She was sick. The diseases had been inherited from her father. They helped explain so much, and yet the question remained: why?
"You tell her," the woman said, her stepmother. We stood outside their house, the sky above deeply clouded, the air thick and close. I was leaning against my car, the car that was mine. I nodded back to her. She wouldn't understand me, was the woman's unspoken insinuation. This was my burden. Somehow I knew it always had been.
The girl lay on her stomach on her bed. There was a tension between us that I didn't remember initially. Then it dawned on me. The time was now, not then, not back when this girl loved me. It was today, and today I'm married to someone else, a someone who waits patiently for me in our car outside.
"They said there are really two problems, two diseases at work. One's responsible for the depression, the OCD, the hyperactivity." I paused. "The hypersexuality. The other hasn't really started to affect you yet, but it will, soon. Atrophy of the higher brain function."
She seemed to understand, to accept it. She wouldn't lead a normal life like she had expected, but that was OK. She got up, kissed me briefly on the cheek and smiled. She even thanked me. She walked out of her room and I followed.
"My boyfriend's coming over for dinner," she said. It hurt to hear that. "My boyfriend" - that wasn't me. And soon enough the boyfriend did arrive. It was time for me to go, to do whatever I was really in this, my hometown, to do. The girl walked me out, her jealous phat boyfriend closely behind. At the steps down from the backdoor, I turned. I looked Mr. Phat in the eyes and said, "Go away, I need to talk to her before I go."
We talked for a long while, and then came to the crux of it all.
Hurt sprang from her eyes and slapped me, "If only you hadn't stopped loving me," she said.
"What?," I said, in disbelief. "You were the one who stopped loving me. I still love you, am still in love with you."
"And what about her," she thrust out her chin to indicate my wife waiting in the car.
"Well, that's where the rub is, isn't it."