He kisses his motorcycle every night before bed

Tracey Folly

My second cousin's first wife had an unusual problem.

My second cousin was a handsome and charming man. He was so handsome and charming, in fact, that he had been married three times by the time he was in his thirties.

His first wife was a beautiful young woman. She was a chain smoker whom I remember once forming hamburger patties at the beach while patting the family dog and allowing cigarette ashes to flutter down into the ground beef.

Even if her food preparation and hygiene practices left something to be desired, she was an amiable lady. We all liked her, and in those early days of her marriage, she had no competition save one: my cousin's beloved motorcycle.

I ran into my second cousin's first wife at the grocery store one day.

"Hey," I called out her name. "Hi. How are you doing?"

She turned to face me, and her eyes lit up in recognition. "He kisses his motorcycle every night before bed," she replied.

I laughed. "What?" I asked.

"He kisses his motorcycle every night before bed," she reiterated.

I laughed again.

Of course, he kissed his motorcycle every night before bed. He had been doing that for as long as I could remember, or at least as long as he'd had that motorcycle. Incidentally, the motorcycle had come first.

I just didn't know how she had missed out on his nighttime ritual during the years they had dated. Perhaps he'd kept his affinity for his shiny chrome-laden motorcycle a secret, but I doubted it.

It was more likely that she hadn't been paying attention.

To be fair, he kept the motorcycle at the home of his parents, stored securely in their garage. Maybe she hadn't had the opportunity to witness his nightly declaration of love for the bike he'd spent considerable time and money to buy.

However, now that they were married and living together in a small house less than one block away from her new in-laws, she had learned about his evening jaunt to his parents' garage to wish them a good night. He always kissed his motorcycle right on its shining chrome on his way out the door.

It was a harmless habit that bothered no one, except, of course, his newlywed bride. She was bothered a lot, but she shouldn't have been.

He was simply proud of his motorcycle. He kept it clean, and he enjoyed owning it. Obviously, he enjoyed riding it as well, often with his wife sitting on the back. His wife and his motorcycle weren't in competition.

A motorcycle is no substitute for a bride.

Nonetheless, his affinity for his motorcycle began to eat away at her. It ate away at her confidence. Ultimately, it ate away at their marriage.

She felt like she was being preempted, not by another woman, but by an inanimate object.

Their marriage dissolved while they were still technically in the newlywed phase. Although they didn't divorce over that shiny chrome-laden motorcycle, it didn't help.

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