I don’t want to see you ever again, he said.
She paused; nodded bravely. She was crying. Her hair was hanging in her face and his fingers twitched looking at it, some involuntary memory coming from earlier palm-scented mornings when he would lean over the sheets and brush it behind her ears and kiss her nose. He made his hands into fists.
I mean it, he said.
Why? she said, crying harder. That was the thing about her, something he had hated at first but then come to see as one of her pretty quirks. She acted like she had no pride but all of her movements were loosely, beautifully calculated. Her little polished nails wiping at her face, the opal rings on her index fingers and thumbs, the wet mascara smeared over the back of her hands.
Why, she said again. Why do you mean it?
He didn’t know what to say. I don’t want to drag this out, he said. Don’t make a scene.
You’re going to regret this, she said. You can’t buy everything, you know. You can’t send me away like I was just another bad business deal.
But I can, he wanted to say, his mind turning sour. Their dress made the difference even more obvious: he was in his suit, again, his hair straight and black, and she was in the housedress that he’d bought for her on her last birthday, and her hair was lightened from garden work.
The sky was blue above them, the air so wet it made your cheeks blush.
I want to know your reasons, she said. Is it another woman. Is it your mother. Is it something I did.
Go away, he said. But even as he said it, he was kissing her, lying to himself, and yet marveling at the little gasps of pleasure she gave against his lips.
You asshole, she whispered, and she kissed him back.