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SHE: I want a divorce.
They had been quiet for a few seconds when she said that. He did not react. His hands were still where they were for the last minute or so - holding his head as he looked down at his shoes.
The location is a hotel bedroom suite. She is standing, looking outside the wall-high windows. It's raining - not the romantic kind. He is sitting on the sofa.
SHE: (turns to face him) Did you hear what I said?
HIM: (still looking down, coldly) Yes. But please do say it again if you're looking for a different reaction.
SHE: I'm not joking.
HIM: Yeah, you were never really that funny to begin with.
She moves and stands right in front of him. He still doesn't look up.
SHE: Can you stop your sarcasm for just a minute? It's insulting and makes me feel inferior.
He takes his hands out of his hair, and looks up to face his wife. He looks tired.
HIM: The insult and inferiority isn't in the intention. It's in the interpretation.
As he says it, he gets up, startling her. He moves to the bar, opening the counter below to look for something.
SHE: So I'm insulted because I subconsciously feel inferior to you?
He finds the bottle he's looking for. When he turns around, she is staring right at him. He shrugs, and says ---
HIM: Your words...
He finds two glasses and pours the scotch. One with three cubes of ice, one neat. He holds out the one without the ice in front of her.
SHE: No. They were your words.
She takes the glass, and gulps it.
SHE: And fuck you.
She hands it back to him.
SHE: Those are my words.
She moves to the sofa to sit down. He refills her glass and hands it to her, sitting next to her on the sofa.
HIM: "I want a divorce."
HIM: Those were your words. The words that started this.
SHE: No. This fight started twelve years ago. The fight we've been having for the last half hour was just a quick recap of everything we've argued about since we got married.
HIM: Hmm...so the words that really started this fight were "I do"? Well, we both said that...
He gestures his glass for a cheers. She obliges, and smiles, just a bit. That relaxes them both.
HIM: Can I say something?
SHE: (taking a sip) hmm?
HIM: Did you mean it?
SHE: What? The divorce?
HIM: (without looking at her) No. "I do."
She stares at him, surprised.
SHE: I did.
HIM: (tired laugh) That's past tense.
SHE: What is?
HIM: "I did". It's the past tense of "I do".
He turns to look at her face. Her expression softens.
SHE: Love wasn't our problem.
He starts to say something...then stops. She notices, and her expression hardens again.
HIM: Nothing. It's just that mentioning what isn't the problem is usually when you tell me what is.
SHE: I'm tired.
HIM: I know. It's been a long week. This vacation hasn't been what we wanted.
SHE: No...I'm tired..of this.
HIM: So we're back to the divorce then.
SHE: Why can't we just talk about it for a minute?
HIM: Because if we give this an official "minute" talk, it becomes real.
SHE: Alright. Fine. Give me your first reason for why we shouldn't end this?
HIM: This is a test, isn't it? What ever reason I give, you'll tell me one that is much more selfless and then use it to justify why we should give up.
He gets up to refill his drink. She gets up and opens the balcony door. The rainwater starts coming in, the droplets hitting her face. Teardrops fall from her eyes, meeting the much harsher raindrops. The rain wins.
SHE: This world outside this room is like our marriage. We're in paradise, where it's supposed to be sunny and beautiful. But it's raining, covering every last bit that makes this place what it is.
She turns arounds, and finds him standing just two feet away, looking at her.
SHE: On the outside, we're a perfect couple. People always envied what we had...have. But on the inside, it's raining.
They stare at each other for a few seconds. There's a thunderous sound, breaking their eye contact. She walks back to the sofa and sits down. He closes the balcony door. As he turns around, he says---
HIM: The kids.
HIM: The reason why we shouldn't end this. That's the selfless reason you would have picked for us to stay together. It would be better for our children if they grew up in a house where their parents were still together, because you grew up in a broken home. And because my parents are still together and happy, I wouldn't understand what it's like.
SHE: (tired smile, hiding that she's impressed) And what is your original "selfish" answer?
He moves to the sofa and sits next to her.
HIM: Because I still love you.
