January 2, 2014

From Lust to Love: A Lesson Learned in New York City. ~ Melissa Horton

He rang my bell, each and every time we met.

Smokey hotel rooms with drawn shades buried deep within the city, we had but one purpose.


I would set my arrival to be slightly ahead of his—I needed a few moments to myself to prepare. This consisted of only a quiet pep talk, reminding myself I was good enough, at least for the 24 hours we would spend together. I would line my lips with balm, touch up my mascara and blush, adjust my blouse so that cleavage was noticeable, but not overwhelming. Quick swish of mouthwash and then a sip of water I had remembered to retrieve from the airport coffee shop on the way to baggage claim. My hair was never what I needed it to be, but in all reality, I knew he would not notice. My luggage sat on the edge of the bed, opened and tousled, as to give the illusion I had been there and comfortably so for hours. The scene was set for his arrival, and my heart raced.

A text asking for the room number came. I responded, but with a bit of a delay as to not seem so eager. A knock moments later, and our evening began. There was a forceful kiss to start, then conversation. Work is good—check. School is a pain in the ass—check. Family, fine—check. Fifteen minutes after he breezed through the door, we were rolling around in the sheets. Passion flooded the 200 square feet room we were sentenced to for that short time frame so much that my head would spin. I wish we had more time together, in these secret rooms, holed up together without anything to do but one another.

In those moments, he was everything to me.

I was nothing to him.

My thoughts were consumed by our encounters weeks before they took place. Clients were sought out with purpose, as to have another reason for being there. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him he was the sole driving force behind making the hour and a half flight to his town every few months, even if that was the gross truth. I would travel in work clothes, heels included, in the off chance he made it to the hotel before I arrived. I wanted him to see I had an agenda, outside of our time together. He never made it there before I did, and he would not have thought twice about it if he had. I was being used, but had no desire to not be. Despite that awareness, validation came with each visit.

I felt desired—beautiful in those moments and for a short while after. I always wanted more, but settled for what he felt comfortable offering. Not much more than powerful sexual attraction and the unprecedented moves toward releasing it. For nearly a year, we entertained our deepest, darkest fantasies with one another, shut off from the world in those smokey urban hotel rooms. I willingly breathed it all in.

I fell in love with the idea of him during those months. A man who needed nothing more from me than my body, to do with what he pleased. He did that well. The balance in my checking account mattered not—the car I drove, the career I poured my soul into, my writing—none of it crossed his mind. I was able to feed his addiction, even if he wasn’t aware he had one, and equally he fed mine. I needed to be needed, in that capacity alone, and our arrangement worked well. That is, until I fell for him.

I stopped communicating after I shared my true feelings, asking him to give more to me than the torrid 24 hour romp sessions. His lack of response screamed rejection painfully in my ear, so I let it go. The idea that we would ever be more than what we had become seemed childish, and, to an extent, selfish on my part, and walking away was easier than continuing our secret affair. The phone calls stopped. The inappropriate texts ceased. I worked toward rebuilding myself, without him and without the idea of him.

It was one of the greatest struggles of my life, but in that process, I found some thing better. A love for myself that replaced the desire for lust with an affinity for love. He taught me so much in those short visits—how to let go of the shame surrounding my deep sexual desires, how to be present in those moments, how to embrace passion without fear. He unknowingly showed me what love should look like in that department, and I never doubted his feelings in those moments. He taught me that the one aspect of a relationship I had always focused on could be unspeakably beautiful, but was not the whole story. I found what I was looking for with him, even if it hurt to do so.

A transition from lust to love changed my life, for good, and some day, I will thank him for his instruction. He guided me away from living my life in secret, and provided me the right mindset to catapult forward. I will never regret our sessions, as they were the most enjoyable therapy I will ever receive.

Thank you, city dweller, for sharing your time with me, and allowing me to share myself with you.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Flickr Creative Commons

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