The Married Man
I was 29 when I started an affair with a married man. It would be the year that I woke up from a sleepy dream state of my youth and entered the maturity of a woman.
I had a college degree, a great job in Philadelphia, my own place, and my body was in shape. The way I saw it, I had everything.... All but one thing in particular; a man. Most of my childhood friends were already married, had children, or were engaged.... I was just traveling from coast to coast collecting passport stamps and souvenirs like my life depended on it. I lived with no regrets and I enjoyed all of the experiences. A weekend in New York or D.C. Followed by Sunday brunch, rooftop day parties, summers in Africa, late night soirees..... What more could an ambitious woman like myself ask for? I had men from all parts of the world literally falling at my feet at every twist and turn but those escapades were fleeting. Sexual rendezvous and dinners for two were a dime a dozen. I used to joke that I was a serial dater. I could out date anyone but I never quite made it to the finish line of the long-term relationship. To be fair, there were men that came into my life during those early years who professed their undying love for me..... But I did not have the time to engage. I wanted more from my career, more from them, more from life itself.
It was May, 2016 when I was scheduled to attend a National Conference for a major youth organization in Atlanta, Georgia. On this work trip it would be myself and another young male colleague and each of us would have our own hotel room for four days. Needless to say I was beyond excited to get away from the hustle and bustle of life in Philly and I wanted to do some partying. The day before I left, I remember the receptionist at my job jokingly say, "Maybe you'll meet someone at the club." I laughed hard and replied, "Yea right.... What am I gonna do with a man I met at the club?" I mean, it wasn't impossible, but it wasn't where I believed I would find my ideal mate. But hey... You never know right? And just like that I was off to Hotlanta, a place I had been numerous times before and loved for its beautiful weather and great nightlife.
I checked it to the Marriot Hotel in Downtown Atlanta at around 5pm, and to my pleasure my hotel room was large, spacious, and had two beds. Suddenly I felt more alone than ever. It was during moments like this that I wish I had a boyfriend that I could have invited to stay with me for the week. But, I decided to get past that and enjoy what the week had to offer. I was open to new experiences, people, and professional opportunities. My colleague, Devin, rang me to meet in the conference game room for dinner so I told him I would be down in ten minutes. When I arrived in the lobby, I was looking for the room, but halted when I saw this tall guy, around 6 ft 4 with an Omega Psi Phi bucket hat on and glasses staring at me. His stare lingered for almost an entire minute and penetrated me. I had already told myself that I wouldn't be so hype to respond to the first man that showed slight interest in me on this trip. So I played coy and pretended to ignore his penetrating stare and went into the game room. I didn't see the guy again for the remainder of the evening and I didn't even think he was apart of the conference so it didn't matter anyway. Just like that he was gone.
When I finally discovered where the game room was, Devin greeted me from a table he had reserved for us. We were both awe struck at how much money went into the conference and we were able to try different foods, play games, and mingle with other youth development professionals. I asked him, "Do you plan on going out at all while here?" Devin responded, "I'm not sure but I may, I have a friend out here I want connect with." I didn't even know he knew people out here. The truth is, Devin was really private and I had held onto my suspicions that he was possibly gay from an Instagram post he had liked recently, in which case Atlanta would be a great playground for him. But, he would never admit to it. We would just have to wait and see. After awhile I got exhausted from the traveling and I decided I wanted to get some rest before our first class at 8am the next day. I said goodbye to Devin and went upstairs to my room to sleep on the super soft mattress and prepare for the official day one of the conference.
I woke up feeling like the world was in my hands if I wanted it. And that I did. I got up on time, ironed my white shirt so that it would be crispy- something I almost never did, slid on my black pencil skirt, red lipstick, and slid on my black alligator loafers while placing my lanyard around my next . I was young but I came prepared. As I rode the elevator down I met two male professionals from Texas and update New York. We exchanged formal greetings headed into the main hall for the morning meeting. As I approached the conference room I became nervous, suddenly I was faced with hundreds of professionals and it all became so real that I was overwhelmed. At just the right moment Devin appeared and we searched for seats that were quickly filling up. As luck would have it, we ended up at a table with the two gentlemen I had met in the elevator. It was one of the more diverse tables aka we had more black people sitting with us. Because of this I was grateful and it was also a funny table with a mixture of personalities. It helped me to relax.