was that ugliest of monsters, a sadomasochist. Heis wife's natural joy he percieved as a deliberate reproach to him. He began to treat her, this intelligent and blooming woman, this loving wife, as if she were a naughty and irritating child. "Really, Meta
, for heaven's sake!
" (tone:mild exasperation); "You will permit me to remark, Meta, that that was not exactly the wisest choice" (tone: icy politeness
); "How extraordinarily witty, Meta!" (tone: sarcastic scorn
). She would flinch turn away, blush, sometimes even cry.
My pleasure at her anguish cause me an anguish that gave me pleasure. I was, I suppose, testing her. How far could I go before she ceased to love me? Far, very far. But over time I killed something in her. No longer did she smile when I appeared; no longer did she seek to wrap her arms around my neck. Decorum entered our household, at least in my presence.
In time I stopped sleeping with Meta. It began as an experiment, another test. I started to stay late at the office, feigned tiredness, feigned indifference to the demands of the libido. How would she react? At first with understanding, then with tears, at last with resignation. Another turn of the screw: I began to sleep in the guestroom. She said nothing. After a while she moved my clothing there.
I managed in my madness to blame her for the indifernece I had carefully cultivated in her. We spoke to one another finally with distant politeness only".
Taken from "The Prince of West End Avenue" by Alan Isler.