Ethan had sex on the brain ever since his girlfriend of two years, Andrea, left Friday for Aruba. He’d been single now for eight days and nights. When they were together, he’d been so faithful to her that if he hadn’t forgotten about other women, he’d certainly inoculated himself to interest in them. But now that she was gone, she had set him free. Everywhere were women he no longer had to stop himself from being interested in, women he didn’t have to look away from.

When he told them he was broken hearted, they comforted him through his break up pain. They commiserated with him and agreed that his ex was a total loser and would miss him badly if she wasn’t already. He didn’t mention his doubts about that since she was probably continuously drunk on the Aruban sun. Instead he encouraged their sympathy by letting the tears well up in his eyes, and then slept with them.

He wondered why so many women wanted to sleep with another woman’s boyfriend, even one recently discarded. Maybe they thought he and Andrea would reconcile, even marry, and then they’d be immortalized as the other woman Ethan saw during that week they were apart, burned into their memories next to their honeymoon.

Some of the women Ethan slept with were acquaintances, some friends, even so, he still didn’t call any of them afterward, or answer or return their calls. He was going to lose them as friends but he didn’t care, he was on a sex rampage. It was displacement, he knew, the way he avoided feeling the pain he told himself he only faked to get laid, but he didn’t care about that either. Sympathy sex was still sex, and eventually the women wouldn’t be so sympathetic when he answered their questions about when Andrea had left him in terms of weeks instead of days.

His male friends couldn’t believe his string of luck, but they were all the other half of a couple and using fantasy to fuel their sex life, that or role playing. He and Andrea had gotten into that, at least until he realized she kept wanting him play the personal trainer to her bored housewife. But after he dropped her off at the airport for her flight to Aruba that all made sense.

It was supposed to be a bachelorette vacation with the bridesmaids for one of her new friends from work who was getting married. When Andrea first told him about it, it really bothered him. It was the sort of thing that pushed all his jealousy buttons, though he wasn’t going to say so. But when he dropped her off at the terminal, he ditched the car in the short term lot and doubled back to the ticket counter. None of her girlfriends were in line with her, but he recognized the guy standing next to her from L.A. Fitness where Ethan and Andrea had met working out. The guy was one of the personal trainers who roamed the gym floor, trolling for clients. Ethan had stopped going soon after meeting Andrea, since he had joined really only to meet someone in the first place, but Andrea hadn’t stopped going.

The guy was standing way too close to her in line, and when he squeezed her ass, maybe checking how firm her gluts were, and she kissed him back, maybe checking how soft his lips were, Ethan realized he was single. And he’d have to find a new gym.

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