Sex and room service and in the dark of night
They made love furiously. And when they were exhausted, they stayed in bed, ordered room service and spoke of their lives separate from each other. Finally, when the afternoon had turned to evening dusk and the last light was fading to a shadowy New York darkness pierced by rectangles of electric light popping up and down the vertical steel landscape, they began to whisper their doubts and fears, their guilts and foreboding.
“What is it?” North asked first.
“What will happen to us?” Joellen asked back.
“What do you want to happen?” he asked softly, stroking her cheek.
“I don’t know. What do you want?” she asked.
“I trust in the Lord to show us the way through,” he said. It was the first time he had ever mentioned the Lord to her and she pulled away from his side to look at his face closely.
“Do you think we’re sinning?” she asked.
“We’re sinning if we’re hurting anyone, yes,” he answered her. “But if we were to deny our feelings we would also be sinning against ourselves. So we’re caught in a sin either way. At least that’s how I see it,” he told her.
“I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” she said. “Maybe I wouldn’t have turned to you if I hadn’t found that note and the key. Maybe things would have gone on the way they had been for years and years.”
“That’s what happens when a door opens and reveals a truth that was not visible before,” North said. “If you hadn’t known, wouldn’t you still have felt something was wrong? Or is it just that he had an affair?”
“I knew something was wrong. For a long time,” Joellen said. “I just couldn’t look at it. And when I saw you, something happened to me that I couldn’t control. I still can’t.”
He pulled her back to his side and folded his arms around her. She felt his body stiffen, the muscles in his arms grow taut, felt his breathing become shallower and he began to kiss her neck and her shoulder, his hands rubbing her thighs, kneading the flesh softly. This time their love making was calmer, more measured, slowed by the certainty that they were as committed as before and they could take their time, explore each other, without feeling that what they shared was in jeopardy. Joellen let go of her fears for the moment and forgot about everything but this moment.
Later, when they were finally spent, when they sat huddled together on the bed, she talked of her past and her hopes. And she asked North what was different for him.
“I never knew anything like this before,” he told her. “My life was dedicated to the spirit … at least that’s what I thought. And with my wife, I didn’t expect great passion. She was kind and sweet. She was a good church woman. I was satisfied. But when you and I first … well you know … I guess when we first touched, something stirred in me that I had not considered worthy before, like something only an adolescent feels. But I was wrong. Great passion is a holy thing, too. Or else why would God have made us so capable of passion?”
“But isn’t passion original sin?” she asked.