He kisses her. She's surprised at first, but kisses him back. Her eyes are closed, but she feels that his cheek is wet too. She wonders if it's the rain, or if he's crying too. They stop kissing, and look away from each other.
After a few moments---
SHE: What if I don't?
He doesn't say anything. His lack of response infuriates her. So she decides to keep pushing---
SHE: What if I'm really done? What if I'm done with almost having the same fight everyday? (still no response) God damn it. (she gets up, pours a big neat drink, and starts pacing around) You don't learn, do you? You can't change. Every time I want to discuss even a little crack in our relationship you make me the bad guy! As if I'm the one who created the crack all my myself! Well, I didn't. This relationship is our fault. We did this together. Do you know how happy I am to go to work everyday? Because I know that if I can get out of the door without even a tiny inkling of an issue with you, I can sit back and relax for the next ten hours. And when I drive back home, I hope for traffic. Because it gives me another hour to myself, probably the only time I do have to myself, before I have to come back home and make food for you and the kids. But even if I do get late, I have to get that look from you - the "I had to make dinner for the kids because you were late" look - well, I have news for you - I HATE COOKING! I must have missed the seminar where all women are given the default settings of a housewife. Because I'm not that. I don't want to be that. But I love my kids, so I make those stupid little sandwiches and the same fucking dinner three times a weeks. (sits down, pauses) I hate this. You...this...makes me feel like a bitch. I sound like a bitch! I don't want this. I don't want this feeling. I can't let my only happiness come from a fight-free day with a rush hour bonus. This can't be my life. I...
She stops talking. She's exhausted.
HIM: Please. You're almost there. Finish your monologue.
She's not amused. It's like his words gave her the fuel to continue. Looking straight at him---
SHE: I HATE this. I hate so many things about us. There is so much hate and anger in me that I can't even feel the love that is supposed to be below all these layers of shit. So yeah, I'm done.
He is quiet.
She doesn't move.
Their drinks are done.
He's still sitting down.
She's still standing in front of him.
He looks at her.
HIM: I've given this most of my adult life. I've loved you for all of it. I'll love you for the rest of it. I'm sorry about everything you've had to go through. Suffer through. I truly am. I'm sure I've dropped the ball enough times to get called off the team. But if that's your reason...if that's your list...if those are the rules I broke or we broke that disqualifies this marriage and relationship from moving forward...then okay. Make your decision. I'll support it. I'll even take 50% of the blame. But not more. This time, I will not try to stop this madness by taking even one more percent of blame for this. I will not say anything that I've said in the past every time we almost have this fight in the hope that you don't utter those four words. So if you want this to end, then fine. I will give up. Just like you.
She is quiet.
He gets up and goes to the bedroom.
She stays standing, holding her empty glass, for a few seconds.
She walks to the bedroom, and finds him lying on the bed, with his eyes closed and his left arm covering his eyes.
She lies down next to him.
SHE: This has been a...productive vacation.
HIM: Agreed. And in some ways...it was also just another day. (pauses) This has also been the first time we've been away from the kids in...what...a year?
SHE: More. Maybe about...fifteen months. The last time was your birthday last year.
HIM: Yeah. Did we have this same room back then?
SHE: (laughing) No! That would be a crazy coincidence.
HIM: I think it was. I think it is. Because I remember denting this wall above the bed when we...
SHE: Oh! Wow. It's still dented! That's going on the trip advisor review...when I have time.
HIM: We need a new place for our time away. I'm done with this hotel. Even this city.
He is quiet.
She is quiet.
He turns to face her.
She turns to face him.
HIM: I miss the kids.
SHE: Me too.
He moves his face towards her, but only coming halfway.
He doesn't go back.
Moments later, she moves closer to him.
She meets him halfway.
HIM: Happy anniversary.
SHE: Happy anniversary.
The rain has stopped.
The last time Roy meets Giza before The Night After The Wedding - they are hungover for most of it.165
A story, in lyrical form, of the moments before, during, and after a breakup, told from both sides.2713
6 months after Amsterdam. Roy. Giza. Bruges. 700 beers. 18 hours. Tick-tock. Part 3 of a series.205
Part of the Love collection
Published on July 10, 2015
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