Consider you, your wife, your marriage a moving vehicle. A car traveling the bland vastness of stale endlessness. Enter: the mistress. In this metaphor, I am not a third wheel. Not shoved in the trunk—a body beckoning rot. I am not approaching you at a stoplight to ask for what you are reluctant to give. Rather, I am the bird flying low, the one you stare at, make eye contact with, toy with to sneak in, to sync into your world. How you make it look like this could really happen. Us. That I could enter your life with ease. (Here, the ultimate tease.) But in the end, I am the bird thunking onto your windshield. That’s me—body splayed on glass, feelings fluffed, scattering about, bound to become fallen-off feathers. That’s me—not dead but in shock of the deception, of your boundary, of the reality of how The Other Woman never wins. And after the flailing, I tuck in my broken wings, limp back into the world, dizzy, wondering what the fuck just happened to me.
Chelsey Clammer is the award-winning author of the essay collections Human Heartbeat Detected (Red Hen Press, 2022), Circadian (Red Hen Press, 2017), and BodyHome (Hopewell Publications, 2015). Her work has appeared in Salon, The Rumpus, Brevity, and McSweeney’s, among many others. She teaches online writing classes with WOW! Women On Writing and is a freelance editor. www.chelseyclammer.com