Casuals and Intimates
I was standing at the front of the women’s department at Macy’s with my arms crossed like some kind of jerk. I could see my wife, deep in accessories, inspecting a table of purses. It had been a mistake to come to the mall together, but I didn’t feel like getting into it when we had left the house. I said that I would only need a minute at the office supply store, and she said that was perfect because she would only need a minute at Macy’s. Even after dropping her off first and taking my time picking up the new printer cartridge, she still wasn’t ready yet. She told me to look around and come back in ten minutes, but there wasn’t anything I wanted to buy—not in this store.
I looked around and re-crossed my arms so that my wedding band would show. The bras and lingerie were one section over. Anyone walking by could see that I was clearly a husband waiting for my wife and not some pervert. I’ve seen men cuckolded by their wives or girlfriends’ shopping, contentedly playing on their phones, but that’s not me.
There weren’t a lot of people in the store. The sales register was abandoned. A mother browsed the racks, and her son followed asking when they would leave while repeatedly crashing an action figure into her back.
“Cut it out,” she said, not looking at him.
“I wanna go.” He crashed it again.
“I mean it,” she said, still not looking at him. She pushed hangers around a clearance rack.
He made a fist around the action figure so that the plastic head was sticking out one end. I could tell that he had done this before. His intention was clear. He reared back and swung as hard as he could into his mother’s back.
“Ow! Benjamin!” With this, finally, she turned to him, but he flew his action figure away making whooshing noises. He pretended he couldn’t hear her over his sound effects as she threatened him with a two-day grounding from the TV and her iPad.
He landed the action figure on a display table piled with cashmere sweaters and snuck a glance back at his mother, who was still at the clearance rack. He started bouncing the action figure on the stacks of folded sweaters and burrowing it in the folds. I thought he was going to end up getting the arms and legs of his action figure caught in the knitting and ruin the sweaters. They were expensive.
But he didn’t. There was a mannequin next to the table of sweaters. She had a really sexy face, light make-up around the eyes, and molded wavy hair. She caught his attention. The kid left his action figure under a pile of sweaters and slowly walked up to her. He stared at her for a few seconds, his mouth open. I saw an idea catch in his eyes.
He pulled the zipper down on her jeans. He looked around. I looked away. No one else was paying attention to him.
He stuck a hand inside, his tiny fingers busy beneath the fabric. He licked his lips, deep in concentration. The mannequin held her pose, one hand on her hip. She looked off into the distance, stoic.
This went on until my wife walked over with a big announcement, “They didn’t have my size in anything I liked.” Then, “What are you smiling about?”
By now the kid had undone the button and had pulled the jeans down to mid-thigh. When he had done it, I half-expected the mannequin to be wearing a lacy black thong because it would’ve gone with the outfit, but of course, mannequins don’t need underwear, and who checks a mannequin’s ass for a panty line? Mannequins don’t have asses.
“That kid’s having the time of his life,” I said, nodding towards the kid. My wife looked.
“That’s disgusting. Someone should do something.”
“Let’s get out of here.” I said. I put my arm around her, and started guiding her to the exit. I leaned in and said, “Kiss me.”
She shrugged me off. “I’m not kissing to that.”
I kept trying to kiss her as we walked to the car, but she kept pushing me away. It wasn’t until later, after dinner, and the dishes, and a couple bowls of ice cream while watching TV. Not until after we got into bed, and I felt the mattress tremble from her leg twitch, which meant she had just fallen asleep. I leaned over and kissed her open lips, slick from her nightly application of lip balm. She kissed me back and said, “Love you,” rolling onto her side towards me, and I knew she wouldn’t remember this in the morning, and I knew I wouldn’t tell her about it either.
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