Chapter 27, Trophy Ring GoodbyeElizabeth Lin Johnson
Unlike with Edward, Enrico and I sparred for control, he uncomfortable with a woman challenging him. While having an engineering degree he was culturally backward. He never read novels and didn’t even read newspapers or magazines. To him, great music was the oldie and goodie radio station. He lacked a sense of life's irony, and his sense of humor was slapstick. He maintained his ego superiority by projecting faults onto others.
Combined, it resulted a fatal personality flaw, boring. As a result, I called him Mr. Schadenfreude instead of Mr. Supini due to feeding his ego by despairing people including his attempts at me.
“Schadenfreude, who’s he?”
“It fits you better than Supini. Perhaps you’re part German.”
“No, no, I’m Italian, Roma, all Italian.”
I’d wear Edward’s sapphire ring and look at it to remind me of him in comparison to Enrico.
Piqued at my faraway look, he finally inquired.
“Where’d you get that blue stone ring?”
“It’s a sapphire, a trophy ring.”
“Trophy, for what, humping?”
“It’s from a trophy lover.”
“Who was your trophy lover?’
“You don’t want to know.”
"Am I a trophy lover."
"Am I wearing your ring?"
"So, how do I be your trophy lover?"
"Start with a trophy ring."
That silenced him. Despite his high engineer income, he was financially stressed due to house payments as a late arrival to the Silicon Valley housing market.
I flashed Edward's ring more, stared at it while we talked and fondled it in his presence.
Soon in room 314, he presented me a little jewel box.
Inside was a gold ring with a mounted pearl. I said nothing, smiled, told him to undress and sit on the bed’s edge. He assumed I was happy, undressed rapidly and sat with Mr. Supini alert.
I stayed dressed, went to the bathroom, wet a towel in cold water, knelt before him and wiped his pubic area. I smiled while he complained about the cold wet towel, told him to hush, and massaged Mr. Supini.
Once it was at full attention, I told him to lie on his back and shut his eyes. I stood, got my purse and started toward the door; his pearl ring left abandoned on the nightstand. He cheated and peeked. He assumed I was getting a condom and smiled. When I put the purse strap over my shoulder and went to the door, he jumped up.
"What's wrong? What's the matter?"
I opened the door and yelled back.
"Half a trophy ring gets you half a date."
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 a week of his wooing before I agreed to meet him. He assured me when we met, I’d have a "full ounce" trophy ring. I gave him my ring size and told him I wanted a ruby.
We met again in room 314. There were roses but no Champagne. Next to the roses was a jewelry box. Inside was a gold ring with beautiful ruby stone and two diamonds.
I slid the ring on, 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, slid down the silk boxer underwear I’d bought him, and gave Mr. Supini an exotic stimulation while looking at the ring on my right hand to prep him.
Afterward we both finished, lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, I asked.
“What ‘d you 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 comeback to my rejection of it. I let it pass and put her in his safe wife category.
Shortly afterwards, on a room 314 rendezvous, I 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?"
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 left without a word. It was another week of his calling to apologize then my forgiving to meet for lunch at the Lyons restaurant he preferred. I wore “his” ring.
Sitting across from one another in the rear booth he chose, both of us taciturn, I took off the ring and broke the silence.
"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 want you to be happy. I want to be your trophy lover. What can I do to make you happy with me?"
"Stop being a bore, stop being Mr. Schadenfreude, always putting others down and stop being a cheapskate."
He ordered cheesecake when the waitress came, as if to proclaim he was no longer a cheapskate. Our conversation was strained but I held the upper hand, not caring if we met again. He asked.
"Can we meet at the Mall tomorrow?"
"I'm time stressed. We can have a quick lunch at noon."
“Not lunch, I want to get earrings for you. Something to replace the dangling pearls you always wear.”
“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, Cobra, felt guilt over the ruby ring. I eased up and selected an inexpensive gold hoops pair and told him to buy a pair of pearl earrings for his wife. He selected stud pearl earrings. I intervened and picked an expensive pair with large dangling pearls to match the ring he gave her. 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 how much they cost. I felt sorry for her, someone I’d never met while cheating with her husband.
I also tormented 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. What should I do when men do that?"
"Just walk away, ignore them."
"That’s rude. He asked if I liked to cook. I told him I love to. I just gave him my nickname, not my real name and told him I was married?"
I bragged about my husband, teased his wife might be seeing another and flirted with men when with him. The rift between us widened. I wanted an affair divorce.
The need to divorce wasn’t Enrico fault. It was me. The guilt of betraying my husband and family gnawed at me. I wanted my self-respect back. There was also a tinge of guilt over my treatment of Enrico. I needed a sop to announce the divorce he’d accept.
As so often, hubby came to the rescue. He announced he was tired of his job, the 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. He took a job in the Pacific Northwest. We were both excited to relocate. Silicon Valley had morphed into an alien world unfamiliar to us. I also wanted to return to who I was, the faithful wife. Moving on would cleanse my adulterous past and renew my marriage.
I reserved room 314 and told Enrico to meet me at noon the next day. He asked why I was getting the room but was pleased to avoid the expense and was relieved at the excuse it was my turn.
Previously I entered the motel lobby, went straight to the elevators, and rode up to room 314 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 almost a year, I suspected they did. Initially, I exited from a rear door, off the stairwell, but stopped caring what desk clerks thought and used an elevator and strolled out the lobby front door.
The maids knew room 314 was used short time by Enrico and me, knew I waltzed in shortly after Enrico, left in an hour and he left shortly after I did. They gave me a confident smile if I happened to pass their cleaning cart in the corridor, allies due to the small tips left.
I requested room 314 at the front desk. The desk clerk required the use of my credit card and name verification by my driver’s license. I paid cash for an advanced check out to avoid the charge showing up on my credit card statement. The desk clerk stared at my driver's license and credit card while he calculated the final charge, then, with a smirk, handed them back with my advance payment change.
I asked for the manager. When she arrived, I told her the clerk was imprudent, nosy, and insulting with his demeanor then went to my car. I brought up a dozen yellow roses, a small bottle of red wine, two bottles of Enrico's favorite beer, lasagna, and French bread with disposable eating utensils. I also brought the dress and shoes he'd bought for our first liaison and put them in the closet and wore for the earnings he’d recently bought. It required two trips. On the second trip, 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 told him a surprise. We sat, ate, and drank to small talk. As we talked, he tried to figure out what I was up to and behaved to avoid a potential argument. Meek was not in his character; he was ready to spar.
Our lunch finished, I got up, stripped, 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, I motioned him to enter me. Mr. Supini still felt good.
I stared at the ceiling as I let him have his last go. I was no longer emotionally attached. Once Mr. Supini spewed in the condom and he pulled out, I got up, showered, re-dressed, and sat at the table with the roses. He assumed I was in a time squeeze as he recharged his testosterone lying on the bed.
He jumped up naked.
"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 my prepared ego sop.
“My husband discovered your phone number. He thinks we’re having an affair. He wants to contact your wife. I told him I wanted to save my marriage and family. We agreed to move to the Pacific Northwest to save our marriage and start over.”
He snarfed it down 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.
I 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 was so appropriate for Enrico.
I resolved to get back to what my marriage originally was, me a super wife. 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 Nortec who I still confided in. Afterward, I rarely wore his trophy ring or thought of him.
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. 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. He was cheap because he was financially pressed due to high house payments. His biggest fault was his betraying his wife. Who was I to judge? I’d been petty and mean, he the depository of my frustrations. Our relationship wasn’t a battle of the sexes. It was unsophisticated philanderer met narcistic adulteress.
Author Notes: Wife dumps lover after getting trophy ring.
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