she hates me. she is sitting across from me, her big brown eyes jacketed hollow point bullets. inside i am dying. “she can have it,” i mutter. my lawyer gawks at me stunned. “she can have the house.” i stare out the window shutting out my lawyer’s protestations.
my hands remember her hair fanned out over the pillow. she is smiling at me. i love the way she smiles. and she is telling me that i am home that i am the love of her life. in her eyes there is boundless love and a passion that will not easily be sated. she fills me up. watching her is enough. watching her was always enough.
“i said she can have the damn house.” i don’t like to raise my voice. i hate the sound of shouting. it unnerves me like nails on a chalkboard. but i find that i am shouting at my lawyer and she is looking at me like i’ve lost my mind. its very possible that i have lost my mind. its very possible that i am just as crazy as everyone thinks i am. its very possible but today i just want to go back to work and finish up the damn blueprints.
“house,” she hisses from across the table. its the first word she’s said since this meeting has begun. the sound of her voice unsettles me. by reflex i look into her eyes. she hates me. our contact is broken when her lawyer bends to whisper something in her ear. my fist clinches. she nods and gets up to go get a drink of water. i watch her stand. standing i realize again what i’m giving up.
“we need to move on to the debt,” her lawyer is slick. he’s all facts and numbers. i hate him. he doesn’t know her. doesn’t know anything about her. i wonder how much she is paying him. she can’t afford this asshole. why did she hire him anyway? some slick asshole up from some damn rock trying to take her for what little she’s got. i hate his fucking guts.
“my client will not assume responsibility for debt held in your client’s name.”
“i’ll split it,” i say. my lawyer turns a lovely shade of puce. i think she will actually barf right here on this table.
“give us a minute,” she tells slick ass and he gets up to join her at the water cooler. he raises his arm and puts it around her shoulders. i want to punch him in his damn face. my fist clinch.
“what the fuck?” she is exasperated with me. if i didn’t want to punch slick ass in the face i’d think it was funny. but i don’t because i do. “what the fuck do you have me for if you’re going to give her whatever she fucking wants?!”
i am dead inside. i know it. everyone says i look dead inside. and i can feel my soul’s decay crawl up through my esophagus. it burns my throat. suppressing the urge to scream, i clinch my teeth and speak, “i thought you worked for me.”
“then lets do this.” i turn back to the table and my lawyer waves them back over to the table. i know i’m not suppose to…know i’m not allowed…but i watch her anyway. i watch her hips move. its a sweet sashay they do. she’s wearing those damn brown pants and she’s sashaying her sweet ass over to me and my heart is breaking because i know what i’m losing and i can’t stop myself. by habit i stand up when she gets to the table and wait for her to sit down. my lawyer growls.
“about the debt…” her lawyer is a drone and i drown him out. i am staring at her hair. her forehead. her cheeks. her nose. her lips. her neck. her shoulders.
“do you agree?” her lawyer asks. i don’t know the question.
“yes.” i say.
“no,” my lawyer actually stamps her foot under the table. “no we do not agree.” i nod in her direction. i decide to let her make a point. i’m not a pussy. really i’m not no matter what any of these people think. i just don’t want to hurt her. not anymore.
she is standing in the doorway with her hand extended toward me. her face ghastly. her jaw slack and contorted. “what is this?” she asks me. “what is this?” she is near crying.
“you know what is it?” i am detached. pissed but distant. i know it. i know that there is a wall between us and frankly i’m damn sick and tired of trying to pull it down. fuck it.
she is throwing the papers at me. she is screaming. she is throwing the papers at me and screaming. i think she’s lost it. i’ve finally pushed her past her breaking point. “everything! you promised everything!” her words are daggers. they get stuck in the mortar. they don’t touch me.
she storms up the stairs. she doesn’t hear me whisper, “i lied.”
“this debt was accumulated during the marriage. half is only fair.”
“but it’s in her name.”
“only because her credit rating was substantially greater than his at the time…”
they are arguing and i don’t care. my eyes are on her hands. her small hands. so tiny the diamond now missing always looked like an invading planet. i miss her hands and i am wondering what she did with the diamond.
“2 carats is ridiculous.” she is looking at me and her eyes are full of wonder and mirth. i amuse her. she wants the 2 carat, i now she does but she doesn’t want to spend my money.
“i have it. we can pay cash for the 2 carats.” i tell her.
