Michael and Jeannine snuggle under the bed sheets. Jeannine, safely lying under Michael’s arm, presses her face against his chest, sighing wistfully. “What’s that sigh for?”
“Oh, I’m just thinking about how wonderful it feels. How wonderful it is to wake up with my face under your chin. How wonderful…”
“Okay, I get it. This bed is comfortable,” Michael said.
Jeannine mimicking Michael, “This bed is comfortable.”
Then using her real voice, “God forbid I could be the one that’s comfortable.”
“You know what I mean.”
“Yes, I do. I love this bed because it is so, hmmm, womb–like.” Jeannine murmurs.
They nestle in bed for a few more minutes, when Michael starts shaking his foot. Jeannine glances down to look at the sheet moving slightly back and forth. Jeannine looks up at the ceiling. Both of them lying silently. Every so often, Jeannine would look up at Michael’s face, but she didn’t say anything. Then Michael, softly nudging Jeannine, “I have to take a bathroom break. I’ll be right back.” Michael kisses Jeannine and gently pulls back his cover, and slides out of bed. Jeannine says, “Don’t take too long, or I’ll have to go after you.”
But, when Jeannine saw Michael take part of the newspaper with him, she knew it would be a few minutes longer. Jeannine turns around and opens the nightstand drawer next to her bed, and pulls out a journal and pen. She props herself against the headboard and starts to write.
When Jeannine hears the toilet flush, she finishes her last sentence in the journal and starts to put it away, but not before Michael catches her. “Ahh, writing secrets again?” Michael said. Jeannine shuts the drawer of the nightstand and opens her arms wide inviting Michael back into bed. Instead, Michael stands at the door threshold, folds his arms and then asks her, “Jeannine, what is it that you write in that book?”
Jeannine looks at him, and says, “Just my thoughts, feelings about things. You know, the usual stuff of twenty–year–olds.”
“Come back here. It’s not important what I write down, it’s personal stuff. You know.”
“If I knew, I wouldn’t be asking.” Michael says in a terse response.
“Michael, come on. I’ve always kept a diary or a journal of some kind since I was ten. Lots of people do it. What’s the big deal?”
“None, I guess.” Michael returns to the bed and once under the covers he pulls Jeannine closer to him. Then he says, “What have you written about me?”
“I can’t tell you that. It’s a secret.”
“A secret? I thought we didn’t have any secrets between us. I’m just curious.” But something in Michael’s voice betrayed the simplicity of his statement. Jeannine asks, “What do you want to know?”
“It’s no big deal, but I was wondering.”
“What, big guy?”
“Well, you’re twenty years old and I’m ten years older. Sometimes, I wonder who taught you so much in bed. You’re so fantastic, I can’t believe how lucky I am. You’re loving, sexy, passionate and definitely experienced.”
“So . . . it makes me wonder. You never ask me about my past relationships, which is unusual for a woman. They always want to know if I loved someone more than them, or my past lovers were better than them. But not you, you don’t ask.” Michael responds.
“You want me to? Because if you do, I will. Just remember that what’s in the past is the past to me. It doesn’t matter who was better or who you loved most. You’re with me now that’s all that matters to me.”
“Well, what if I did want to know how many guys there were before me, would you tell me the truth?”
“Sure, why not?”
“Then let me read your journal.”
“Can’t do that. It’s private, it’s too personal. Michael, I just write how I feel about things at any given moment. It’s not fair to read one page one day and read something completely different the next. You won’t understand. Just ask me if you want to know something.”
“All right. How many guys have you slept with before me?”
“Seventeen. Happy now?”
Michael’s body stiffens. Jeannine suddenly stiffens. Michael doesn’t make a move until Jeannine asks him, “How many women have you had?”
“I’ve only had three relationships.”
“Oh, please, Michael. Surely, you’ve had one night stands while in college.” Jeannine assumed.
“No.” Michael flatly said.
“Oh.” Jeannine whispered. “It doesn’t matter, does it, Michael?”
“No, of course not.”
Michael quickly gets out of bed and starts to get dressed. Jeannine props herself up and asks him where is he going. It was 2:30 in the morning.
“Out for a walk.”
Before Jeannine could respond, Michael reaches the front door and walks out. Jeannine opens the nightstand drawer and takes out her journal and writes, Mistake number one, never tell your man how many men you’ve had sex with.
Written by Jo Ann Rodriquez
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