Dumb

I am so dumb. I speak before spoken to, without knowing or understanding implications or meaning. I sing without music or voice. I jump into quicksand blind to the black. I spurn the helping hand in fear, and stay deaf when branches rustle and reach. Only bare Faith…and the Wave… and my Anchor, thrust me back to the edge, so I can claw my way out.

I’m sitting across from Pete, not listening. I’m back from Portland. Guilty feeling.

He holds a secret while he talks, I can feel it. So I let him go on, as he’s sure to spill. He always does.

And then…

“So, how was your trip?  Was it good?  You seem quiet.”

“Hmm?  Oh, Portland was great.  Lots of fun.”

Tom nods before continuing.

“Anything I should know about?”

I look at him quizzically.  “What do you mean?”

“Well, we fought before we left. Have you had a chance to think?  About us?”

“My feelings haven’t changed, Pete.  I want some time apart.”

“Were you faithful to me, Margie?”

And then I look at him, angry at first, and then I smile.

“Of course.”

“Of course, what?” he asks.

“I should have known. So do you know him?”

“Who?”

“The guy. The guy I slept with in Portland.”

Pete couldn’t hide his jubilance, his hubris at winning.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Margie. You really need to get off this ‘kick’ of yours, I keep telling you, your worries are all in your head. Maybe we should try counsel—“

I cut him off.

“Yes, everything over the past eight years with you…it’s been all in my head.  Let’s see…”

I get up and walk to the bathroom.

“What are you doing?”

“What do you mean, Pete?  I’m looking up your LiveJournal account.”

“Margie, come back so we can---“

“I mean really, what does it LOOK like?”

“It looks like you’re taking off your clothes.”

“Oh. Does it?  I’m NOT taking off my clothes right now, Pete.  I’m reading about how you and your friends like to go hang out for a circle jerk after a bicycle trip.”

I wrap a towel around myself, and begin running a shower.

“…and now, I’m walking down the hill across from your OTHER house across town.”

“What the fuck?”

I get in the shower.

“What do YOU MEAN, PETE?  Can’t you see me?  Isn’t that you jumping back into the jeep and speeding away with your buds?”

“You really are crazy.”

Margie begins washing her hair.

“Really? I mean it might LOOK like I’m washing my hair right now, but I’m not. Right now, I’m watching as you flirt with the fucking waiter at our favorite restaurant.

Oh, and now, I’m looking up your other dating profile.  Nice cock, you bastard. Hey, were you wondering where that naked picture of you went?

Right now, I’m comparison shopping – that’s right….”

“You fucking bitch.”

“Am I, Pete– AM I the fucking bitch?  You’re the fucking coward that can’t admit you like it up the ass, can’t even admit it TO YOUR WIFE, when she tells you her secret—

By now, I am out of the shower, and interrupt myself, toweling off.

“Wait,” I look at Pete's face in horror, and double over in disbelief.

“You planned this…you planned this…this sabotage. It’s why you keep wanting me to go to the psychiatrist, it’s why all your friends wives are ‘crazy’ – or druggies… I swear to God.”

And then the name dropping follows. I can feel it well up inside me, like vomit.

“I thought you were like me, I thought you didn’t want to come out ---  I know people, Tom. That fucker friend of yours, in Portland….  Why….Why did he take off the condom?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 “My boss – do you know who my boss is?  She’s a former AIDS researcher with the United Nations.  She reports to the Vice President of the University, who reports to the fucking President.  I swear to God…if I get a disease...if I get HIV..."

"That's impossible," he screams.

I  choke back tears. I finish getting dressed. I put on my shoes. I wipe the tears and snot off my face.

“I can’t be here with you right now. We’ll talk later.”

I get in my car and drive away.

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