There once was a woman who was in love with three men. The first man she loved was her husband. Thirteen years of matrimony had nurtured between them a deep and lasting intimacy. He worked hard to provide the things she desired. Their child was a natural composite of them both, and when she held him, she thought of her husband.
The second man the woman loved was a carpenter. The woman and the carpenter were old friends, friends since childhood, and though he had long ago wed another woman, and she her husband, they remained very close. In summers, the two couples often went on trips together. Although she would not confess to loving the man, in her heart she did and wished often for his hand to brush against her blouse, or to be alone with him and injure herself, so he would place his hands on her without shame.
The third man the woman loved was a neighbor with a motorcycle. He was young and worked on cars and he drove his motorcycle around the neighborhood faster than the posted speed limit. With this man the woman had been infidelitous. On Saturday mornings, after her husband had left to play golf with friends, she would walk next door and the two would make love once, never more, and then she would return home. After four months the woman decided to end the affair, because the man had fallen madly in love with her. Once, the two lovers held each other on a muggy summer morning, huddled close and comfortable in each other's embrace. The man turned to the woman and said, "I want to show you how much I care for you. I want to ride my bike to Kentucky and back. I will, when I get that spare part I was telling you about. You watch." She decided then that she should discontinue the affair, but still, she loved him very much and often thought of him when making love to her husband.
Loving the three different men in her three different ways was the woman's secret. She held this secret close to her heart and wondered to herself, in those moments when she watched her little boy play in the backyard or stared at the water in the bathtub spiral and spin down through the drain, who the next man she would love would be. She wondered if the next man would fall rabidly in love with her, like the man with the motorcycle. She wondered how many men it would be possible to love at once. And when she wondered this last thought, she wondered if she could keep that secret, as well.