YOUR WIFE’S GYM FRIEND IS DRUNK by Kyle Seibel

YOUR WIFE’S GYM FRIEND IS DRUNK by Kyle Seibel

Your wife’s gym friend is drunk. Not outrageously drunk, but too drunk to drive. According to her, he went to a work happy hour thing that morphed into a dinner thing which became a cocktails thing and now he is stranded somewhere in the city. There are no Ubers apparently or the wait is too long, so he calls your wife and asks for a ride, that is, of course, if it’s alright with you.

“I don’t understand,” you say. “He’s getting kicked out of the bar?”

She’s standing near the door with car keys in her hand. “No, just drunk. I said that already.” 

“You’re really going downtown now?” 

She taps her phone. “It’s not that late.” 

You turn off the TV and say you’ll come too. Your wife drops her keys and they crash on the tiles. 

“Perfect,” she says, picking them up.

#

It’s just after Christmas last year that your wife declares war on her gunt. When you ask her what a gunt is, she lifts up her shirt and pulls down her pants and points to the crepey pouch of tissue on her lower stomach. Say goodbye, she says, grabbing and shaking it. To her credit, she follows through. Your wife wins the war against her gunt. She wins the war and just keeps going.

And at first, there’s no issue. Not really. The gym is her space, her time. You’re happy for her, even. You have your places too. Your own gym, for example. Your office friends, you’re close with them. You know intimate things about each other. Brad from account services tried to kill himself in college, for example, and Sue Ann the media planner recently had plastic surgery on her vagina. But they know you as well, know when something’s off. It is Brad, in fact, who brings it up first. Comes over for a beer one night and asks where your wife is.

“At the gym,” you say.

“Didn’t she go this morning?” Brad says. “Didn’t you mention that?”

“That was a class,” you say. “Boot camp or something. This is free weights. Or yoga, I forget.”

“Does she do that a lot, go to the gym twice a day?”

“Well,” you say. “She usually goes three times.” 

Brad takes a long drink of beer, wipes his mouth, looks away, and says jesus.

#

Your wife’s gym friend is wearing an untucked black shirt with the top three buttons undone. He is sitting in the passenger seat and giving you directions to his condo. Your wife follows behind, driving his car, which is some kind of SUV off-road type thing. It’s got a big stovepipe situation coming out of the hood, which he says comes in handy more often than you might think.

He talks about work. He asks you what you do. When you tell him, he makes a face and says, “Damn dude!” 

Looking over, you notice your wife’s gym friend must shave his chest. You can tell because he has stubble. It distracts you for some reason. You roll a yellow light and pull over on the next block to wait for your wife to catch up.

“Ah, just keep driving,” your wife’s gym friend says. “She knows where she’s going.”

#

You’d be more concerned if there was more to be concerned about. There’s a thing called trust, you tell Brad and Sue Ann. I trust her, you say. Ten years, you remind them. That’s a long time. 

But they don’t look convinced. They think it’s weird, all the time at the gym. And it’s not their fault, they just don’t know, don’t understand the extent of the situation. You’re not one of these shithead husbands. You do the dishes, your own cooking. You’re not ignorant or moody. You’re an adult, goddamnit. It’s how you’ve always been. Virtually nothing has changed since the day you were married. Hell, you wore your tux last Halloween and went as James Bond. You tell them you’re exactly the same person you were on your wedding day. 

The microwave in the breakroom bleats in bursts of three.

“So, okay,” Sue Ann says. “Maybe that’s the problem.”

#

“How does she know where you live?” you ask your wife’s gym friend. You are still pulled over, waiting for the light to change and your wife to join you.

“Hmm?” he says.

You swallow and repeat the question. Behind you, your wife flashes her brights.

“Oh, she’s taken me home from the gym before,” he says.

“What?” you say.

“Sometimes I jog there,” he says. “Double exercise, you know.”

“Right,” you say, putting the car into gear. “Double exercise.”

#

It’ll take you three weeks to look at your wife’s phone and when you do, you’ll see her gym friend’s penis in the folder for recently deleted photos. You’ll be shocked by its color, its fluorescent redness. You’ll think, did he use a filter? Does he have high blood pressure? Is there something else medical going on here? You’ll look down at your own crotch. So normal looking, so boring. How can you compete with a day-glo dick? You can’t, you think. You can’t, of course.

You’ll throw the phone against the wall. You’ll think, I should throw the phone against the wall. Then you’ll realize you already did that. You’ll pick it up and throw it against the wall again. A buzzer will go off in your ears. Your wife will come into the kitchen. She’ll be screaming at you, that was the buzzing. She’ll follow you out to your car, sawing like a cicada. You’ll leave the house and go to Brad’s and against Brad’s advice, you’ll return home a few hours later. 

For five days, your wife will refuse to go to the gym. She’ll lie in bed sobbing, begging for you to talk to her.

On the sixth day, she’ll move in with her gym friend, into the condo where you dropped him off that night. 

Over the next couple months, she’ll intermittently try to get back together. She’ll text you baby names and call late at night. Your lawyer will advise you to not pick up. Your lawyer will also advise you to not prevent her access to the house, so when she asks to pick up some stuff, you’ll say that it’s fine, just don’t bring her gym friend. 

He’ll come along anyway.

Your wife or whatever she is at this point, will run off upstairs to collect her things and leave you in the kitchen with him.

He’ll say that none of this is her fault and that he understands how you’re feeling. He’ll say that neither of them meant for this to happen, but that it’s against nature to deny true love. He’ll say that in a couple years, we’ll laugh about this. You’ll tell him quietly that you’re going to punch him in the face. He’ll do this shitty laugh scoffing thing and shake his head and say he’s trying to have a mature conversation and so that’ll be when you punch him in the face. He’ll fall down, out of surprise mostly, and without thinking, you’ll kick him as hard as you can in the back, the spot where the kidneys are. You’ll do this a great number of times. He’ll writhe around on the ground. You’ll step on his head a little and grind his face against the kitchen floor. Something religious will fill your chest when you hear his nose crunch under your foot. Your wife will hear the yelling and come running and see the blood on the white tile and faint, but when she comes to, she will be looking at you in a whole new way, and it will disturb you, it will turn your stomach, because you’ll realize that somewhere in all this violence, the seeds of your eventual reconciliation have been planted.

#

You keep the car running as your wife walks her gym friend to his door. Driving him home was your good deed for the day, you reason. There’s really no point in overthinking things. Tomorrow’s Thursday. You can take Friday off. There’s nothing wrong that can’t be fixed by a long weekend. 

Your wife gets back in the car, turns the heat up full blast, says something you can’t hear. You ask her to repeat it. She says never mind. 

###


Kyle Seibel is a writer in Santa Barbara, CA. His work has been featured in Wigleaf, Joyland Magazine, and New World Writing. His debut collection of short fiction, HEY YOU ASSHOLES, will be published by Clash Books in March 2025. His tweets, which have been getting a lot better recently, can be found @kylerseibel.

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