I check the security tape from last night.
Just as I suspected.
Can’t let it bother me however. Tonight’s a special night. Lots to prepare, nothing to lose.
I start by taking the greasy dishes in the sink and washing them one by one. I dust off the leather furniture in our rec-room. I even pick up my laundry. She’ll be so impressed.
The clean-up took less time than I expected it to, what to do now? I could watch the next episode of Stranger Things. Maybe I could finish reading my book. Perhaps I could call my ailing mother. But do you know what I choose to do? I watch the tape.
I watch it again and again and again and again.
By the time my wife gets home I’m sweating. My teeth are gritted. I’m gripping the computer mouse in my fury. If it were a real mouse it would’ve suffocated. But I can’t let my wife see me like this, at least not yet. I get out of my chair adjust my tie into a straight line, wipe the sweat off of my brow with a tissue, and walk to the foyer to greet her. I feel like an actor before an opening night performance of a one-night-only special show.
I get to the foyer just as she’s closing the door behind her. She takes off her coat and comes to my embrace with open arms. I feel the blood racing beneath her skin, faster than usual. After 5 years of marriage you start to pick these things up.
“Sorry I’m late honey. Unexpected meeting”
No problem darling. No problem at all.
I cook her favorite meal as she sits down to try and beat level 6 of candy-crush on her new Iphone. She asks me question after question on how my day went.
“Hows your mother?”
“Are you liking the novel you took out?”
“Have you seen episode 6 of stranger things?”
I answer each one like throwing out an overripe fruit. Tasting it briefly before moving onto the next. But she doesn’t mind. Just as long as I keep pulling promotions and holiday bonuses out of my pocket, she’s happy. All she really cares about are brunches with her fellow Bourgeois bitches and shopping trips to Aritzia.
We finish our meal (time for wine!) we clink together our glasses and smile at one another. I only drink one glass. I wait until she’s had 4. She begins to softly giggle.
“So” she says, stroking the table with her fingers. “What shall we do?”
I suggest Netflix. She laughs and agrees.
“It’ll be just like our first date!”
That and more darling. That and more.
She stumble-trips her way into the sitting room and falls face-first onto the spotless leather sofa. She begins to stir as I prepare the system.
“What do want to watch?” I ask.
Looking at me behind her black-veil of mussed hair, she gives me her teasingly sweet response.
“Whatever you want babe. Whatever. You. Want.”
Whatever I want? Netflix is no longer the only option.
“I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t be gone too long…”
Like a proper gentleman, I fulfill her wish. Within a minute, I’ve returned with the blank, shiny disc containing the security tape. I put it in the dvd drive and ask my wife if she wants popcorn. She says yes.
By the time the kernels have started to pop, the feature presentation has already begun. No commercials. No menu. No opening credits. Just the plain-sight, black-and-white truth of what happened in our bedroom last night. Something she thought she’d never have to look upon again. I return to the rec room with the popcorn. Also the kitchen knife.
I see that she is sitting up now. The sight of her ultimate sin has clearly left her quite sober. On the tape, she and her boss ooze their bodies against one another, grainy and ghostlike within the prison of our 800 dollar flat screen. I gently lay the bowl of popcorn down in her lap.
“Enjoying yourself honey?”
No response. I grab the remote and crank up the volume. On the tape, she’s nearing her climax. In the present moment, her mouth is locked open. Her eyes look like scratched marbles. I put an affectionate arm around her collar-bone as I apply the kitchen knife to her shapely throat.
“Happy Anniversary darling.”