The tension between them was palpable. So much so that in fact, you could feel it through your fingers.
Chris uncrossed his legs and crossed them again almost immediately. He watched the woman he loved, the woman he could easily exchange his own life for working furiously. He had never seen her this angry before. The scene was unsettling. How did they get to this point? Was it possible for someone to be this angry, this scary? She looked like a monster. Definitely not her normal self. Definitely not the woman who said she would love him to the end of the world and back. He watched her silently as she packed her bags, wanting to say something, to explain himself but it was as if his mouth wasn’t his anymore. He couldn’t even bring himself to open it.
He stood up, he couldn’t take it anymore.
“Jolie,” He began uncertainly
She said nothing, ignoring him completely. It was as if he wasn’t there, as if he hadn’t called her name.
“Jolie please, give me five minutes of your time. That’s all I am asking for.”
She finished packing and hastily zipped up her bag. She hastily threw her scarf on her shoulders and put on her rubber shoes. It was a chilly night. Her phone rang; it was her cab guy.
Chris blocked her way.
“Listen to me babe, please. At least give me the benefit of doubt.” She could see the desperation in his eyes. He looked so desperate standing there, defeated and with all of his usual cockiness gone. It was almost….what was the word….almost pathetic. He disgusted her. The realization hit her like a wave, jolting her upright.
“My cab is waiting outside,” she almost spat at him.
“I know, after listening to what I have to say, I will drop you to the end of the world. I will even take you to heaven if you want to.”
Under normal circumstances she would have smiled, laughed even at his silly attempt at humor, but right now all she could think about was how much she loathed him.
“You are wasting my time,” she said impatiently, her voice unconsciously rising a mean note higher.
“Honey please,” Chris whined miserably. “I need you in my life. Now more than ever.”
She didn’t know she had it in her. Frankly speaking, neither did he. The slap shocked them both. It landed squarely on his left cheek, the impact pushing him backward. He staggered and held on to the wall, disbelieve written all over his face.
Jolie was trembling like a leaf. She had never hit anyone before…the reaction surprised even her. The realization that she had violent tendencies in her was unarming. But….but, why did that feel so…so good? The look on his face gave her such satisfying pleasure; she almost wanted to give him a good second one.
She spoke for the first time that evening.
“Don’t you dare tell me such lies again,” she said calmly. She definitely felt better. Much better than she’d care to admit.
“We need to talk,” Chris said for the umpteenth time.
“I believe we have nothing else to talk about. We have been here; we have done this a hundred times before. I do not think there is anything new we can accomplish by talking.” she rolled the word “talking” on her tongoue disgustedly, as if just saying it made her sick.
The cab guy called again. Chris cursed and went to talk to him.
Jolie looked around, feeling tears sting the corner of her eyes. She willed herself not to cry. She could not afford to. Not now. She looked at the house they had bought together, the house she had lovingly made a home for both of them. And she was leaving it all behind. All of it and for what? All because the man she loved so much could not keep it in his pants.
As the thoughts rushed through her head, Chris came back.
He led her to the bed and made her sit on it. He sat next to her.
“I know you don’t trust me right now, but you have to believe me when I tell you I need you in my life. That I can’t live my life without you.”
Jolie looked at him and said nothing. The look she gave him made him wish for the ground to open up and swallow him. It made him shrink in his clothes. He hated when she behaved this way, would rather when she was kicking and fighting him.
“Please say something.”
“God, you are so full of yourself Chris. I never saw a man with as much bullshit as you. You sleep with some stranger who could be carrying only God knows what diseases; you sleep around with such and here you are now, shameless, talking about needing me. What is wrong with you? Oh, by the way, if you really want to talk be man enough and feed me with the truth and nothing but the truth. Do not lie to me.”
Chris was quiet for a minute. He knew this time round if he did not play his cards right he would lose her forever. He knew also, he could not live with himself if he did. She wanted the truth….but could she handle it?”
“Fine, I’ll be honest with you. I slept with that woman.”
“Tell me something I don’t know yet,” Jolie barked at him.
“I am. Just listen to me.” He swallowed. Jolie could feel her heart beating through her chest.
“But that does not mean I do not love you. You are the only woman I will truly ever love. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the truth.”
Jolie wanted to laugh. “So let me ask you the obvious, why did you do it then?”
“Because,” Chris begun, “Because I’m a man. We men aren’t wired like you women. I could sleep with someone else and it could mean absolutely nothing. And I mean it when I say absolutely nothing. The moment I leave that place, I might not even remember what the woman’s name is. It is not emotional. It is purely physical. Men are not created to be monogamous. That is not how we are wired. But it does not mean that we cannot love one person. On the contrary, our hearts can only belong to one person; and mine belongs to you.”
Jolie stared at him in disbelief. Her husband was losing his mind! Oh the audacities in him to even utter such words!
“You wanted the truth; I am giving it to you. Say, someone gave you a toy. And you get to love this toy to the extent that you cannot sleep without it. You even go everywhere with this toy. You are proud of this toy and you show it to whoever cares to listen. But what if someone told you that you cannot buy another toy. That even if sometimes you get bored with this toy, you can never get another one? What if you get to like another toy, even if you knew you would never love it like your first toy? What if you cannot have another toy even if it means getting this other toy will relieve the pressures off the toy love of your life for a while? That playing with this toy will make you appreciate even more why you loved your original toy in the first place? What if playing with this new toy is just that; playing and nothing more?” he paused to catch his breath. He looked at her, sensing the confusion on her face. He knew she could not understand, would never understand the point he was trying to pass across. “What I am saying is, I love you more than anything else in the world. And no one/ nothing I do will ever change that. So, I want to say I am so sorry for breaking your heart. It is like there is a devil in me pushing me to do these evil things. I promise I will try not to repeat my evil doings again.”
Jolie stood up and clapped her hands slowly.
“Congratulations Chris. That is the most bullshit I ever heard from one person. Thank you for wasting five minutes of my life. If you don’t mind, I have to leave now.”
Chris fell back on the bed in exasperation. Without Jolie in his life, he knew he was completely ruined.