Collective Unconscious

What the garbage guy didn’t know was that the husband and the wife sometimes had “sex dates.” The two were strangers to him, so there was no way he could have known. He would have laughed had he heard this piece of private language the man and his wife shared, but it would not have been a ha-ha sort of laugh. The two were the NPR-ish sort, what the garbage man called snobs. He knew they were snobs after one glance into their garbage, at the art and business magazine titles he couldn’t pronounce. These people meant nothing to him. They were just a garbage stop on his normal day. What they chose to call their sex events never crossed his mind.

Another thing the garbage man didn’t know was that the wife insisted her husband accompany her to the health club they belonged to. She wanted the husband to see the effect of her tight abs and expensive breasts on the other men at the club. This was shorthand for she was considering leaving him.

Fridays, the garbage man observed the couple as they returned from their health club. Snatching and dumping trash bins in their cul-de-sac with the power lift, he would watch as the woman descended from the Lexus SUV wearing her thin silver leotard that showed everything and that reflected the morning sunlight like snake skin. He’d take her in like a snapshot, snap, and carry that snapshot inside his head late into the night.

Neither the wife nor the husband even noticed him. They often spoke of the poor as they sipped their wine, but they rarely saw any poor people.

***

Wine was always included in their sex dates. At first, it was the wine and only the wine. But that was early in their relationship, at a time when the other accountants at his firm teased the man, calling his wife-to-be a gold digger. She would sometimes arrive unannounced at his office two minutes before an important meeting, just long enough to show him her new Brazilian wax job. In those days, his wine and money were all it took for her. It was also during the getting-to-know-you Brazilian period that the man discovered his wife’s love for expensive French stockings. Before the breast enhancement surgery, all she’d had were those legs, which were her pride.

After a time, wine wasn’t enough – or maybe “enough” wine was too much.

***

The man was always discovering things about his wife. At first he loved this. Later he hated it.

When he first sensed that she was slipping away from him, he began surprising her with rare wine, expensive art and exotic stockings. They would sip Dom Perignon then she would excuse herself with a fetching smile and, at her dressing table, apply red lipstick before coiling sinuously into a red silk gown. She’d slither into the expensive black stockings and stand before the mirror in four-inch heels. She never thought of her husband as she watched the woman in the mirror rehearse for their sex date. Sometimes it would be a famous celebrity she thought of, other times a man she’d shared an elevator with or another she’d studied subversively at a traffic light. But never her husband, who made money but was soft all over and whose skin was sensitive to sunlight. When she returned, he’d pour champagne, she’d light a candle, and when she had finished her wine and felt like it, they would have a sex date.