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I pour a glass of orange juice for each of us in the crystal wine flutes his mother got us last year. We'd already finished off the two bottles of Chardonnay last night, first screaming and fighting and cursing, then weeping until we just had to laugh. So here we are with orange juice, lots of pulp but no alcoholic content. Damn.
Usually I'd be walking about in just the deep burgundy sheet off of our bed, smiling seductively as I came with just one chilled glass to our bedside, but we weren't "us" anymore. "Us" used to entail sticky, salty sex and cinnamon schnapps. It used to mean I'd cook us dinner and we'd have to sit next to each other instead of across because the few extra inches of distance stung our skin. "Us" meant fighting until four in the morning because he hadn't walked in the door until two hours earlier and his phone'd been off all night.
Now it's him, and it's me.
We were sitting at the kitchen table, the single light above us the only one on. The sun was pulling herself up above the horizon, eager to remind us that time doesn't pause for anyone.
"So," I pouted with a sigh as I sat at the chair across from him, "what do I do now?"
He seemed a little offended at the question. With his favorite, most condescending tone he said to me- "Well, Jenna, what have we been discussing this whole night? The last 12 hours have been nothing but us discussing what you're gonna do. And that's up to you now, Jenna. You're an adult, you decide."
Ooooh, he had some nerves, Billy. He always knew exactly what to say to make me feel like a child, and he enjoyed doing so. The sizzle of anger I felt was enough to make me want to rise out of my seat.
"Oh no, Oh no, William. This is up to you, now, to figure out what I'm 'gonna do.' You see, it wasn't up to me when you stayed out alllll night with some green-eyed floozy and then it was NOT UP TO ME when you lied about said floozy the several times I asked where you were at two, three, four in the -"
"Jenna we've discussed that enough. What we're discussing currently are your plans for the future." He spoke in that patronizing monotone that made me want to smash his head in.
I smashed my glass against the wall instead.
"I will say when we've discussed YOUR CHEATING ON ME 'enough!' But I know one thing for damn sure, and that's that twelve hours of 'discussing' your ADULTERY was not enough. Not by a long shot, William. I'll call you up every day if I have to, if that's what is going to make ME feel better, I'll call you up and tell you what a miserable, insufferable pig you are. And once you stop taking my calls, oh you can bet a silver dollar I'll be showin' up at your place to tell you in person you despicable COWARD!"
I collapsed to the floor, sobbing into a glittery mess of citrus. My head was already pounding out of my skull from the last several times I'd burst into tears just hours before.
"Jen - Jenna, please." His tone broke into something soft and tender that I recognized. It was the same voice he used when we chatted about baby names over our honeymoon breakfast. He'd liked David for a boy but I thought it was much too stuffy. He'd giggled and hugged me close, just because he wanted to hug me.
"There's glass in your hand, Jenna. Let me clean it out." He'd already grabbed a pair of tweezers from the junk drawer in the kitchen, and was meticulously, gently pulling the bits from my palm and into his napkin.
I pulled away from him as much as I could.
"Thanks." I grumbled at my feet.
He wiped my hand clean, then got up to get a compress for it, but I put my unwounded hand on his knee.
"Let it bleed."
He shrugged and sat against the wall next to me, knowing that sometimes I just want things to be unkempt, and sometimes I don't make much sense. He knows a lot about me, Billy. He knows a lot.
"Jenna I screwed up. Royally. I had so much going right for me, with you. Remember that summer we spent together, in college? We'd get drunk in the middle of the day, eating watermelons and Popsicles, and that one time we scared the neighbor's kids so badly that - "
" - that they called the police." we chuckled together. I could feel the blood from my hand drip delicately onto the linoleum.
"I don't know what I'm going to do without you, Jen. You've added so much life, and fun, and spirit into me. I just don't know what I'm gonna do..."
He lifted his hand to my chin, and when I looked into his eyes I swear it seemed his pupils were cracked in half with the pain.
"...kiss me? Just one last time." A layer of tears wobbled in the front of his eyes.
I pressed my eyelids together and tried to ignore that feeling you get when everything is coming apart. Like the ground is crumbling right out from under you.
"Oh, Billy..." I raised my own, bloodied hand towards his scruffy cheek.
I flattened out my palm and wiped it across his mouth, staining it red as I stood from my spot on the floor.
"I think you'll manage."