When it was time for recess, the children formed a line in obedience to their beloved teacher; then, when the PE instructor came to the door and announced she was ready, my wife dismissed them; excitedly, with some noise and a bit of jostling, they left the classroom and processed down the hallway towards the door leading to the playing fields.

Now she was alone. I crept into the room, and found my feet taking me slowly, stealthily, to the desk where she sat. My wife had her eyes closed, and was rubbing her shoulders, clearly enjoying these few minutes of quiet. I moved ever closer, closer, to the point where my face was practically touching the nape of her neck. Her eyes snapped open, and for a moment she looked alarmed; I backed away and she shouted, “Who’s there?” I said nothing, stood stock still, and she gazed around the room with aroused incredulity.  I longed ardently to identify myself, to make myself visible, to render myself manifest to her sight, but I held my drive in check and did and said absolutely nothing for a long moment, merely remaining stationary in a spot roughly two feet away from her.

It suddenly struck me that, in the absence of visibility, I could also possibly represent myself energetically, as it were, in order to broadcast myself in a vibrational manner. I focused my mind with scrupulous acuity toward achieving this end. I moved slightly closer, or rather I thought I had moved closer; in fact, my body hadn’t moved even an inch. And yet, I found that my right arm was now reaching out, and my fingers were running through her lustrous locks. Part of me felt shocked at my own seeming effrontery, as well as the most unexpected revelation that I could operate a seemingly spiritual, yet also corporeal body while my natural body remained inert. Yet I somehow held those emotions in abeyance, even in the midst of such incredible discoveries. Instead, I focused only on my wife, and saw that in fact she no longer was afraid or apprehensive about this mysterious invisible being in her midst; rather, she seemed to have lapsed into a kind of trance; her breaths began to grow louder and as my spiritual-yet-corporeal hand moved from her hair to her face, where I stroked first one cheek, then the other. Now she sighed, in that telltale manner that I still could recall so many years later, the one she could never seem to restrain, even if she wished to do so, the sigh expressing, in its delicate way, the depths of desire that had seized her. I called it her “telltale sigh,” after Poe’s story about the arousal of untamed passion (albeit in a quite different context), called the “telltale heart.”

As my spiritual yet corporeal hands now moved downwards to her chest, an extraordinary thing happened; I heard her whisper my name. Did she know that this was me, albeit in a more mature form? Or did she utter my name simply out of habit? In any case, as now both of my spiritual hands caressed her breasts, her legs instantly splayed open. With one adventuresomely dexterous invisible appendage, I pulled her skirts up and thrust my fingers beneath her underwear and into her now thoroughly-drenched crotch; in mere moments, she had climaxed, but I was not yet finished with her; I willed my lips to meet hers and she instantly responded by tangling her tongue with mine, and though my actual body was set apart, I felt everything: felt her tongue poking vigorously into my mouth, felt my fingers once again work her to a second golden moment…

The school bell suddenly rang, startling both of us and bringing our entanglement to an abrupt end. I removed my lips from her mouth and took my hand from her crotch, placing each back inside of my actual body. She hurriedly pulled her skirts back down and adjusted her hair as the kindergarten children began to enter the room again, little aware of what their beloved teacher had just experienced…

As for myself, I found myself so bewildered with what I had just dared to do—at her place of work, no less!—that, even with all of the other fantastical things that had happened to me lately, I had a difficult time believing that I had witnessed, and moreover participated in, what had just transpired.

Yet when I put my hand in front of my face, I found that it what now coated my fingers was evidence that the tryst had indeed occurred, at my instigation, and with my young wife’s enthusiastic consent.

That enthusiasm lay so pungently on my hand that I even licked it, in order that my sense of taste could also be engaged by this extraordinary encounter.

My young wife’s scent lingered alluringly on my tongue for several hours afterwards.

When our initial tryst in the schoolroom was interrupted by the return of the children from recess, I had backed away quickly from the scene of the crime, as it were, and left the room from the still-opened door, managing this time to avoid jostling against any of the children with my unseen body. Afterwards, I stood at the door and gazed in, partly out of concern,  and—I must admit to you, my simultaneous confidant and confessor—partly because I was quite curious to witness how, indeed if, my young wife would be able to lapse back into everyday behavior in the immediate aftermath of such an extraordinary encounter.

After all, if I myself were genuinely shaken, if just as genuinely aroused, by what had taken place between us, admittedly at my own instigation, but just as surely with her enthusiastically willing submission and full-throated consent, so I could only imagine how bewildered she must have felt in the aftermath of such an unexpected entanglement with an invisible entity.

