We met for lunch. While not yet spoken, we both knew where we were inextricably bound. There was no conversation to that effect, but our glances carried unmistakable messages. We were married, but not to one another.
She was exciting to a man whose marriage had grown dreary and tired. The slight parting of her lips and the promise in her smoky blue eyes indicated that she had already sensed and tested my vulnerability, and I in turn, conveyed masculine promises of my own with looks that had but one interpretation.
Amid the clinking of dinnerware and the bustling of waiters, we spoke quietly of our secrets and agreed on our mutual desires. Under the table, I felt the soft pressure of her calf against my leg, as the shadow of anticipated pleasure played upon her full lips. I watched her nod silently in assent over the rim of my wine glass, as the slight breeze of the ceiling fan wafted her intoxicating scent to my waiting nostrils. But it also brought the scent of something faintly distasteful; the odd scent of decay, perhaps something gone bad in the kitchen. Then it was gone, and we left.
I had taken a small apartment in the city for the nights when I worked late and the commuter trains were done for the day. The ride by taxi was too long and too expensive, so it was deemed better by both my wife and me to simply spend the night in the city rather than tire myself needlessly. To be honest, I did not plan on any other use, but it was now our destination.
No sooner was the door shut, than she was in my arms, her lips seeking and searching. The lovemaking went on and on, until exhaustion overtook us. The room was filled with the heady scent of her perfume and our lovemaking. But there was also another scent; a faint foul odor, something fetid and putrid like rotting garbage. I consciously attributed it to the dumpster in the alley, but in the back of my mind, I had my doubts.
We met again the following Tuesday, and again whenever the opportunity presented itself. The lovemaking became more intense each time, and we found ourselves throwing all inhibitions aside, delving into the darker side of everything. And, though I never mentioned it to her, the faint stench of death and corruption had gradually become overpowering, mingling with her perfume in a horrid dance of competing, sickening odors until I could barely keep myself from throwing open the windows in a desperate need for fresh, clean air. Yet she seemed to notice nothing.
In our last and final meeting, the smell was truly overpowering, and for the first time, I accepted that it was the stench of pure evil. What had attracted me, now repulsed me. Her formerly seductive eyes seemed to convey a look of predation, while her lips were no longer rosy so much as blood-filled and uninviting. I pulled myself from her embrace, and stammered out an excuse. I had to be rid both of her and the stench at once before it drove me into madness.
It was not until after she had left in tears, that I finally realized the evil, sulfurous stink of sin was not emanating from her at all. It was coming from me.