What do you mean?

Published on 1 April 2023 at 11:11

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“I mean, he is having an affair,” I stopped short.

She looked at me, her eyes watering, her lips trembling. She looked so frightened as if her whole world had crashed around her. Her physical and mental world. I had flashes of buildings crumbling and exploding as her emotions leapt from fear to anger, to sadness to pain.

“Who?” she whispered. “No, don’t tell me, it doesn’t matter,” she cried, her tears flowing like a dripping tap.

Was I prepared to tell her? In the emotional heat, maybe, yes. But probably not in cold futurity.

I tried to put my arm around her, but she shrugged it off.

“How long have you known?”

That question. Almost as bad as ‘who?’

“Two months,” I replied looking straight at her. She raised her head. The tears stopped, leaving red streaks on her cheeks and her eyes bloodshot.

She choked as she tried to say something. Coughing, she ran into the bathroom and I heard her retching, coughing. There wasn’t much left of her being. Her body had expelled everything during the last hour. But the changing emotions wracked her body unmercilessly.

I heard water running, bottles and packets being pulled out of the cabinet. Tablets. I rushed into the bathroom and saw the bottle, water and her swallowing, crying, choking. The tablets wouldn’t go down quick enough. I didn’t even bother looking at what she was taking, I just grabbed the bottle and threw it away, the remaining tablets pitted across the floor. She screamed and fell to the floor trying to rescue what was left. I pulled her away, she fought me, but I grabbed her from behind, performing a make-shift Heimlich and made her retch. She couldn’t breathe. It was either breathe or vomit. I forced the right option. A fizzing white foam spewed out of her mouth as she tried to escape me. I heaved and squashed her insides, extracting whatever was left inside her. She calmed down, breathing hard and crying. A dry cry – no fluid left in her body.

Her shoulders shook and a more mournful sob I have never heard, like a sickly animal she finally gave up and let fate do what it would with her.

I soaked a towel and cleaned her up. I took off her vomit and tear-soaked t-shirt. Her bra sagged off her shoulder and as I dragged her into the bedroom, her bra fell and exposed her breasts. I had to get her into the bed. She refused to move. How could I get her into the bed by myself? The only remedy – force.

I propped her up by the side of the bed, climbed onto it and with one hand grabbed her hair, with the other under her arm and pulled. She screamed and tried to free herself by turning towards me, but as she did this, she had to stand and it was quick enough motion for me to twist her onto the bed. I straddled her as soon as she was down. For a second, I felt real power, but it faded just as quickly when I saw the defeated look in her eyes.

“Leave me alone,” she croaked turning away. I let her turn into the duvet.

I got off the bed. I checked her bedside drawers for anything sharp or medicated. Nothing. She would be safe in the bedroom. I closed the door and hoped she would sleep.

I cleaned up the bathroom and threw the remaining tablets down the toilet. I removed all the other medication; tablets, liquids, capsules I could find from the bathroom and kitchen, throwing them into my bag.

I would have to leave at some point, but couldn’t leave her alone. I made two phone calls. Thirty minutes later, her sister appeared, upset, concerned but in her doctor role, she took over. I explained the drugs. I would take them away. I needed to leave. She thanked me, hugged me.

“You’re a real friend”, she said meaning it.

How could I say the affair was my fault!