Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Somebody in the City Loves You

“You two are such a lovely couple.”

As I look down at what I’ve found, I think it odd what is running through my head are the comments made by friends about my perfect marriage. I am not sad at love lost or even that angry at being lied to. I’m upset that my friends will be disappointed in me. It’s me then, I think. Maybe I have my priorities all messed up. It wouldn’t be the first time. Perhaps I am guilty too. Were all of these years just about making a pretty picture for the neighbours? It makes me like myself a little bit less.

Anger surges, but again I’m disappointed at the source. Are we to be so normal? After all of this, are we to be cheapo novel, bad TV show normal? The normal I’ve fought against my whole life. Did he do this just to force me into that box? The betrayed woman box. I’m furious about that. I slam my hand on the dresser in frustration.

I’ve used my mind to survive. Not necessarily to excel in any particular field, but I’ve manipulated my thoughts to enjoy wherever I’ve found myself. I realise as I look at the crinkled pieces of paper in my hand that I’ve led myself to this place blinded, by kneading and forcing my mind to see what I’ve decided is there. Too many difficult spots to drown in that half empty glass. Since I couldn’t change them, I floated on the surface of half full. Silly cow I’ve been; it’s quite evident now.

He comes in unexpectedly. “What’s going on?”

I hold out my hand with the three receipts I’ve been studying all morning: hotel, dinner for two, and perfume I don’t wear. “It appears somebody in the city loves you,” I say with forced casualness.

He looks at the receipts but does not reach for them. He sits down hard on the bed. I’m relieved in a way that he has chosen not to lie. At least he respects me enough for that. He fumbles. He grabs for kind words, putting them in places he thinks might make the hearing less painful. Like honey mixed in castor oil, it only makes everything worse. I want bare truth. Where they met. How she fucks. What he told her about me. Since he knows me, he knows that the very truth I crave will work like acid inside me, corroding a little more everyday until I’m nothing more than raw meat and eaten bones. He won’t let me do that to myself. I know as he does; he loves me too much for that.

“It was a stupid mistake.”

A stupid mistake- like knocking a valued vase off the table or tripping in the bank queue. The words just sit in the air. I won’t accept them. It was nothing like a stupid mistake. It was a conscious decision made by him against me. Treason from the inside. Not an accident, that fact the very thing that slices into me when I think it. What tipped the scales in the moment the decision was made? Another answer I want that I know will kill me once known.

“What now?” he asks. Like always the burden is on me. What now?

I look out the window and am surprised a bit at the blue sky and the shining sun. It doesn’t seem right this incongruous weather. I want a wild, red dust storm or iron grey clouds cut through with flashes of threatening lightening. I can’t make a decision like this under sunny skies.

I get up. I can survive this, I’ve survived worse. I won’t slump into madness as my genetics prefer. My mind is waiting for direction. I take it in hand and move it firmly to the track I’ve chosen to follow. The receipts will fall away, the ink fade, and the paper tear and decompose back into its elements. He will never mention it and I’ll have rubbed my mind clean. Perhaps they know better; our marriage is perfect. I stand up and tell him, “I have work to do” and I leave.


Anonymous said...

This story is so realistic. I have two friends who found out their husbands were having affairs by finding receipts in jacket pockets. The sense of betrayal is highlighted by discovering the truth through such an innocuous thing as a slip of paper.

I like how your female character feels herself almost being forced into a category of the mundane by the betrayal and that it is this that angers her the most.

A stark portrayal of infidelity. Very powerful story.

Tania Hershman said...

Lauri very powerful story, I especially like "I want bare truth. Where they met. How she fucks." So raw, so real.

I've tagged you. Pop into my blog to see what it's all about!

groovyoldlady said...

Ack! It is all so real and meaty. I want to grab her and shake her and say, 'DEAL WITH IT!" He needs to go beyond a passive "It was mistake" and weep in shame at how's he betrayed her. His callousness galls me! She needs to demand counseling or tell him to get out now.

See...It's so real that I'm trying to fix it!

Lauri said...

Groovy- for two weeks of Search Engine Fiction I have written happy love stories for you, and you only comment when I'm back to doom and gloom (?). Anyway, I suppose my cyberspace love stories can't compare to the real life one you're living. Next week I'm including pink elepahnts and balloons just for you- okay?? Selma, please make the prompt one that accomodates such things. :)

Tania, thanks for your kind words. I have gone to your post and I will attempt to answer your rather probing questions. Are you sure you're not roking for our new spy branch???

BTW GOL- like your new pic. Looks so sci-fi. I really must do something about mine. I look very un-literary. I thought it was a good idea to have sort of a frumpy pic so when I write my big breakout novel I can get a powerful professional pic done and people will say - 'Wow look how successful she it now'.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others you have written a raw, realistic, story.
The simplicity of your sentences underlines the rawness and realism and is a fine contrast to the complexity of situation. Thanks DavidM