Do you ever think about how we met?
I mean, you knew what you were about, didn’t you, whispering in my ear, sending shivers down my spine as you pressed against me from behind, under cover of the crowd…
Did my meek, pink-cheeked obedience intrigue you? Were you shocked to find someone like me at a boisterous reproductive rights rally? Piercings and tats in the streets, biddable vulnerability in the sheets. Were you surprised how enthusiastically you responded?
Maybe we’re both to blame for the way things have been. I could’ve been more upfront.
Scowl all you like. Yes, I know I’ve asked all this before. But I never paid close attention to your answers. Too busy being wide eyed at your dark charm, worrying that I came off too stupid or too plain to keep up. You know what you look like, darling, don’t be falsely modest now.
What’s that? Sorry, you’ll have to slow down. The drugs’re making you slur. Slow and steady, all right? I know, the drool is inconvenient, but you’ll make it through. Won’t be long now.
Uh-huh. No, it’s not about your string of peccadilloes, not even what’s their name, the latest toy… Gabriel, right. Honestly, I doubt you ever loved any of them, you simply loved the idea of them, of their bright trusting naïveté. So cliché, plundering the ranks of your impressionable students, playing the supportive mentor. Luring them in with your performative allyship. How sickeningly predictable.
No, darling, this is about you and me. Well, OK, it’s about me. For once, right? I know. I’ve always been terrible at putting myself first. Our beautiful, insightful children scold me all the time. The holy teen terrors. God, wait until they find their sea legs in the tempestuous oceans of a university campus. I can’t wait to watch them flourish.
Oh. But you won’t be seeing that at all, will you? You gave up that right when you tried to fuck up my car yesterday.
Careful! You’ll upend it if you keep thrashing about. And what would that get you? Tied to a chair with your face mashed into the carpet, that’s what. Gnash your teeth all you like into that gag. No one’s going to hear you.
Why? Well, you forced my hand, didn’t you? I did consider divorce, when I discovered your love-nest condo. But… trying to cash in on my murder? A bridge too far, I’m afraid.
Ooooh, didn’t think I’d dig up that $5-million life insurance policy, did you?
Righteous vengeance aside, the pragmatic truth is the insurance policy I have on you is only good if we’re married at the time of your death. With triplets to put through uni, a sessional salary’s not going to cut it, is it?
Hush now. Let it go, darling.
Come now, no hard feelings. I’ve won, fair and square. Let’s say goodbye with some dignity, shall we? For old time’s sake?
Sandra SG Wong writes across genres and is a multiple crime fiction awards nominee. As National President of Sisters in Crime, she advocates for equity in the crime writing community. Her next book, Windfall, is coming in 2022 from Harper Collins Canada.
This article appears in the April 2021 issue of Edify