‘I don’t love you anymore. I’m sorry. I wish I did. Things would be so much easier.’
‘Don’t say that! I can’t stand it when you say that.’
We are making a token attempt at discussing our situation. We are playing at being civilised about it. The familiar burnt toast smell of our once shared kitchen, it’s cluttered, homely cosiness accuses me, silently.
‘You can stop saying that too!’
‘Well what do you want me to say?’
‘What does it matter what I want? When in this whole sorry business have you ever considered what I want?’
‘I have considered what you want. I am doing this for you as much as me. I don’t want either of us to find ourselves sitting opposite each other in five years’ time, with nothing to say, when the kids have gone and there’s nothing to distract us from one another.’
‘You’re doing this for me? You must be kidding. You’re doing this for yourself and your tart!’
‘She’s not a tart.’
‘Don’t you dare tell me what she is and what she isn’t. She is stealing someone else’s husband. My husband. I’ll decide what best describes her.’
We sit opposite each other over ‘our’ tiny kitchen table. Merciful silence reigns for a moment. The plastic table cloth, its ancient William Morris pattern still clearly visible in places, is sticky with honey and spilt milk from the children’s breakfast.
‘Why do you like her anyway? What do you see in her?’
‘I don’t know exactly.’
‘She’s short and fat and her bum sticks out.’
‘I don’t know about that!’
‘And she has buck teeth.’
‘She does not have buck teeth.’
‘Yes she does, and she’s a slut.’
‘She is easy to be with, good company.’
‘Oh I bet she is.’
‘No, not like that. I mean she is, we are, simpatico.’
‘Simpatico? When did you start using words like simpatico?’
‘We get on.’
‘Do you think she is beautiful?’
‘No, not exactly. She perfectly alright looking.’
‘Well she can be sexy I suppose.’
‘You suppose? You don’t know for certain? You’re not sure if the woman you dumped me for is sexy or not?’
‘Oh stop it.’
It’s raining again. Hard pellets of rain tap angrily against the glass. The sky hangs very low and black over the city. It will be dark soon.
‘If she’s not beautiful and she’s not sexy. Is she at least generous, or kind to animals and small children? Is she strong, or loving or a good fucking cook! Something, anything! Give me one bloody reason why you prefer her to me!’
‘She’s just adorable.’
‘Yes, I find her charming and sweet.’
‘That’s it? That’s all you’ve got?’
‘I find her adorable.’
‘Sounds more like a bunny rabbit than a woman. Come to think of it, she does look a bit like a rabbit, it’s the big brown eyes.’
I feel disloyal but I have to agree. There is a very slight resemblance.
Outside it is now fully dark and raining hard.