“baby, if you can pay cash for a 2 carat flawless diamond ring in a princess cut you need to be buying me a house. can’t sleep in a diamond.” she is laughing but her tone is stern. i know she’s serious. so the next day i find her a house and buy it. the 2 carats i gave her on our 10th anniversary as a surprise. but that was another lifetime ago. she can keep the fucking diamond.
“what if i can’t make the payments?” she speaks and i am overwhelmed. her voice is satin. even when she is screaming and throwing paper at me listening to her makes me feel like i’m in a jazz session. phone sex with her was always phenomenal. what am i giving up?
“that will be your problem.” my lawyer is a bitch. its why i hired her. but then again at the time i was pissed. now i’m just fucked.
“put the clause in,” i tell her. she gasps. she told me in conference the other day that no one ever agrees to take over payments for an ex-spouse. i call it the aflac clause. so in the event of her unemployment or some other major life hardship, i’ll cover her and her bills until she gets on her feet. i don’t have to pay her alimony but i want to be her safety net. my lawyer begrudgingly wrote it up. i think she wanted to fire me as client. i don’t have to explain myself to her. i don’t have to explain myself to anyone. i can pay for a fucking aflac clause if i want to.
“what clause?” her lawyer asks.
i am playing with my ring. i hear her gasp. she now knows i still wear it. i look in her eyes. she takes my breath away. yeah i’m still wearing the damn ring. bullets hold in midair something like a wachowski flick, while she returns my gaze. something like love surfaces. then she shoots me again.
her lawyer is gapping at me. he can’t even believe what i’m proposing. she’s pissed. bleeding heart liberal that i married hates hand outs. “i don’t want your charity.” she hisses.
her lawyer whispers in her ear and i could swear my blood is boiling. her ears are her number one hotspot. the first time i whispered in her ear her pupils dilated and then her lips found mine. we were sitting center court at a laker’s game. i’m not a blusher but the cameras on me were surprising. i have no idea how we made it back to my place before she lost her clothes. i smile at the memory. she hates it when i smile and she’s preaching. she glowers at me and the bullets turn into nuclear missiles.
“its not charity.” i tell her. and she nearly goes over the edge. she wants to kill me and not just with her eyes.
“its fucking charity and i don’t want it.” she is not shouting but her words are killing me. who pronounces a soul dead? fuck me.
her lawyer tells her to think about it. this is just a negotiation after all. then they move on to the children. she thumbs the locket. she has worn it everyday since the mother’s day i gave it to her two years ago. inside is a picture of our children. the house could burn down and everything in but she’ll hold on to that locket. its precious to her.
“my children are not a discussion.” her words are final. she stares directly at my lawyer who cowers by my side. yeah i think she’d kick your ass. i smile because its her bite that i always loved. and baby’s got a lot of bite.
“my client requests wednesdays and alternating weekends and holidays.” my lawyer’s voice is barely above a whisper. she’s afraid my kids’ mother will rip out her throat if she asks for too much. she’s right.
“they are with me for christmas.” its not a request.
“christmas should alter-”
“christmas does not alter.” still not a request. “neither are their birthdays.”
adjusting her seat my lawyer looks at me. “as long as they can see me when they want to see me, i’m fine.”
“they don’t want to see you.” she hisses at me and a massive weapons assault detonates at my temples. she’s right and it kills me. what the fuck am i doing?
“wednesdays and alternating weekends is standard.” her lawyer encourages. “we will agree to that. we’ll look over the other requests including the child support and get back to you.”
bullets are flying at my lawyer who avoids her gaze. she is staring into her brief and pretending to read something important. she looks up and shifts uncomfortably in her seat. at that moment i would pay to watch my wife take my lawyer apart. i would pay money and videotape it to review it over and over again and again. yeah i am a sick fuck.
“is there anything else?” i ask.
my lawyer looks at me with disdain and sighs, “there’s the other property. the cars. retirement accounts. savings account. joint checking. furniture. artwork.”
“give her what she wants. i’ll sign it later.” i say and stand up. both lawyers gawk at me. she points a finger at me and i think she wants to slap me right here in front of these people. sick fuck that i am my dick gets hard. yeah thats right i still want to take care of you. i’m leaving and i’m fucked up but i can’t let you starve or be out in the cold or uncomfortable. deal with it.
i shrug and leave the room.