Somehow, my young wife seized upon that wondrous ability, which we all possess (though it comes much more easily in a pinch to some of us than it does to others), to decompartmentalize. Perhaps she told herself that it had all merely been a kind of waking dream, or a most unexpectedly vivid fantasy which struck at an incredibly inopportune time.

By whatever means she managed it, my young wife was able to recover with remarkable panache. Yet no one save myself was enabled to marvel at her ability to remain thoroughly poised under such an inexplicable circumstance, for excepting herself, no one but me knew what had just happened.


The next thing I wondered was how she would deal with facing her husband—that is, my younger self—that evening, given her apparent infidelity with a seeming spectre. Would she mention that she had had some kind of “incredible dream” while her kids were at recess? Given that she had spoken his (and my) name, could she have possibly rationalized her seduction by the invisible being as merely another marital encounter, albeit a most bizarre one, in which her husband took a form that had previously been unknown to her?

She must not have felt totally secure with this interpretation of events, because that evening, when she and her young husband met, she made no mention of the incident. Instead, she gave herself fully and passionately to him, with nary a word, as soon as he walked through the door.

Once more, like T.S. Eliot’s Tiresias (and the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” a song which, technically speaking, hadn’t yet been written in the past where I now dwelt), I regarded myself as an intrusive presence, a spectral voyeur illicitly privy to the lovers’ ferocious coupling. However, unlike the night prior, when I had witnessed all from the backyard window, on this evening I sensed that my young wife’s ardor, more robust than ever, seemed in part to be inspired by the events of the afternoon. It could have been that she now made love to her husband so fiercely out of a desperation to forget what she had done at the school, or it could have been that the very memory of my unseen hands along the full width and breadth of her frame had sparked her to heights of ecstasy that she in fact wished never to forget, and that her husband’s body now functioned as little more than a proxy by which to recharge this sentiment…


For the next few days, I kept a cautious distance from my young wife. I didn’t accompany her to work, as I had on that fateful day; instead, I crept to the corners of the lovers’ hovel and tried to give them some both some room. On several occasions, I found myself sharing a room with my younger self; I watched him read, watched him write, watched him study, watched him watch television, and I even occasionally watched him turn on the computer and activate that newfangled device known as the “Internet,” which could of course only be accessed when neither occupant of the lovers’ hovel was on the landline telephone (though at this juncture no one yet called it a “landline” phone; it was simply the phone one had in one’s house).

I saw myself through my unseen eyes, and felt an affection akin to that of a father: here, I saw, was a kid with a lot of energy, possessed of big dreams. Not that grad school was always fun; at times, in fact, it could be quite a chore. And some professors were rather irritatingly pompous. My young self didn’t take being slighted very well; he’d even gotten into an extended dispute with one haughty prof over email, in which, after withdrawing from the class before the midterm deadline, he taunted this arrogant creep by telling him, “Sorry you don’t get to fail me!”

When his young wife saw this exchange, she was not amused. He had shown it to her freely, somehow quite mistakenly thinking that she would take his side, and find his nerviness impressive. Instead, she was utterly appalled that he was displaying such impudence to a professor, one who could potentially wreck his academic and professional prospects. She begged him to apologize to the man and fretted over the repercussions this surely silly, seemingly petty dispute might wind up having. Would he get expelled? Would he acquire a reputation of being a troublemaker?

This incident affected my younger self deeply, caused him to feel sorrowful, as well as somewhat betrayed. How could the woman who held him in such esteem, who had even felt a sort of reverence for him at times, but who in any case surely adored him, suddenly demonstrate such utter absence of trust or support for him?

Of course, were this young man honest with himself, this hadn’t been the first time that such a proclivity had manifested itself on her part. His wife, after all, wasn’t the sort of person who relished the prospect of clashing with authority. Indeed, she often found her young husband’s occasional tendency to take conspicuous umbrage with a supervisor, an administrator, or a professor (as in this case) always to be deeply disconcerting.

I recalled these things as I observed my young self now, sitting at my desk, at work on some paper or other. I would eventually embark upon an academic career of sorts, but it would be short-lived. As a writer, I would eventually join up with a dissident literary and cultural movement, and though I never became anything close to a “household name,” my association with this controversial group would eventually cause my name—though (as previously stated) not a “household” one—nevertheless to assume a patently radioactive valence, which in turn would prohibit me from ever obtaining mainstream respectability, much less a job with “respectable” pay.

