I have tried to come up with answers to this question for the last two days. I thought our life was good. I thought our sex life was good. So why? Why did she feel the need to cheat? Why was it necessary for her to have sex with another man? Was I not enough? Was I crazy to imagine that two people could commit to each other, do what they love – she loves her music, I love my writing – and want nothing more? What was Dan bringing to the table that wasn’t already on our table?
Ever since I heard her talking to Dan on the phone, her giggling haunts me. How was it possible that another man could make her happy?
Why? I was able to finally ask the question out loud. But was I going to get the answers that I hoped for, the answers that I dreaded or answers that would shock me?
We’ve managed to live like strangers for the past two days. Any day that I’ve fought the urge to yell or to strangle her has been a good day. And I managed day two of coffee and a slice of love just fine. Apart from her “Thank you,” no other words have been exchanged between us.
Today is day three. Today is the day I get to hear how Dan waltzed into our portrait. I have gone over the conversation in my head. How it will start and how it will end. The questions I will ask. I have changed the questions a million times. I have heard the responses she would give, and prepared rebuttals for each and every one of them. I have yelled and cursed her, other times I have stayed calm and let her conscience fry her brain to crispiness.
We got the coffee ritual out of the way a few minutes ago. I handed over the cup of coffee, she burned her palms thoroughly. All this time, it hasn’t crossed my mind to give her slightly warm or cold coffee instead. She sat on the couch to drink it. I haven’t laid off the sugar and milk either. Why should I?
I canceled my work engagements for today. Mondays normally suck, this particular Monday will take the cake because even though I’m having a bad day now, at barely 7:00 am in the morning, it’s about to get worse. It’s a good day as any to have your heart crushed to smithereens.
With her legs folded under her, she drinks her coffee as she squeezes her swollen ankles with one hand. I sit across from her and wait for her to finish. My stomach rumbles. I can’t remember the last time I had a decent meal. She cooked yesterday, but who wants a meal cooked for them by their cheating wife?
The television is on mute as the morning news pictures flicker on and off the silent screen. I flip through the morning paper. There’s nothing interesting there. Just the whole goddamned annoying world.
There was a time when the world was not annoying at all. Four months ago. The world was at the peak of awesomeness, and my wife and I were on top of that peak, occupying the front row seats, getting a good view of this world spectacle. I could have sworn this world was a beautiful place. Misunderstood, but beautiful if you got to know it. And I could have sworn that I had this life thing by the horns.
“Why?” I repeat the question.
She applies more pressure on her ankle. “Because I’m stupid,” she says.
“Bullshit. You’ll have to do better than that.”
“I’ve been asking myself the same question.”
“You really think that I waited all this time to get such stupid remarks from you?”
“I know you’re angry–”
“Wait. I think we need to set a few things straight. First, you don’t know how I feel.”
“Don’t insult my intelligence.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
“You will answer every question I ask–”
“–honestly. I deserve that at least, don’t you think?”
“And don’t do that either.”
“Don’t do what?”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Now, shall we try this again. Why did you think it prudent to fuck another man, Eva?”
“I wish I could say that I was lonely. Or that I was unhappy. Or that I was drunk – of course I wasn’t drunk. I– I–”
She goes quiet. She is through with her coffee and is now using both hands to rub her ankles, one leg after another. I’m up on my feet pacing the room. I want to grab her by the shoulders and shake her, make her aware of what she just did to us. How she just destroyed something that was so damn good.
“It just happened– it just happened okay? There is no excuse for what I did, no reason for it, other than I’m stupid and I’m sorry.”
“How many times?”
“Is that really necessary?”
“Answer the damn question.”
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t know.”
“Tell me why.”
“I can’t. I really don’t know.”
“I think you do.”
She remains quiet.
I sit down and clasp both my hands in front of me.
“I need some water, excuse me.” She gets up from the couch and almost runs to the kitchen. I hear her sobbing as the glass fills with tap water.
I think it happened finally. I think the pain has finally managed to numb me.
She comes back with a glass of water and opts to remain standing, her back leaning against the wall.
“Did he rub your feet?”
“No. It wasn’t like– it was– I left. I was very confused. I got out of there as soon as I–”
“Oh, finish your thoughts, don’t stop on my account.”
“He didn’t rub my feet, okay?”
“Did he rub your tummy?”
“No. No. No, he did not.”
“You were giggling while he was talking to you. What did he say?”
“I– really Mark?”
“What did he say to make you giggle Eva?”
“He said– please don’t make me do this.”
“What did he say?”
“He said he wished I was carrying his baby.”
“In those words?”
“What did he say exactly.”
“I don’t remember the exact words.”
“You do remember. Was he vulgar?”
“He might have been, yeah.”
“I’m not repeating those words to you, sorry. I won’t do it, Mark.”
“Is Dan responsible for your pregnancy?”
She sits down. She sighs. She places the glass of water on the table.
To be continued…