It was the first time he had heard her swear. It dawned on the young man that whatever was toppling his marriage was more serious than he’d imagined. He looked at his wife with sorrowful eyes as she crawled to the kitchen, helped herself up, and drank water. He watched all of this with teary eyes and a thumping heart, his ego stripped bare and his trust betrayed. Finally, in his heart and mind, he decided that tonight was D-Day. He was not going to sleep until he brought his wife back into their bedroom, into his loving arms, and maybe made love to her again. But before that, he had to face the issue at hand, and so he set out towards the wilting woman. Minding his way around the vomit, with his hand over his nose, he crossed over to his wife. He switched on the lights and sat opposite her.

She was weeping. He lifted up her face to see her most beautiful jawline and smooth skin that was now plastered with bags from drinking and misery. But beneath that, in her eyes, he thought he saw a fire. He wasn’t sure what it was for, but he tried with all his might to convince himself that those were the flames of their love rekindling in her soul.

Mimi felt her husband’s cold hands on her.

“Let’s talk, my dear wifey. What is it?”

She shrugged, drank her water again. Then she sighed and looked him in the eye, with sadness in her face. She knew right then that she had to get it over with, once and for all. Without a hint of hesitation she said, “I want out, Noel.”

Then there was a dead silence between them and the whole house seemed to be swirling around her husband’s eyes. His flesh was twitching, and his heart was giving up on him.

“What?” he cried out, after a very long time, shifting from his chair.

“I’m sorry, I cannot do this any more. It’s better to pull out now than to do so after another four years.” She drank the water again, this time slowly, letting it sink in like the news was doing for Noel.

“Why didn’t you wait for me to come outside and hit me with your car?”

Suddenly his hands were covered with perspiration, something that last happened when he popped the question to her. His eyes were on the verge of flooding.

“Don’t pretend as if this marriage was ever good!” All her bottled up feelings erupted all at once. “When you slept with Gertrude behind my back you thought I wouldn’t pick up her scent on you, on the blankets…and the sexts…and worse of all, Noel, you admired her body in a way you’ve never done to me, her curves and all her stretch marks; clearly she gave you something that I couldn’t…is that what love is supposed to be like?” she lashed out.

But then she sighed. “That’s beside the point though, Noel, I didn’t plan for the night to go like this. It’s just that I thought I’d outgrow my feelings for women but I see that I’ll never be truly happy with a man.” She wiped a tear and avoided looking at her husband. For the first time in the four years of their marriage, she felt she’d been honest with him and it brought her heart peace.

“Just tell me one more thing, my love…Mimi, did you ever love me?” he asked, as if he already knew the answer. Talking about matters of the heart now was pointless, their fate was writ in the sky above them.

“I like you, Noel, you’re a good father…I liked you so much.” She thought of the girls now and turned to the clock, realising that it was only a matter of time before they woke up to a broken home.

As time raced by, the two, now formal like strangers, laid several matters on the table before them. They threaded carefully through the custody of their kids, which was to be shared, and the splitting of their property, which Mimi willingly gave up to her estranged husband. With a lot of quarrels and little maturity they had agreed on their legal matters by the time morning came to light.

“Then you’re going to be the one to tell the kids,” Noel said, disappearing into their…his bedroom.

Mimi stood at the window welcoming a bright new day in her life. Her chest was easy even though her head was pounding. She tasted freedom when her babies came running to her and she didn’t have to pretend to them any more.

They fought for a hug from their mother until they both ended up tangled in her warm arms. She held the last of her tears back when she felt their tiny heartbeats on her chest, reassuring her of her purpose to live. She sat them on the table and kissed their foreheads, admiring their smiles for the first time in ages.

“Are you OK, Mommy?” asked one of her little angels, playfully curling Mimi’s wig with her pinkie.

She smiled sadly. “Honey, the truth is that Mommy is not happy…”

None of them saw Noel lurching behind the kitchen door with a pistol in his hand. With anger and sadness running through his blood, he weighed his options, and then spontaneously decided.

“Until death do us part,” he recited, and his bones shuddered as he let out a stream of bullets.

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