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Today's Story by Guilie Castillo Oriard

My own moans haunt me, taunting in their shamelessness, but I’m not quite at guilt yet.


I lost it years ago. After twelve years of marriage, it is only to be expected. We love our life together, but passion? I tried everything, things I’m ashamed of. But that spark of all-consuming desire is out, and I learned to live with it. Until last night.

I travel for business, three or four times a year. Most of that business is conducted with men, and subdued flirting has always been part of the picture, but it never went beyond a few intense conversations, a lingering look or touch here and there. I always came back to my hotel room alone, perhaps a bit tipsy but never out of control.

Until last night.

I didn’t even drink that much. But tequila is treacherous. Michael ordered me a margarita, then shamed me into drinking it. And then another one. We’d been working the crowd at the post-conference cocktail, he for his company and I for mine, exchanging glances across the room, provoking each other when we coincided at the side of a particularly attractive prospect client, but it was all in good fun. We all understand the rules. When he suggested that we step outside to the terrace for a smoke, I took it as a truce. The first margarita was an olive branch, albeit a strong one, and when the second one arrived I was being wooed too skillfully to care.

By the time I looked around, the ballroom where the cocktail had been hosted was only occupied by the waiters cleaning up.

“I should go,” I looked around for my pocketbook.

“I should go with you.” Michael smiled, handing it to me.

I wasn’t drunk. I’d love to have that excuse; it’s just not true. I had a nice buzz going, but I knew what I was doing. When Michael took my keycard and preceded me into my suite, when he leaned against the wall and surveyed me with a slow smile, when he took the first step and I didn’t back away… I knew.

But I was starved for that kind of passion, the unquenchable thirst I’d thought I’d never feel again. To feel wanted, craved. Michael’s eyes roamed over my slowly unveiling skin with a hunger that almost scared me. Almost. I shut out everything, gave in with a whimper.

The seat in Economy is uncomfortable, too narrow. I should have splurged for Business. We’ll be landing soon, and my husband will be waiting. I’ve been busying myself with the reports I’ll have to deliver to the directors next week, but I haven’t made much progress. When I gaze out the window, I see not clouds or sky or the blue of the Caribbean under me. I see the rumpled sheets, the used condoms in the hotel’s flimsy plastic trash cans. My own moans haunt me, taunting in their shamelessness, but I’m not quite at guilt yet. Perhaps later, when my husband’s beautiful green eyes smile at me, brimming with the trust I’ve betrayed.

I rummage for my compact and a tube of mascara. Hard as I try, I cannot apply it without meeting my own eyes, and what I see there—the vacancy, the normalcy that in itself is weirdness—shakes me. I snap the compact shut. Extra mascara won’t help, anyway.


Guilie Castillo-Oriard is a thirty-eight-year-old Mexican writer currently exiled in Curacao. The events described here were inspired by reality. Cross-cultural encounters are a favorite subject of Guilie’s, and they inevitably find their way into her writing.


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