The only threat she ever made to me when we were together left me crying long after she went to bed. I remember watching rain as hard as glass fall and the smell of a peach pie baking across the house. She came up behind me, slipped her arms around my waist, reeking of those horrible wine coolers she loved to drink. She had been a failed dancer. Her sister had been murdered years ago. I did all that I could to help her stay standing, but all she wanted to do was be solid black, a mass to be studied by others more fortunate than her.
She cried my name and I counted it along with the raindrops that pelted the wisterias we planted. I knew that this would getting close to the end. When she started texting others in bed, when she started to look out the window during dinner – she was writing an academic study on how to leave someone. She wasn’t getting the words out, so I snapped at her, told her to spit it out. She let go and backed up and I spun and put my hands on her cheeks, tried like hell to get her to mouth it, at least. I remember thinking that when we dream at night, we try to imagine scenarios like this, but our brains will not allow us to be realistic. They’d rather give you the fantasy that you can never touch, that seems so out of step with who you really are.
She broke away from me and went back into the kitchen. I followed. I told her that if she was going to leave me, to just do it now, to go in the rain so at least it would be a better story than what we ever were. She started to apologize but I wouldn’t let her finish. I ran upstairs to start packing her things. I threw them in my old Army duffel bag. I didn’t hear her come up behind me. Her voice was crystal clear, ready with fire. She said, “If you do this to me, you’ll never meet your son.” I turned around. In tears, she pointed to her stomach. My heart was no longer a heart. All I could say was “why were you drinking then?” She couldn’t answer. Why would a human being answer a question, anyway? She collapsed into my arms and we fell back on the bed. She fell asleep and I started to cry. It was a hell of a threat. The peach pie was downstairs burning. I could smell it. But I couldn’t bring myself to save it. I was burning too.