When meeting Enrico I wore Edward’s sapphire ring. Eventually he inquired about it. I said
“It’s from a trophy lover.”
Immediately he wanted to know what a trophy lover was. I didn’t answer. He then asked.
"Am I a trophy lover?"
I knew he assumed he was and was referring to Mr. Supini.
"Am I wearing your ring?"
"What do I need to do to be your trophy lover?"
"Start with a trophy ring."
This set him back and kept him quiet. Thereafter I flashed Edward's ring more and would look at while we were talking.
One day, meeting, in room 314, he presented a little jewel box. Inside was a gold ring with a mounted pearl. I said nothing, smiled, told him to get undressed and on the bed. He assumed I was happy.
I told him to lie on the bed and shut his eyes. I got up, took my purse next to the night stand and walked to the door. He sat up.
"What's wrong? What's the matter?"
I opened the door and yelled back.
"You got half a date for half a trophy ring."
I was in my car and gone before he could chase after me, if he did, a repeat of the "good wife" tiff.
It took him a week of wooing before I agreed to meet him. He assured me if we met I would have a "full ounce" trophy ring. I gave him my ring size and told him I wanted a ruby.
A week later we met at room 314. There were roses but no Champagne. Instead next to the roses was a jewelry box. Inside was an 18-caret gold ring with modest but beautiful ruby stone and two diamonds. I could tell the stone was a natural from Burma.
Putting Edward’s sapphire ring in my purse, I slid on his ruby ring, opened the window curtain and let the sunlight play on it. It was beautiful. I pushed him on the bed, slipped off his shoes, pulled off his trousers and slid down the silk boxer underwear I bought him.
It was as good as our first date, I asked afterwards.
“What'd do with the pearl ring?”
“I gave it to my wife.”
“What’d she, say?”
“She was elated. Kept asking, what’s the occasion.”
Saying she was elated was a bit of a comeback to my rejection of it but I let it pass and instead put her definitely in the safe wife category.
Despite high employment income, he was financially stressed due to house payments as a late arrival to the Silicon Valley housing market. Unlike Edward, Enrico and I sparred for control, he unused to a woman challenging him. While having an engineering degree he was culturally ignorant and didn’t read books. To him great music was the oldie but goodie radio station. He lacked a sense of life's irony and his sense of humor was slap stick. He maintained his elevated ego superiority by projecting faults onto others.
Other than sex he began to bore me and I started to torment him. I called him Mr. Schadenfreude.
“Schadenfreude, who’s he?”
“It’s a German you remind me of. I think you are part German, not all Italian.”
Still not getting it, he replied.
“No, no, I’m Italian.”
I enjoyed my little joke but it was true of his character. On one rendezvous, I intentionally didn’t wear his ring to keep him from assuming I was "safe". He noticed immediately.
"Where's your ring?"
"Ring, here's my wedding ring, where’s yours?"
As I flashed my left hand in front of him I thought.
At least he didn't say, where’s my ring?
Then he did.
"Where's my ring?"
"I was in a rush. Just forgot to wear it."
He got excited and I learned he was still making secret payments for it. He accused me of implying he should buy another. I immediately left without a word. It was another week of his calling, apologizing and my forgiving.
We met for lunch at the Lyons restaurant he preferred, I, wearing “his” ring.
Sitting across from one another in the rear booth he always chose, both of us taciturn, I took off the ring. Breaking the silence, I said.
"Here, you can have it back. I didn’t know it was unpaid for. I don't care if we meet again."
"No, no! Please, put it back on. I can't sleep worrying about you. I want you to love me not hate me. I want us to be happy. What can I do to make you happy with me?"
"Stop being a bore, stop putting others down and stop being a cheapskate."
He ordered cheese cake dessert as if to proclaim he was no longer a cheapskate. Our conversation was strained but I held the upper hand by not caring if we met again. As we left he asked.
"Can we meet at the Mall tomorrow?"
"I'm time stressed. We can have a quick lunch at noon."
Instead of lunch he insisted on shopping and asked if I would be upset if he purchased earrings for me as if saying he was submitting to my dominance, a new experience for both of us. I replied.
“Don’t think you can "buy me."
“No, no, I’m just trying to change. I do listen to what you say.”
At the jewelry store I eased up and selected a modest priced gold pair and told him to buy a pair for his wife. He selected a pair of simple gold stud pearl earrings for her but I intervened and selected a pair with large dangling pearls to match the ring he gave her. They were more expensive than the pair I selected for me.
He had the clerk ring up the credit charge with the price of both on the wife's pair only. I wondered if she was so "safe" to not question the price for her earrings. Later he said his wife was ecstatic again after he told her they cost so much because of the quality. I felt sorry for her, someone who I’d never met, while cheating with her husband. There was a twinge of guilt over my husband too. I wore Enrico’s earrings only once.
After a year I wanted to end the relationship. The more I knew him the less interesting he became. Despite his aroused size he lacked depth as a lover and didn’t appreciate the irony of life. He was too wrapped into himself to be a lover. I consider myself kind and never mean spirited yet was tormenting him. I’d become a bitch and would tease him with stories I made up.
