We were fighting again. Not that that's anything new. This time, I was trying to explain to her that the reason she felt cut off from God was entirely her fault. God is not silent, she was just too wrapped up in her music and her theater and her primadonnaness. Of course, she wasn't accepting my point of view very well. She was changing into her pajamas in the bedroom closet again, so I wouldn't see her naked. I could hear her wimpering as I watched her shadow peek between the slats in the closet door.

I'm sick of her tears. I won't allow her to manipulate me with them anymore. She cries at the slightest change in my tone of voice. She needs to toughen up or something. I dunno.

But she was weeping there in the closet when Angie knocked on the door. She screamed, "Don't let her in here!" from behind the slotted door, with a harsh desperation in her voice that I rather liked. She should have known that a comment like that would get an equal and opposite reaction from me. I left her there in the closet to get the door.

As it turns out, Angie had left her piano books with Mindy at her last lesson and was hoping to pick them up. How well timed. Angie can back me up on this and get Mindy to change. "Lemme check with her," I said. "She's in the closet."

"In the closet?" Angie asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Don't ask me." I entered the bedroom and whispered harshly through the door. "She's your friend, your piano student. You'd better wipe your face and get out here."

"I told you not to let her in," Mindy hissed through the door.

"She's waiting in the living room. Go get her books from the car." I stalked back out to the living room where Angie was waiting. "She'll be right out," I informed her. "Have a seat."

Moments later, Mindy made her appearance, clad in white cotton pajamas, curly hair mussed, cheeks streaked with the evidence of her tears. Without a word, she left the apartment and returned with Angie's piano books. She was doing it on purpose, I could tell; playing the role of the abused wife, hoping to get a sympathetic reaction from Angie, which was exactly the outcome.

But I wouldn't allow Mindy to direct the conversation. No, I would get my point in, make sure Angie understood my side of things. Anybody can hear from God if they're listening. If Mindy's not hearing, she must be doing something wrong. She's constantly keeping busy, it's like she's married to her hobbies and not to me.

Damn her hobbies. Damn her ministry. Damn her music. She thinks she's so cool because she can sing, because she can act, because she can write plays or whatever. Because everybody loves her, because she's everyone's pet, everyone's prodigy. She's not so great. They should all try living with her, dealing with her leaving papers lying around everywhere, her bitching about my being distracted, her wanting to buy everything in sight, her need for constant reassurance about her body...

I must have allowed my thoughts to consume me, because shortly, and without fully realizing it, I was telling my entire life story to Angie. I have no idea how we got from point A to point...where the hell were we, anyway? Somewhere around point V, I would guess. And then that bitch Angie had to ask that question, and she had to phrase it in such a way that there was no ducking out of it. No matter how I answered it, the truth was about to come out.

"Have you always been faithful in your marriage?" she asked.

Now that was a pregnant pause. "I..." Mindy's eyes met mine, and I flinched, ever so slightly. That moment seemed like days, and I knew there was no going back, no denying it, because she already had arrived at my answer. I allowed my face to fall and blinked back tears with wide eyes. "No," I quietly admitted. I suddenly found reason to notice the color and texture of the carpet. "I cheated last November."

Mindy ceased breathing for I don't know how long. But Angie couldn't let it go at that, she pressed it, speaking what she somehow knew without my saying. "It wasn't with a woman, was it?"

There it was, hanging in the air, mocking my puppy dog face, drawing liquid into the corners of Mindy's eyes, furrowing her brow.

I decided to admit it. There was enough clues, enough indications, now that Angie had spoken the accusation. It was like that part at the end of a suspenseful, confusing movie where all the parts that didn't seem to add up suddenly came together and formed this terribly clear, sharp photograph, colored by a bit of irony:

The whole thing began with Mindy in the closet.

And it all unravelled from there.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.