Last night she looked me in the eye and told me she’d do anything I wanted, go anywhere I wanted. Before sunrise she tried to stab herself in the belly with a little knife. Not the sharpest knife in the place – but still. I had to hold her down for a while.
“Honeybee, we can’t keep doing this,” I say. “We have to stop.”
We are sitting on the floor at the miniature table in Charlie’s room. We are too big for the white chairs. We don’t want to break them, even now. You might not think we’d be in that room, but it is the most comfortable place to sit. It has the softest carpet, anyway.
“We’re no good, babe,” she says. “I feel like we should just die.”
She is telling the truth, as far I can see.
We sleep a little, right there on the green carpet.
The sun is up when I open my eyes. She is awake too, but she hasn’t moved.
“Do you want me to fix us a drink?” she says. “So we can figure this out.” “Sure, honeybee,” I say. “If that’s what you want.”
She gets up and takes the two empty glasses from the table and opens the door and walks out of the room. I can hear her in the kitchen washing the glasses in the sink and dropping ice cubes into the clean glasses. The pain behind my eyes isn’t too bad, which is a good sign.
She walks back in the room and hands me one of the glasses. I put it down on the table before I take a drink, and I feel good about that. She is wearing my gray sweatshirt, whose neck she has cut with scissors so you can see a little of her chest. She is still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen in my life.
We moved here four years ago. We got a great deal on a mortgage after the crash, and my salary wasn’t too bad. Isn’t, I should say. They called it a fixer-upper, and I did most of the fixing up myself. The work made me feel tired in that nice way, like after fucking sometimes.
“I’ve had it,” she says. She sits down on the carpet with her back against the door.
I move closer to her on the carpet, so I know I can hug her, if I need to.
“You’ve had it,” is all I say. I take a sip of my whiskey.
“I think I need to go stay with my mother,” she says.
“With your mother.” Her mother is a nice person. Maybe that would help. But the woman hates my guts. That much I know for sure.
“That’s what I said.”
“You don’t need that, honeybee.”
“I do need it, babe. Either that or I kill myself,” she says.
I don’t know what to say. I used to have things to say. I’ve used them all up.
“I feel like my whole insides just turned to ash,” she says.
“You’re a wonderful woman, honeybee.”
When I go to the kitchen to fix us a second drink, I hear a knocking on the front door. I try to see who it is from the window above the sink, but the angle is awkward and I can’t tell. The street is always full of parked cars, so that’s no help either.
I walk back to the room with the glasses. She moves to let me in and then slides back to her place with her back against the door.
“Did you hear that knocking?” I say.
“I bet it’s nothing,” I say.
“We could take a vacation,” I say. I thought it up when I was in the kitchen.
“Where?” she says.
“I don’t know, honeybee. Wherever you want.”
“It’ll be your busy season coming up, though,” she says. “We’d have to wait ‘til after anyway.”
“Yes, we’d have to wait,” I say. “You’re right.”
“I want to go to my mother’s, at least for a week or so,” she says.
“A week or so,” I say.
“Something like that.”
“Okay, honeybee. Whatever you want.”
“Listen,” she says. “Do you ever think about how—”
“Not now, honeybee,” I say. “We don’t need to do that to ourselves this morning.”
But we always do.