Duplicitous

I think it’s important that you hear this from my perspective. It… it might not make sense and I don’t completely understand what happened either. I just don’t know what she would say about this, and that terrifies me.

Earlier today, I returned home from a business trip. There…there was a conference out in Chicago, and with the snow, I just couldn’t get out of the city. So I was a day late. She knew that could happen. She had to have seen the weather reports, right? She was always the kind of person to fret over these kinds of things so I can’t imagine she didn’t spend most of yesterday checking the weather every hour.

I tried to call. I really did. I called home and no one answered. It didn’t even ring. I thought I had the wrong number. So I called again. I think I called about 10 times, but nothing changed.

When I got back home, I was worried, really worried. So I ran inside. I banged the door into the wall, I think. There was a dent in the wall where the handle would have been. I didn’t think I opened it that hard, but there was the dent, like on the wall. This startled her, I thought at least. She turned around speechless and just stared at me. She was wearing a light blue dress that went down to her knees, and over that a white apron. 

I said, “Oh thank god! I tried to reach you!” 

I walked a step toward her but she took a step back and her face snapped to attention. “I was busy,” she said quickly, “I must have missed the call.” She walked back over to the counter, turning her back to me. She stood over a cutting board. It took me a second to notice, but…but she began crying.

“What’s wrong, is everything okay?”

“I’m really sorry dear, I know you just got home,” She stood straight and turned around, looking at me with a blank expression, but mascara running down her face. She smiled, “I’m not…I’m not feeling very well. Could you… could you make dinner while I fix a bath. I just need to wash up and…”

I didn’t let her finish. I know what I did next wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t have yelled at her. I shouldn’t have yelled at all, but my nerves were frayed. But it seemed so crazy to me that after worrying sick about her and getting home from an exhausting trip that I should be asked to cook. I hadn’t even walked in more than 10 minutes ago, and she didn’t even want to give me some time to rest. So I yelled.

I yelled, “Are you kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me? Let me take a single moment of rest before you expect me to…to…to fix this house, fix you dinner. I was worried sick about you and I couldn’t even get a hold of you. I was anxious and rushed back here as soon as I could to find nothing is wrong, and you’re just standing here. And now you want me to cook?”

She didn’t respond how I thought she would. Normally she would yell back. She would tell me I was being stupid. She… she would tell me where I fucked up. She would talk about how I should have found another way to get a hold of her. That she was just as anxious about me. 

But she just stood there! The smile returned to her face again and she just said, “You’re right dear. I’m sorry. I’ll cook.” I should have paid more attention then.

I mean…I mean I was completely taken aback. I stood still for a second, but I relaxed. I was happy that she could see reason. I walked back towards the front door, towards the stairs. “Thank you,” I said, “I’m going upstairs to wash off, I’ll be down soon.” 

Before I left the room, I saw her grab the knife from the cutting board. She let it hang to her side and just stood motionless. She didn’t go to get something to cut. She just stood looking away. And I thought nothing of it.

I began to climb the stairs when she started to move. She stood at the base of the stairs and called up, “Honey, maybe wash up after dinner.” I ignored her and kept climbing up the stairs. “I think that would be for the best!”

I opened the door to the bathroom and stopped.

The tub was full of red tinted water, some of which had spilled over, making long red streaks along the side of the tub. And in the water, up to its neck, was a body.

It’s hard to describe the body, because I still have trouble understanding it. It looked like me. It had my same nose, my sunken eyes, the curls in my hair, the gap between my front teeth, and the scar I had under my ear. It was even wearing my suit. But the body was bloated and sallow.

I threw up. I fell to my knees and threw up on the floor.

When I could find the energy, I stood up and turned around to call down to my wife, but she was standing at the top of the stairs, the knife now gripped firmly in her hand. “I said to wash up later.” She said it with such a serene voice, no malice, no anger, the same way she would say she loved me!

I tried to run past her, but she blocked my path downstairs, so I pivoted and ran to the… to the left, toward the guest room.

I moved quicker than her and could lock the door, but I realized that she got me. A clean but deep cut.

I’m recording this so you can know what happened. You need to know what happened, regardless of what she says.


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