The table was strewn with the remains of a fine meal – bits of lemon-and-cornmeal crusted tilapia, the inedible ends of spring asparagus, the crusts of a baguette, the last sips of a particularly toothsome red wine. The candles had burned down to just nubs and the flowers in the center of the table were looking wilted as well. I sat in my seat opposite you, staring at my hands, which were folded in my lap. I tried to blink back tears, but it was to no avail. They streaked down my cheeks and splashed against my forearms, leaving miniature lakes of pain and sorrow.
You sat in your seat opposite me, staring at the tips of your fingers as you traced them over and over down the handle of your knife. “Baby,” you whispered. I looked up at you and your face betrayed the pain and heart-ache we were both feeling. Your beautiful blue eyes were swimming with unshed tears and irrationally I wondered why your tears hadn’t betrayed you the way mine had. Your full, luscious lips were squeezed in a thin, flat, unhappy line. I suddenly longed to kiss them, to run the very tip of my tongue across your mouth, tasting the wine we’d just shared. An unwelcome sob shook my shoulders and I suddenly bolted from the table, running unseeingly down the hallway towards the bathroom. Once inside, I locked the door and leaned against it, slowly sinking to the floor, sobs still shaking my body as I sat there, silently cursing you.
Soon there was a soft, tentative knock at the bathroom door and you called out hesitantly, “Baby, we need to talk about this.” I heard a thud and pictured you standing with your forehead pressed against the door, one hand on the knob, eyes closed as you waited for me to answer you. I childishly decided that you would be waiting for a while, as I was determined to ignore you. I was afraid that if I said something to you now, it would ruin any chance of repairing the damage done. I also had to admit to myself that I wanted to punish you in any way I could. You had hurt me, hurt us, hurt any chances of us finding happiness together for the rest of our lives, and you deserved to be punished for that.
“Baby, please. Open the door. I want to talk about this.” Your voice had a hard edge to it now; you were annoyed with me and my behavior I felt like telling you to go away, to leave me alone, to leave the house and never come back. This desire and the deep love I felt for you were at war with each other inside me. I bit my bottom lip, my sobs lessening in their fury. I leaned my head back against the door and looked up at the ceiling and remembered the weekend last month when we repainted the room and I painted little clouds on the ceiling and hid that wretched animal in the corner for you. My eyes automatically sought out the creature and suddenly I was enraged. I stood and wrenched the door open, my eyes blazing, my heart thumping wildly with the anger I was feeling. “Fine. Let’s talk. I want a divorce!” I shouted at you, possibly the first time I’d ever yelled at you in anger.
You stumbled backward, clearly surprised by my vehemence and anger. You blinked, your jaw hung slack and you slumped forward, the very picture of a man defeated. “You don’t mean that, baby. You’re just angry. Maybe if we take some time, think about this… Maybe you’ll decide you can live with it.”
“No. I cannot live with it. I refuse to live with it. What will the neighbors say? What will my parents say? It’s sick. Sick and wrong. You are a filthy pervert.” The words escaped before I realized what I’d said and I slapped my hands over my mouth, my eyes growing wide.
You rocked back on your heels as if I’d slapped you, and it was your turn to have traitorous tears. They ran down your cheeks and fell to the floor between us. You stood there in front of me, silently weeping, looking as if I’d just betrayed you, which in a way I suppose I did. “I’m sorry,” you whispered and turned to leave. The last thing I saw of you before the divorce proceedings months later was your flat beaver tail and your furry brown bottom as you walked out the door, wearing your Furry costume.