Then as she is pulling on her black lace panties (always right leg, then left leg) I roll back over and put my face into the little indentation in her pillow where her warm head had been moments before. I would breathe deeply so I could smell the lingering sweetness left behind by her hair.
Then she started to drink too much and then she started to go out midweek and leave me alone in the flat, enduring endless excruciating mental torture. Then she lost her job and insisted on sitting on the couch watching daytime TV shows all day. Then she lost the sparkle in her eye and she stopped wearing makeup and then she started to look old and tired and she would look at me with dead, resentful eyes.
Then she would go out nearly every night of the week without me and some nights she wouldn’t come home at all and when she did come back she would always ask me for more money which I would reluctantly give her, just so she could drink more and more to try and forget me. Then she began to hate me even more and she couldn’t even look at me, she would just sit in the kitchen and look at the trees, smoking cigarette after cigarette through her pinched, acidic lips.
She hadn’t contributed anything to the household other than overflowing ashtrays and rows of empty gin bottles. She would just sit at the window for hours, smoking endless cigarettes (that I had paid for incidentally) and stare out into the trees; she would just sit glaring at the softly shifting leaves, as though they had done something wrong, that they were to blame for everything had happened. She would look across the school playground and eventually break the heavy silence by saying ‘We should have a baby; I really want to have a baby, now, before it is too late’.
I would just look at her across the untidy, cluttered kitchen that I was desperately trying to clean before I had to leave for work and it was only then that I began to notice the lines around her eyes and the grey hairs that were starting to sparkle at the split ends on the top of her skull. We had had this conversation a thousand times and it always ended up with her hysterically accusing me of being a waste of oxygen; or that I was only half a man and I couldn’t even maintain my pathetic erection anyway.