I was busy trying to finish the huge bowl of cereal I had made for myself before it turned soggy when my friend Irene started telling me about a postcard she had received from one of their old roommates, Crispen. He had moved away to live in Ireland. At one time, Irene, Crispen and Bess had all lived together in that same house.
Now it was just Irene and Bess.
I looked up at the postcard with absolutely no interest at all and said “Did he also address it to Bess?” She peered down at the postcard and then flipped it over, “No, it’s just to me.” and she smiled. “That’s kinda weird, doncha think?” She looked at me and shrugged. I continued to spoon cereal into my mouth that was still crunchy, but quickly reaching the saturated point if I didn’t eat a little quicker.
I concentrated on my bowl and remarked “You don’t think it’s odd that he didn’t address it to her too? I mean, they slept together the whole six months he lived here.” Irene looked up from the card, not smiling, “No they didn’t.” I nodded and continued scooping cereal into my spoon, chasing the luckiest of charms around and around the bowl. “Yes, they did. I remember she told me that after sex he was so sensitive that he didn’t like for her to touch him, so she would go back to her room. I told her that it wasn’t that he didn’t like to be touched. It was a booty call! And she got mad at me.”
I was quietly chuckling at my joke when I looked up and saw Irene’s face.
Uh-oh…what had I said to provoke the look she was giving me?
I pushed my almost empty cereal bowl away and said “What?”
Irene closed her eyes and struggled to form words with her mouth. It looked like she was ready to cry, but I waited to hear what she would say. Then it kind of hit me. She didn’t know Bess and Crispen had an affair! Well, it was more like a tap because what she said next really threw me for a loop.
“It’s not possible that Bess slept with Crispen the whole time he lived here! Because I slept with Crispen the whole time he lived here!”
I could not hold it in if I had tried!
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! HOLY CRAP! THAT HOUND DAWG!!!”
And then I laughed so hard I thought I would throw up my lucky charms all over Irene.
Here they were, Irene and Bess, sworn besties with secrets and sisterhood that they never had a problem throwing in your face. Two women that claimed to be so close and so loyal to each other that no other would ever put asunder. And they had shared the same man for six months and not only did they not know it, but they had never confided the fact to each other! I was dying to hear the reason!
“HOW COULD YOU TWO NOT KNOW?!”
Irene was blinking her eyes like mad now and I knew she was trying very hard not to cry. It probably helped stoke some anger instead of sadness that I was sitting there grinning like a fool and thinking this was all hysterically funny.
“We had a rule.” she started in a small and choked voice “We had a rule not to sleep with him if he moved in.”
“Well that worked out splendidly!” I guffawed. “Bess told me that she would sneak into his room in the middle of the night. Please tell me when he had you penciled in on his copulation calendar.” Irene looked away from me, still blinking and replied “We always did it when Bess was at work.”
HAHA!!! I laughed! “That guy had it made! You know he didn’t move out to go live in Ireland! He moved out because he never got any rest! What a dawg!”
I was giggling uncontrollably and my mirth was contagious because Irene started smiling now too. It was one of the most hilarious pictures of a roommate situation gone terribly wrong that I had ever seen in my life.
And then Irene stopped smiling and got very serious. “Do you think Bess and Crispen used protection?” I shrugged. “I dunno Irene, I never asked. Why?”
Now this was a time when Genital Herpes was just on the scene as the newest STD. It was a time when anyone that was diagnosed with Genital Herpes carried the stigma secretly and with shame, but not our Bess. No siree! Bess was the woman in the grocery store checkout lane ahead of you that would turn and tell you she was right in the middle of a very bad breakout and that her crotch was on fire at the moment. If Bess could have worn a teeshirt emblazoned with I HAVE GENTIAL HERPES!, she would have done so proudly.
Exactly how did Bess catch Genital Herpes, you might be wondering?
I’ll tell you how.
She made it her business to bed almost every guy I dated for a time. I was always the hold out. I never slept with just anyone I dated and usually waited a bit to see if I fell in love with them before embarking on any kind of sexual encounter. I’m sure I left many of them frustrated and aching. Well, that is until they met my roommate at the time, Bess.
And that’s how it happened to her. She slept with a guy I was dating and he had Genital Herpes. Of course, he wasn’t telling anyone, so neither of us knew he was infected. I had no plans to have sex with him, so asking that question wasn’t on my agenda at all. But Bess soon found out without asking either and then she had to confess to me what she had been doing with all of my dates behind my back the whole time.
It was awesome.
It was also a true test of friendship because even knowing what she had done and the price she was paying, we remained good friends for many years.
For a while after she was diagnosed, she became almost virginal. She wasn’t having sex with anyone, but I’m guessing that didn’t last long because now here I was witnessing yet another escapade that had Bess’s vagina prominently right in the middle of it.
If I were in Irene’s shoes at the moment, I’d be a little worried too.
That is one degree of separation you never really want to have with a friend. Not only were all three of them swapping spit without knowing it, they were also swapping body fluids. It wasn’t the sexiest threesome and definitely not the definition of menage a tois you see in the movie theater.
As the years went by, the three of us, Bess, Irene and I, eventually drifted apart. The drift with Crispen was much more quick and to the point and happened shortly after our breakfast club morning.
Irene and Bess had it out that afternoon.
They started out yelling. It crescendoed into blood boiling screams. Then dissolved into tears and hugs. I was asked to mediate, but ended up sitting in the corner of the sofa out of reach, but poised to call the police if knives or weapons were drawn.
So here’s the deal…if you have an agreement not to sleep with your roommates, you really should honor that. If you don’t, you never know when you’ll be loving more than the roommate you’re in bed with. It’s a great way to catch something you don’t want, or lose something you do.