When he calls she doesn’t pick up.
As she was leaving Monday morning, he asked if there was anything she wanted to talk about. He had been surprised by the look on her face. She had remained silent, quickly picked up her bags and gone out to the taxi. Absent from Monday to Friday. Nothing in her side of the oshiire save a denim skirt and a few t-shirts. The Jimmy Choos all gone. She’d spent the last hour silent with tongs curling her hair. Something he’d never seen her do. Eight years of marriage and he sees betrayal in every break from the norm. Days with only the birds for company. He wonders why for the last few months she would only consent to oral. And now late and lonely he guesses at promises. Late and lonely, all he can think of is her with another man.
Late night mountain madness. A scream comes across the night sky.
He sees them tearing the clothes from each other in some hotel room as if they’re ten years younger. With a passion and excitement all but forgotten. Tokyo’s neon, ever the voyeur, cutting in. He pictures them and he hurts himself a little. He makes it as graphic. To test himself. Exercise those muscles so that he should be ready when and if the time comes. He then takes a knife from the kitchen draw and runs the sharpened side of the blade across his chest. And pours his first drink. Tells himself it’s ok.
He can hurt himself. It’s easy.
They’re not out to hurt him. People caught in the moment. Enjoying themselves. Forgetting themselves. He can’t blame them. He tries not to hate them. They’re not even thinking about him. As she climbs on top, her back arched, palms on her lover’s chest, he is long forgotten. He has ceased to exist.
Affairs seem born of ego. Not love. Everyone wants to be desired. Everyone needs to be desired. What is love without desire? Fidelity and virtue are lovely words but mean nothing until you find yourself naked before beautiful flattery.
He wonders why she no longer desires him. He takes off all his clothes and looks in a mirror. He wonders why she desires another. Despite his vanity he can think of more than it would be wise to count. Is he funnier? Is he better looking? A more considerate lover? Less considerate maybe? Or just there in a moment of weakness. In the right place, when the wrong thing had been said. Younger for sure. Self-doubt and selfism were the cheapest things he`d ever bought.
He tells himself he’s played this game before. That the new scar joins the old. And the older. He hears his father pleading with his mother, just before she left. The circle being life’s one great miracle. “Please come to bed. You can keep your clothes on. Just hold me.” A veteran. If anybody knows this ride he does. Lead soldiers and ballerinas. He pours another drink and while they’re hitting the all-night convenience store for more condoms for another round of anal, the kids are asleep upstairs. He lets the dishes pile up until tomorrow.
It’s possible he’s imagining it. All in his head. Only sleep can save him now. Trees make shapes in the dark and the static on TV pornography.
Her sex with another feels like a personal violation. A stranger’s breath on him. So close now. To be in him could not be worse. Every small sound she makes moves her further away. Their secrets discarded and replaced.
Swinging between violence and resignation. Powerless just the same. These things continue until the lies break down. Calls from the hotel room, to speak to the kids, in an attempt to alleviate suspicion. An attempt to waylay the guilt. Takes some front. Until too much fucking makes you sloppy. Or you just can’t take the weight. Do you panic when you look at your phone in the morning to see a string of unanswered calls? Do you wonder what kind of reception you will receive when you eventually make it home? Are you sweating? Have you got your story straight? Can you still see the blood?
When he calls, she doesn’t pick up. But he keeps on calling anyhow.
He tells himself “the next opportunity I get”.But he’s not fooling anyone.
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