Even if he could have done what she wanted him to, in her darkest reflections she thought she might have gone back to fucking strangers anyway. Her infidelity had never been what he thought it was. What most people can’t resist, what makes their steadfastness buckle, is the tenuous flowering of seduction. It’s the rushes felt in the blood as a small, new intimacy forms. The hours passed in another’s bed are not the worst threat to the betrayed. What rips at their hearts is the slight shift of attention, felt like a change in the wind. The burr of a secret, a chamber of their lover’s heart suddenly inaccessible. She couldn’t have explained it to him, she understood it so poorly herself, that the strangers were something different for her. Not a matter of intimacy at all, but a denial of it. She used them and discarded them, sustaining her conviction that she was utterly self-contained.
What she had wanted was to remain in the perfect, quiet place of unmade choices. But indecision is a precipitous emotion. It dismantles us, like vertigo, gives us a longing to fall and the inability to do so. True indecision reproduces itself like a hall of mirrors. The anguish it brings is intolerable, far worse than the remorse of a wrong choice. She suffered a more common variant, the false indecision that covertly masks an unwanted, unrecognized resolution. A choice that has in fact already been made.