Short Stories Oct 16, 2020

“Should I stay and work through it? Why would I? You’re unbelievable, Wes. This is a total gut punch but you’re asking me to just conveniently sweep it under a marital rug, let it hide there with all the other accumulated dust and crap and discarded loyalties? Conveniently out of sight for you, but just another permanent emotional scar slashed hideously across my dignity. I’ve put up with your bloody charades for almost forty years now you selfish, narcissistic shit.”

“But, Stella, I’ve already said…”

“I… I… I… Always about you. You’re so bloody shallow, Wes. No depth. Your sole motivation is a constant need for approval. This whole cruise was orchestrated wasn’t it, just so you could anaesthetise me into a semi-forgiving bliss before unburdening yourself? Well, you’ve outdone yourself this time. I hope she was worth it, Wes. Was it worth trading away forty years of my trust and loyalty, our shared memories, for your deceit and a short-lived dalliance? What a fool I’ve been. And you’re an even bigger fool for not realising that you’re just another notch in her bra-strap. You’re a senior partner in the firm Wes, and she’s just a wannabe. I’m gutted Wes. And I’m just too worn down to cope any more.”

“But Stella, I’ve already said that… “

“Yeah, sure Wes. Of course you’ll change. Of course she doesn’t mean anything. Of course we could pretend that it never happened. Of course I could be the devoted little wife, conveniently tucked away at home during the week then rolled out for the firm’s social outings and law dinners. Of course she lured you with her fluttering fake eyelashes and fake tits and of course it was all her fault, nothing to do with your pathological self-loathing. Do you feel an adolescent need to brag to your colleagues when you score? Jesus, Wes, you sprinkle excuses around in the vain belief that they’re a type of healing balm. Well they’re not Wes, and they’re tiresome and condescending.”

“But Stella, you know that…”

“For God’s sake Wes, you’ve stage-managed this whole Greek cruise under the mistaken belief that you can just flick switches. Switch off the latest conquest, switch the wife back on. You coax me down here to the stern of the ship with a bottle of Pol Roger champers and two glasses under the guise of watching the sunset behind Mykonos, then you pathetically attempt to salve your conscience with your latest mea culpa. Did you think I’d stamp my feet, cry a little, then forgive and forget?  Sorry Wes, not any more. You’re a sad, tragic old man. A haunted shell of the person I once fell in love with.”

“But Stella, I think we can…”

“No we can’t, Wes. Not anymore. But just before I head back to the cabin… my cabin now… and leave you with your bottle of champers and guilt, would you answer me one last question? It’ll vindicate my next action.”

“Of course Stella…”

“How long can you tread water, Wes?”


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