Naturally, this turn of events—which would occur years later—would cause our relationship to grow evermore strained, until it was finally stretched beyond its breaking point.

Yet this eventuality crept up slowly. Things had disintegrated for a while in a low-key manner, but the downslide truly began in earnest after our daughter was born, when my wife’s postpartum doldrums struck, and it extended well beyond those immediate months, when such hormonal difficulties typically wore off, and became an unfortunate fixture of our married life, an invisible and unwanted guest at our table.

At some point, I became aware that little I did was ever reckoned to be enough for my wife. I didn’t help out enough around the house, I didn’t help out enough with the baby, I didn’t make enough money at my job. My writing, once I managed to attract some readers, was too polarizing, in all the wrong ways, which led to my professional prospects growing significantly more limited, doing little to ameliorate our domestic tensions.


Slowly, painfully, things ran their tragic course, and our marriage came to the very fated end that had been so abundantly portended and presaged over the last few trying years.

It wasn’t really so ugly a divorce as it could have been. Part of that may be attributable to some residual goodwill on the part of both parties, who never stopped caring for one another regardless of how violently they had both been flung out of love. Both of us retained contact with the daughter they shared, and there was no ugly battle in the courts.

Still, I must admit that I never really recovered from the gut punch of my marital and professional failures, and my heart and my ego were both effectively shredded from this turn of events. Hence the opening scene of this strange tale, wherein my needless humiliation at the hands of my boss (who, I neglected to report, not only drives a sports car, but also has a personalized license plate to boot, one which spells out the initials of his first, middle, and last name, no less…this is the man, at least 15 years my junior, to whom I am expected to pledge allegiance and swear fealty?), followed by my effort to bring my earthly existence to an end with the help of a well-placed belt functioning as a makeshift noose.


That account of events effectively brings things to the “present,” and yet my scene, as you can see, dear confidant, has unaccountably shifted to the past, or at least to something closely resembling the past. I was still unsure as to the actuality of what I saw and heard from my willfully chosen invisible vantage point.

It was this absence of surety over what was truly real that, at least in part, motivated my behavior from that juncture forward. I do not declare this out of any effort to justify myself or rationalize anything. But that was just it; there was nothing “rational” whatsoever about the circumstance into which I had been thrust; instead, it was like a massively elongated fever dream, even though I must admit that it didn’t in the least feel like any kind of dream I had ever had before. Instead, it felt quite real, I had to admit. But still, what did “real” even mean, given everything I had experienced?

And so, like one who dreams, and becomes aware that he is dreaming but remains asleep, I began to indulge my whims without restraint. As the reader will no doubt surmise, most of my whims focused upon the person of my young wife.

I had already successfully seduced her on that fateful day at her school, so I had something to build upon. What was more, she had neglected to mention anything about the incident to my younger self, but had only greeted him that evening with increased erotic fervor, which to me was highly suggestive of two things: 1) she knew it would be best to keep the experience (whatever she had perceived it to be) a secret from her husband (that is, from my younger self), and 2) she had found our entanglement to be a source of considerable delectation, as indicated (again) by the enhanced level of passion that she displayed that evening whilst making love to her husband (that is, my younger self).

I knew, therefore, that she must be thinking, wondering, perhaps even dreaming (if, that is, she were indeed real, and not just a part of my own dream fabric, like everything else my consciousness had been experiencing since my unsuccessful effort at self-extinguishment) of future encounters with this phantom lover who had introduced himself to her so memorably on that day (now nearly two weeks ago).

Sensing that that was indeed so, I waited even longer, to prolong her desirousness and work it up to a near-unbearable threshold. During that span of time, of course, she did not neglect to attend to her marital relations, but I had the impression that, regardless of how conscientiously she strove to keep things “spicy” in the bedroom with her husband, their lovemaking had in fact now become something of a chore for her; my young wife in fact hungered, ever more ravenously, to re-experience contact with that mysterious being who had engaged her so seemingly randomly on that occasion, at first startling her until she sensed a familiarity with him that she couldn’t quite explain, even to herself.

That very warmth of impossible affinity, paradoxically coupled with an equally intense apprehension of utter incomprehension regarding his presence and identity, filled her with an intense yearning which tied her insides up in knots. She wished eagerly for his return, so that those knots might at least be aggressively loosened, if not forcibly unfastened, that she may know true release, and relief, again.


For all installments of “The Man Who Cuckolded Himself,” click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2