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The Winter of My Temptation

by Melissa Martin  
12/17/2011 / Short Stories

I felt someone starring at me and as I glanced around the church I came across a dazzling smile. Attached to that smile was a very attractive woman with black hair and crimson lipstick. I promptly turned away and gave my full attention to the pastor. I didn't know this would be the winter of my temptation.

The following Wednesday night, the same nice-looking lady plopped her plate down beside me and my wife at the weekly church dinner. Sophia introduced herself as a widow who recently relocated to our small town. I exchanged pleasantries but avoided eye contact.

Last year my wife and I celebrated our fortieth wedding anniversary. We flew to Hawaii for a romantic getaway and renewed our marriage vows. I am a happily married man. My wife, Marsha and I co-lead marital enrichment seminars for churches in our denomination. My wife is my friend, my companion, and my lover. I am content with our sex life.

I also attend a men's accountability group every month except for holidays and vacations. I avoid being alone with other women in my work and on any other occasions. I would never look at pornography and I don't watch X-rated movies.

My church has a strict policy when doing volunteer work to help congregational members or people in the community. I helped write this policy. No married man is to ever be alone with a woman who is not his wife. As a volunteer plumber, I am called on a lot to fix frozen pipes, flooded basements, and cracked commodes.

A church deacon asked me to tag along with him to fix a stopped up sink. When we pulled up in front of the house where the eye-catching lady with the crimson lipstick lived, I felt uncomfortable. Hurriedly, I crawled under the bathroom sink to avoid small talk and to wipe the sweat off my forehead. However, I could not escape the scent of Sophia's perfume.

Sophia, the curvaceous woman, began setting at the end of my church pew. When I would glance to my right, her crimson lips would instantly form a grin. I would give a slight nod and avoid further contact.

I wanted to discuss my feelings with Marsha, but I felt guilty. I wanted to confide in my men friends at the accountability group, but I felt embarrassed. Besides, the men looked up to me as their mentor. I was a faithful husband and qualified to lead seminars on marriage enhancement and contentment. My pastor trusted me.

The winter seemed overly cold. An unusual restlessness emerged and lingered inside my soul. I longed for the warmth of spring.

"Honey, is everything O.K.?" Marsha asked.

"Yes, things are fine." I replied.

"Is anything wrong at work?"

"No, work is fine." I stated.

"Is anything worrying you at church?"

"No, church is fine." I said.

"Are you sick?"

"No, I'm fine."

One Tuesday night, Sophia called me at home and said her pipes were frozen. The temperature was around 20 degrees and the snow was around five inches so I did believe her. However, Tuesday nights are when the ladies of the church meet and Marsha was gone. Sophia usually attended the ladies' meetings because she set next to my wife. Sophia asked questions about martial relationships and Marsha obliged her with seminar stories and bible scriptures. Marsha was an advice-giver to church ladies with marital problems. I called the pastor and several church men to go with me to thaw out the pipes but everyone was busy. I actually found myself in a debate about going alone. Poor Sophia, she had no water! I could leave a message on Marsha's cell phone and ask her to come over to Sophia's house after the church meeting ended, but I didn't. I drove around the alluring lady's house several times. I pulled into her driveway and turned off my truck. My heart was pounding wildly. I slipped the keys into my pocket.

The porch light flicked on. As the door opened, I caught a glimpse of cleavage before I fumbled for my truck keys. Then I pealed and squealed out of that driveway and topped the speed limit as I raced to the church.

At the end of the winter, Sophia moved out of our little town. Her phone was disconnected and no forwarding address was left.

Later, I spilled my guts to my pastor and the men in the accountability group. I discussed it with my wife and we worked through it together. We added the topic of sexual enticement to our marriage enrichment seminars. This was the end of my winter of temptation.

Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.

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