I don’t want to do it. Defeat crouches bedside, waiting with her frantic consolation and condemnation. I want to tell her to go fuck herself, but I don’t. I scroll the home screen and chew my tongue because, of course, I’m going to do it.
‘Rich?’ I type. I take longer to hit ‘send’ this time. There’s that, at least.
He calls before I can wonder if he’s going to. I try to sound like I haven’t been sanity-sparring with my demon for the last two hours.
‘Where are you?’
‘Hey, babe. Sorry, I didn’t realize what time it was. I’m coming home.’
And I hang up on him. Because I’m achingly, devastatingly furious. About nothing.
The next twenty minutes are spent ignoring messages like ‘I love you, I’m on my way.’ ‘I’m so sorry I’m late, I’m coming home.’ ‘I love you I love you’, etc. I’m grinding my teeth so hard I worry I’m really going to hurt myself this time.
My anguish is misdirected, that’s what’s most difficult. I know how to stay up all night, waiting. I know how to pace. I know how to pretend that my life is my own and that I haven’t stuffed it in a sack and locked it in the basement. What I don’t know is how to combat pain when there is no evil. I don’t know how to do that.
He comes home and in for a kiss. I deny it because I don’t want to feel better. I need an enemy, and tonight he’s it.
Rich left our house at midnight and he’s back at 3am. I knew where he would be and who with. If I showed up at the bar with an ax and a grudge to bear, he’d welcome me with open arms. He has nothing to hide.
I can’t even construct an alternative. I don’t imagine Rich with another woman or too drunk to function. I don’t blow up his phone and I don’t call his friends. I genuinely want him to go out and have fun without me. I’m jealous, sure, because the last time my heels saw moonlight was about two kids ago, but I know that he’d arrange for a babysitter in a heartbeat. Forget that he tucked his bachelorhood away like a champ; he deserves a night out every now and again. It’s rare that he even wants one.
But when the kids are asleep and I’m left with the dark, my past manifests in every shadow. I wait, painfully, for him to be late. I’m beginning to think that I hope for it so I have something to cry about.
What do I do with this fury? How do I gag it, hogtie it and tell it the truth? That nothing has happened. That thirty six minutes to an honest man is a blink of an eye, a hiccup.
Will my overt awesomeness overshadow this writhing relationship-destroyer? Will Rich believe that I wasn’t always like this? Will he always be cool enough to let me air out my crazy? To know that I’ll be better come morning?