I was going to break up with Chris on my 24th birthday, but only after we had sex. You have to have sex on your birthday. It's bad luck for the rest of the year if you don't.
After two years of our affair, those two things were all I really wanted for my birthday. And to dance to Andy Williams's Moon River.
I don't know what it is about that song; it just makes me feel so lonely.
I've finally realized that as long as I'm with a guy who has a girlfriend, I'll never truly be open to a relationship. I'm hiding in a place where I don't need to get attached or feel too much or stay loyal to one sexual partner.
Moon River made me think that maybe if I just ended it I could be happy again.
This relationship didn't start out sad, though. When it began, it was thrilling.
Chris is a cowboy: tall, built, rough and scruffy. He could pick me up like a feather. He'd smash a beer bottle over a guy's head for daring to insult a lady. Sometimes he gazes at the horizon as if he might hop into the saddle and ride away.
He is so different from the gentle intellectuals who are part of my social circle. He - dare I say it? - all man. But he already had a woman when I met him.
Part of the fun was the fear of getting caught. Chris was just as excited as I was wondering if his girlfriend might walk in on us. It's a power trip: I felt I was better than her, knew something she didn't, had something she'd lost a long time ago.
Besides, I've always believed that when someone is that good in bed, he needs to be shared. The guy should go on a cross-country tour to demonstrate sexual moves while other guys take notes.
In the spring we went on spontaneous weekend getaways. He gave me cute little presents: a china kitten full of brown M&Ms, a white teddy bear with a huge "I miss you" card the one time he couldn't make it, a collection of our favourite songs.
And we never fought, no matter how much of a bitch I was to him. I belittled him and got a kick out of proving that he was the dumb redneck and I was the Jewish princess. He always let it go.
I was so proud of myself for not getting attached: not even when we used to sit in the car talking until sunrise, not even when we went to a Neil Young concert and at just at the right moment he whispered in my ear, "You are like a hurricane."
I had other reasons for keeping him. After endless first dates in midtown restaurants with boring mid-level guys, I felt I was better off with him despite the girlfriend.
Chris was there when I needed a good-looking guy by my side at social events.
He never stole the blankets in bed because he never spent the night. He never invaded my space, never owned any part of me. He was all I needed, and things were perfect. People, I thought, are not possessions. No one owns them.
Then, on my birthday, he took me to his house to meet his girlfriend.
When I walked in, she ran toward me and gave me the hugest hug. She sang Happy Birthday.
She knew I was one of Chris's friends and she was being hospitable.
I thought I was much better-looking than her. They talked about the phone bill and she left.
I couldn't look at him. I couldn't understand how a stupid phone bill could make me want him more than ever and hate him with passion at the same time.
I couldn't think. I almost couldn't find my voice when I avoided his eyes and said, "Take me to her bed."
It made sense that if I was already the devil, I should sink as low as possible.
It was the best sex we ever had. I told him it was over while we were getting dressed, and practically ran to my car. On the way home, Moon River was on the radio.
I changed the station. Britney Spears belted, "I'm addicted to you / Don't you know that you're toxic."
I exhaled. That was much better.