Last night in the hall, we brushed past each other like strangers. "Excuse me." He had said, and went into the tantric bedroom. The last time we kissed each other was years ago, and I was thrown off, because heíd had a small pimple, right below his hairline. The first time he cheated on me, he promised to build me a new house. He would bring home floor plans, blue prints and colour schemes. The last time he cheated on me, he decided to redo our bedroom. Made it look like a tantric love temple. He and one of his architect buddies had painted the walls purple, and hung expensive red, and gold sariís to border the walls. Then he put a mirror above our bed, and expected us to sleep there together. I havenít slept there since they finished the room.
Sometimes I have all this anger, kind of like a brand new kitchen blender. I just want to yell, and scream, stamp my feet up and down and tell him to go to hell. I havenít yet. Mostly when I find out about the next new girl, I just cry. He comes home and finds all of his clothes out in the White Lapsi modern living room, neatly packed up in brown suitcases, in order of height.
I wonder most days if I am really here. How have I left the ghetto in Jamaica to live in upscale New York? I live in a house that my husband designed, full of white walls, and floors. Itís like I am dispelling my colour. I am casting off my blackness, in order to fit into this house. I want to add dark paintings, and African themes to each room. I want to throw thick afghans on the couch, and play some calypso and soca music. I want Bob Marley to wake me up in the morning. I want colour back in my life. I want love back in my life. I want my culture. He however, lacks all colour, and culture. I cannot forget love. He definitely lacks love.
I rifled through the photo album that had been prepared for the little girl. Only three small pictures sat in there. One of the ultrasound, one of her bedroom, and one of me. Nothing more was left of her anymore. A groan escaped my lips. This is still so very painful. Losing a child. Never having the opportunity to meet her. I feel like I have failed her in ways unimaginable. I only hope that she knows I had wanted her. I had wanted to love her.
I applied the nail polish only to my left hand. And blew hard when I was finished. My sister and I sat in the kitchen, me painting my nails, and she reading People.
"Do you want me to make you some tea?" I asked Donna. She nodded no, and flipped another page of the magazine.
"How about some juice. Do you want to put your feet up? Maybe you should lie down." I suggested. She slapped the magazine down on the table and frowned.
"I donít have brain damage from being pregnant you know. If I wanted tea, I would ask you for some. And for chrissakes Julie. Get your shit together, and leave him. Youíre driving me nuts."
I didnít need to hear this. Not from fucking her. I mean, she has had three babies, and none of the goddamn fathers are still around. I mean, she struggles, she works two jobs, and cannot say she has had an entirely happy moment since her first child. Who the hell is she to talk?
"Do you want to go to the beach?" I asked her, and she rolled her eyes and picked up her magazine again. The ocean here is as warm as pee. Dick use to take me all the time, until the first woman came into the picture. I havenít been able to go since. I looked around the pseudo modern kitchen he had designed. I hated every last part of it. The cupboards were too white, and every time the kids painted, they would leave tiny little finger prints of paint, which I later had to wash off. The tiled floors match the cupboards, which creates this terribly boring blending effect. Every goddamn time I walk into the kitchen I feel like I have entered Green Acres Mental Institution. He reminds me of politicians who make decisions about women, without there being a single woman present in the room. I hate the kitchen.
She got up and went to the refrigerator, her round rump sticking straight up. She straightens up, still in the refrigerator door, and sticks her finger into a white container. She pops her finger into her mouth.
"Julie this yoghurt tastes funny." She said twisting her face into a look of complete and utter disgust.
"Itís mayonnaise." I told her, and she laughed. She laughed like all of our problems could be cured with laughing. She laughed loud and freely. Then stopped suddenly.
"You need to leave him." She whispered. "You really do."
Itís Saturday morning. He hasnít been home in a few days. This is usually a sign that heís found another woman. There isnít much about his cheating I donít know anymore. He no longer tries to hide it, or to win me back once heís done with them. Heís just kind of there, and sometimes here. The children ask me all the time if their father will be at their soccer games. I donít know. I never know.
I opened Thaliaís door. Sheís the oldest one. Sheís just had her ninth birthday. She was still sleeping when I opened the door. "Breakfast." I said.