"Enrico a guy came up to me at the market yesterday, you know the Lucky Store near my house. He just walked up and asked my name. Weird, huh, what should I do when men do that? It's happened more than once."
"Just walk away, ignore them."
"In a grocery store, isn't that rude? He might start following me. He asked if I liked to cook. I told him I love to. He was kind of cute. I just gave him my nick name not real name and told him I was married and didn’t give him my phone number. Do you tell women you’re married?"
I bragged about my husband, teased his wife might be seeing another, and flirted with men when in public with him. The friction between us increased. I wanted out.
Then at the start of 1979 my husband announced we were moving to the Pacific Northwest. He was tired of his job, traffic and the constant change of Silicon Valley. I agreed it was time to leave the world we grew up in which was no longer our world. Moving was our attempt to relocate to the world we did grow up in. Silicon Valley had morphed into an alien world. It was time to move on.
As the Enrico relationship sputtered I set an end date. For a change, I reserved room 314 and told him to meet me at noon the next day. He asked why I was getting the room but I suspect he was pleased to avoid the expense and he gobbled up my excuse it was my turn.
I had bought him a suit for Christmas and a gold bracelet on his birthday so spending something for him was not unusual but he still suspected something was up which it was but it was something down for him. There’d be no going away present.
Previously I went straight to the room with him waiting for my tap on the door. Desk clerks occasionally smiled at me as I walked to the elevator but I never took any recognition of them. I don’t know if they associated me with Enrico and room 314 but after a year I suspected they did. Initially I exited from a rear door off the stair well to avoid the lobby stare but after a while stopped caring what desk clerks thought, used the elevator and boldly strolled out the lobby front door.
I knew the maids knew when room 314 was used short time with I and Enrico the guests. They knew I waltzed in and out shortly after Enrico came and he left shortly after I exited. They gave me a confidence smile if I happened to pass their cleaning cart in the corridor. They were allies due to the small tips left. To ensure they knew the tips were mind not Enrico’s I lipstick kissed the dollar left.
When getting the room, I had to use my credit card and real name to check in but brought cash to pay for advanced check out to avoid the charge showing up in my statement. After registering I handed the clerk money for checkout charges including room tax.
The desk clerk stared at my driver's license and credit card for a long time as I requested room 314. He kept them until I paid cast then handed them back with a smirk with my change after calculating what the final charge was.
I asked for the manager. When she arrived, I told her the clerk was imprudent, nosy and insulting me with his demeanor then went to my car. I brought up a dozen yellow roses in a vase, a small bottle of red wine, two bottles of Enrico's favorite beer, lasagna in Tupperware, paper plates, butter, French bread and cheap silverware but no card. I also brought the dress and shoes he’d bought for our first liaison and put them in the closet and wore for the first time the earnings he bought. It required two trips and on the second I was pleased to see the clerk look down when I walked past.
When Enrico arrived, I had the blankets pulled off the bed. He gave a puzzled look with an expression of "what's up". I smiled, led him to the table, we sat, ate and drank to small talk and explained we were eating first for a change as the lasagna was getting cold. We talked mostly about people we knew from work as he waited to figure what I was up to and behaved to avoid a potential argument. Meek was not in his character. Instead he was a "good boy" but ready to spar.
Once the food, wine and beer were gone I got up and lay on the bed. He was relieved there was not going to be a spat and he was going to get it. Without foreplay or ceremony he had his last time.
Once Mr. Supini finished Idressed and sat by the table with the roses, looked over to the bed where he was recharging his testosterone and announced.
He jumped up and sat next to me.
"Why? Why" What's wrong?"
"I no longer love you."
A lie, the truth was I never did. He pleaded and asked me to reconsider. It was just for more time so he could tell me it was over. I gave him a male ego sop; my husband suspected I was seeing him after discovering his phone number and gave me an ultimatum including a threat to confront his wife. I told him I wanted to reconcile with my husband, didn’t want to have his wife find out and ruin her and my husband's lives and his and my marriages. I told him we were moving to the Pacific Northwest to save our marriage.
He snarfed it down especially the lie about his wife and said during sex he already knew it was over and was not surprised, his attempt to have the last word. In truth he knew nothing, not even why I was dumping him. He bored me.
I fixed my makeup, told him there was something in the closet and left without a kiss goodbye. In the car, I turned on the radio. The station was playing Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger. I laughed thinking it so appropriate for Enrico.
I resolved to get back to what our marriage had been originally. In addition to leaving the dress and shoes in the hotel closet I discarded everything Enrico gave me except the ruby ring. I stopped using Shalimar perfume and gave the earrings to the older lady at work who I confided in. Afterwards I rarely wore his ring or thought of him. A smile, however, crept up when I did knowing he never forgot the woman he did not control.
He never knew where I lived only knew my unlisted phone number. He called it a couple of times before we moved but I hung up when I heard his voice without responding knowing his calls were attempts to say the last put down. I smiled imagining his frustrated frown as the phone clicked silent. Once we moved to the Pacific Northwest he was only a dream memory.
Later in life I realized I was unfair to him. He was not evil or cruel, just unsophisticated and cheap yet I pounced on these to justify being petty mean, he the depository of my frustrations.
Author Notes: Wife dumps lover after getting trophy ring.