After 17 years of marriage, I had a little affair with my wife. Because it happened on an airplane, to this day I find flying especially erotic. On this particular family trip I had arranged the seating for our various connecting flights from Newark to Dallas-Fort Worth, then from there to San Antonio, where we were taking our two, young sons to visit family. In making our travel plans, my wife noticed that I had reserved seats for her and our five-year-old one row ahead of me and our three-year-old.
“That sucks there aren’t seats for us all in a row,” she said. “Why don’t you take the one in front this time?”
“No, I actually planned it like this,” I replied. “And I insist that you sit there,” I added, plopping Theo, the three-year-old, in the middle seat next to my coat.
“What are you talking about?” she said (a little edgy from the travel) as she sat down and leaned over the seat behind her to talk with us.
“Well,” I admitted, “I have a little thing for this dark-haired woman sitting in front of me, a hot single mom. I want to look at her on the flight, and if I’m feeling a connection, maybe…you know…hit on her a little.”
At first she kind of rolled her eyes, mentally checking the box of the category for weird husband (and I consistently score high on that survey, according to her). That was the wife I’ve known all too well and with whom I’ve already had five little fights on the way to the airport about directions and why she won’t let me drive because of her getting car sick.
A second later, however, things changed. There was a slight shift in her reaction after initially blowing me off. In retrospect, I’m sure such slight shifts often occur in our interactions, but I’m usually too frazzled in our routine with the kids to notice.
For a split second, she became the woman of my dreams. It happened when she got up to take her son (and most of this fantasy involves me momentarily disclaiming the kid with her) on the walk down the aisle to the potty. She paused for a brief moment before me. I looked her up and down, really sexy-like. If it were a business environment, I’d be risking sexual harassment. This cracked her up a little, and I sensed I had a real chance with her.
Later in the trip, before we reached San Antonio, things got even more enticing. I finally summoned the strength to ask her if she liked the book she was reading, where she was headed, and all the usual banter. We both sort of broke out of character, along with our kids, when I asked her son what his name was and made an attempt to introduce my son to the other boy and his mom. The whole family got the collective joke, trying to sustain it with more questions as we kept cracking ourselves up. Fortunately, things fell back into place when I asked about her earrings (she said her ex-husband had bought them for her). I then started to play a little with her hair.
Of course my ultimate desire in the moment was for the first time becoming a member of the mile-high club, taking her into one of the two, cleaner compartmental bathrooms and losing myself in sex with her positioned on the edge of that metallic sink (which, like a gentleman, I’d first wipe down). I even wanted at some point in our frenzied love-making for an irate flight attendant to have figured out what we were up to, perhaps because we’d fail to return to our seats near landing or during turbulence after the fasten-seat belt sign had come on. We’d eventually emerge and start the return to our seats, relieved and exhausted, her hair messed up and both of us continuing to arrange our clothing as we walked down the aisle, making all of the other passengers, who at best reluctantly caught up on some lame movie they’d decided not to watch at home, extremely jealous.
I knew the impossibility of such a scenario, especially with a kid beside each of us in a window seat. Even so, it was my once-in-a-lifetime, ultimate in-flight movie. I knew that she knew I was screening it in my head the whole time as I made things a little more romantic, ordering a dark chocolate candy bar for her from the flight attendant in hush tones and instructing that it be delivered to the lady one row ahead of me. My wife mouthed the words “thank you” and blew me a very hot kiss. She then even more clandestinely snuck a couple of squares to our son beside her, hoping not to kill the mystery with the mundane engagement of parenting.
Much later that night, in the guest bathroom at my mother’s house after our kids finally fell asleep, she surprisingly turned my whole constructed intrigue around on me. While brushing her teeth with her pajamas on, she started asking how my flight went today, and whether I met anybody on the plane.
“You wouldn’t believe this dark-haired woman I sat behind” I told her, as she put lotion on her face.
“What was her name?” she asked.
“Janette,” I told her.
“What was she like?”
“Smoking hot.” I said, starting to brush my teeth. “I have to say she was the sexiest, most seductive woman I’ve ever met.”
“Wow,” said my wife, with a certain tone of ennui, as if casually commenting upon a mildly interesting event I’d tell her at work. “Was she into you?” she asked, now brushing her hair.
“I think so,” I said, “but it’s always hard to tell.”
“Did you take her in the bathroom to…you know…join the mile-high club?” she asked, as we both peered in at our sleeping kids next door to the guest room.
“No,” I said, holding the guest room door open for her, “but I really wanted to.”
“You should have tried,” she said casually.
We both read in silence from the books that we hadn’t touched on our journey, and after a few minutes, kissed each other goodnight, turned out the bedside lamps, and went to sleep.
Roger Sedarat is the author of two poetry collections: Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio University Press's 2007 Hollis Summers' Prize, and Ghazal Games (Ohio University Press, 2011). He teaches poetry and translation in the MFA program at Queens College, City University of New York.