Summer 2010 - THE POTOMAC

Springtime Affair
   Ellis Hunter Loth

It’s springtime and the lengthened days caress the Earth, coaxing out her shy greenness with warm rays and patience.  The musk is in the air, that scent of budding leaves and thawing sod, which drives the animal population to a reproductive fervor.  Testosterone and estrogen peak, driving unsuspecting individuals to new levels of interaction.  Once simple, concrete lives are tangled up by this new factor, this overriding instinct to mate.   Antlers lengthen, harden, drop their soft fuzzy coating.  Fur thins in preparation for warmer days.  Eggs are laid, like innuendo, for a mate who will surely appear any moment now.  Each sex leaves scented hints, nuances designed by nature to drive the other gender wild.

I, for my part, shed : long silken strands to cling to you and haunt you through the day.  When you least expect it, sitting down to dinner, you will find it— one gossamer, specialized, follicle of fur clutching to the sleeve of your sweater for dear life.  You’ll get angry and call me up. “You need to keep your hair to yourself,” you’ll complain, “You don’t want my wife to start asking questions, do you?”

Of course not.

The point of sneaking around it not to get caught, after all.  Not that I expect your half-witted, short-red-haired wife to put two-and-two together based on one long strand dropped from my golden coif.  If she hasn’t noticed my perfume clinging to you when you go home and crawl into bed beside her do you honestly suppose she will recognize one measly hair, excessive in length though it may be?

I don’t really think it’s about her at all, I tend to think it’s about you; ashamed and trying to avoid the lingering evidence of our meetings in the copier room.  Three o’clock, sharp.  You’d love nothing more than to take me against the fax machine, then close your eyes and have me disappear, along with your guilt. Convenient how you place all the shame of our desire onto me: I seduced you, I wanted this. That way you can feel guilty of me, not of yourself, and when I’m not around you can forget about the trail my fingernails made up your thigh under the boardroom table, not to mention countless other stolen caresses.

So, in your mind you say I planted it; stuck it to your sweater with little drops of glue for the sole malicious purpose of unnerving you and reminding you of what I forced you to do today in the copier room.  Clearly I am grasping, conniving, and manipulative.

But really, it was an accident.  It’s spring and I—I am a mammal like every other; I shed.
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