He isn’t sure, doesn’t want to be actually, he’s been ignoring the hints and the signs, no that’s not accurate, he’s been looking for hints and signs and then ignoring them. Well the truth, the absolute truth is that he doesn’t want to know, doesn’t have any desire to examine the thing.
It’s like when you think you feel a lump, on your neck, on your balls whatever. First of all there’s the cold water in your face shock, then you fiddle a bit more and convince yourself it’s getting bigger, then you try and be logical and convince yourself it’s getting smaller. Then you go to bed and worry about it for hours in the dark and next morning you get up and the blamed thing has gone, or was never there in the first place.
That’s what it’s like, he found her phone and there was a message, he had no idea what made him open it, that’s just wrong of course it is, decent people don’t do that. It’s kind of immaterial now anyway, but he shouldn’t have done it. Perhaps that’s it; maybe this is a punishment of some sort. Maybe he didn’t fulfil some sort of cosmic criteria, didn’t reach some score set by the universe and so blam! The cold water moment.
Well for a while he convinced himself it wasn’t anything, like the lump that wasn’t a lump on his left testicle. Okay, it looked suspicious. Karen, can’t wait for Friday. Longing to see you again. Hugs xx Charlie. So he’s done the whole gamut of emotions, anger, fear, sadness, more anger. Surely after all they’ve been through together she’s not having an affair, not his Karen, not his girl. She can’t be.
Turning to her in the early light, while she’s still sleeping, her mouth slightly open and her hair awry, but beautiful to him, gorgeous, he feels the tears welling up. No God, if you exist, don’t let this happen, not to me and Karen.
She stirs, mumbles slightly in her sleep, to his shame he tries to listen without disturbing her, is she muttering a name. Is she seeing someone else there behind her fluttering eyelids, there in his bed, their bed? Is someone else holding her invisibly, virtually beside him?
She opens her eyes, smiles at him, the sun comes out. His heart is breaking, shattering, splintering, it is actually painful, the lump in his throat is the size of an orange.
It’s Friday and he has to act, to do something, say something. What? how can he ask her, what can he say that won’t devastate their relationship, what words can he use that won’t explode a grammatical grenade, fragmenting the trust and lacerating the love.
A shot in the dark, that’s all it can be. “D’ya want to go out tonight, after work, a drink, dinner?” His breath is stilled, stunned with fear he waits.
“Yeah, great, lovely. Only thing is.”
Finger nails draw blood in his palms, “What? problem? You have something else on?”
“Well, yes, d’ya remember Charlotte, from Uni, blonde, from Aus. She’s in UK and I said I’d meet her, doesn’t matter though, we can all three go. It’ll be fun, you always fancied her.”