’s not only for pleasure. Of course, Patrick never wanted to do it like that. He’s a bit impatient, but I suppose most men are.

It surprises me that snow, as fragile as it is, sticks to the earth still, ignoring everything else around it. How does it stay so pure? It’s like our hearts, yet they never stay so pure. Starting white, as pure as a respectable church, before turning dark with every action labeled a sin. Not the religious sins where if you have sex before marriage you go to hell, but it includes actions like murder and most illegal crimes. Patrick’s heart is likely jet black by now, committing adultery might be the biggest sin of all to whichever higher being there may be.

I caught him not too long ago, with Edith. It happened today. I’m not one to be impulsive, though, I suppose the situation called for it. Many have questioned me about the closeness of the two, due to their clinginess the other night. I only ignore them, continuing on my own investigation. While I knew Patrick has had an issue for cheating in the past, I thought he knew better than to cheat on me. Out of all women in this batshit crazy world, he chooses to provoke me. Typically, one would never do that. Staring at the mangled mirror, cracks screaming from a single hand attacking it with all its might. It’s been almost three months since that incident, yet Patrick chose to never fix it. While it was my fault, he provoked it. Any woman is allowed to do as she feels necessary when her man has committed a sin, that being adultery. 

Patrick has never been one to be able to keep himself tucked away, but I thought once he knew what I could do, he would never leave me. Although seeing that blonde whore being flattened by my husband changes a few of my views. While a woman must never commit adultery, she can if her lover has. Edith has never loved her husband, pleasing him will be as easy as Patrick “accidentally” slipping himself in to someone other than his wife. Though, first, a woman must always clean her mess, no matter how foul it may be. One doesn’t always murder, but it’s never surprising when one occurs. It’s never a woman, though, always a man in a fit of rage. Naturally, it’s from a colored man doing something he’s “not supposed” to do. Always a petty excuse, you might as well just say you’re a racist looking for a reason to wrongfully imprison. Women, on the other hand, never kill without reason.

When women commit crimes, not many know. It’s what we discuss during tea, how sinful we truly are. While a woman must seem pure to those around her, she can be the devil. If it’s widely known, the jury never favors us, they’re sexist men who only see us as objects. Edith has no reason to twiddle with my husband, she must know how they are. Nonetheless, the main problem is still men. I sit on the couch, drinking another glass of red wine, a cleanly sharpened knife sleeps on the end table while police sirens fly by. The staining red liquid cries around it, having previously sobbed on me.

Last night’s masquerade still sings from the ballroom, not knowing it will never welcome the shared lover I found in bed with her. Our shared bed. It’s been over a month since finding out second-hand, two weeks since walking in myself. I have yet to clean the sheets, but now it doesn’t matter since the train leaves at exactly 2:30. Their bodies will be discovered, looking like a murder suicide—not because of my artistic abilities though. The most important detail about being a woman: make sure your father can hide your messiest mistakes, even if the mess may be your cheating husband and mistress locking hips. That is the way to be a woman, after all. 

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