"Can I have it in bed?"
"If your bed is in the kitchen sure. Hurry itís getting cold."
Next I went to Christianís room. He was already up, in his bathroom standing on the stool brushing his teeth.
"Hi." He chirped, and grinned broadly. A trickle of white toothpaste plopped down his shirt. I imagined the round sound it might have made. He looked at it, and laughed, sending another spray of spittle. He chuckled to himself.
After breakfast the kids painted, and I sat quietly watching them. I still had to clean the basement, the first floor, and the second floor. Yet, I preferred to sit there and watch them play. Sometimes Christian will get this very intent look on his face, when heís painting something he thinks is terribly difficult to make. When heís all finished he will show me his paper, that has a circle on it, and I will smile to myself, and tell him the circle was perfect. He always writes in the right hand corner of his paper; Christian Blair, age 5. Which is kind of silly I think, since he has been six for almost a year.
"I donít want that colour. You put your blue in it." Christian wailed.
"I was making purple dumb dumb." Thalia snapped, and Christianís face crumpled into a wrinkly mess.
"MomÖ" He began, but I had gotten up, and gone downstairs to the den. I just hadnít felt like listening to it. I didnít feel like taking their shit. Sometimes I just want to strangle them. Beautiful and intelligent as they are, I cannot accept the fact that they are his children. I cannot anymore, accept anything that is his. Does this make me callous? Maybe. Children are suppose to be bundles of joy, but damn it. Their first word was not cooperation. It was mine! At age three children should be stapled into a barrel and not permitted to be released until they have grown into adulthood. I wonder where these two will end up?
I pulled the vacuum cleaner out of its cupboard, and turned it on. Feeling detached I had pushed it back and forth over the hardwood floor. I heard a scream echo from upstairs, but I turned up the power on the vacuum cleaner so I couldnít hear them. Thalia came racing down the stairs, holding onto the wall, with Christian hot on her heels.
"JulieÖ.I mean Mom." She cried. But then she froze when she saw the look on my face. Sheíd left a trail along the white wall, in red paint. She gasped.
"OoopsÖ.but..ChristianÖ" She began. I glared at her, and then at Christian, as he opened his mouth ready to protest.
"Iím out of patience. And I have a gun!" I told her, and the both of them raced upstairs, screaming.
It was after ten that night when he came in. I had moved into the den, and was lying in the dark, covered by a fluffy white blanket. I cannot imagine sleeping in the same bed as him anymore. I cannot really even imagine sleeping in the same house as him anymore. In fact what I really want to do is kill him. I want to hurt him in ways unimaginable. I have given him eight years of my life that I am never getting back. And God knows I want them back. I want them back!
To my surprise he came downstairs when he got in. Looked like he had had a wild night. The light from upstairs cast him in a glow; he looked at the paint still on the wall, and stepped around the vacuum cleaner.
"Why are you down here?" He asked.
"Nowhere else Iíd rather be." I replied. My fingers closed around the cold object in my hand.
"Well. Thatís just not right. What will the children say?"
"What the children, or anybody think of your wife has never bothered you before now. What difference does where I sleep make." I snapped.
"Why are you speaking to me like that?" He asked, raising his voice. But I had no intention of yelling. I really didnít have any intention of speaking to him. I really just wanted him to leave; otherwise, Iím not sure what I might do.
"You know, I may be a woman of a million faces. But I only have one heart. Take a good look at me for the last time. Get out of here!" I yelled. I stood up then, the blanket falling free from my body. The gun in my hand, at my side. I wasnít sure if he could see it, but I imagined the wildness he saw in my eyes. He notices the gun, his eyes darting between my left hand, and my face.
"Get out! Get out! Get out!" I started to scream frantically. I couldnít stop myself. Screaming was so liberating. I never screamed. I never screamed. I never spoke. I never retaliated. I pick up one of the pillows off the couch, and threw that for added emphasis, and because it felt good, I threw a couple more too. "Get out!" He scrambled up the stairs, away from me. I took two deep breaths, and when I heard the door slam, I sat back down on the couch. The cold gun was still in my hands.
"MommyÖ" I heard their voices, before I saw them. Damn, he forgot a few things.