He stretched out his arms and breathed out all of the sighs that collectively anaesthetised his weary limbs.
She’d be home soon.
It was warm and with the window ajar he tilted his head outside like a dog in anticipation of the car engine.
Every day the same.
‘Everyday was the same’.
The car was a 1952 Studebaker Starliner in ‘Maui’ Blue. When the money siphoned it’s way down, it was the first thing he bought for her. She loved it and he did too. The engine roared like an adolescent rock and roll record. They would wake life into country lanes and stop for picnics and kiss in the backseat.
20 years had passed since then. The car had fallen into disrepair and the sound of the engine had lost its charm and stuttered like their lives. They ate together and then retired to their separate studies and slept in separate beds behind locked doors.
He had no idea what she did in there. His curiosity backed off when the answers became irrelevant.
His desk still had her picture with the note attached to the back. It was only a month or so after they had been going out that he accidentally said it, although he meant each word from the bottom of his heart: ‘I love you’.
For a day or two afterwards he thought he’d blown it. She’d not returned his calls and it was only on a chance train journey he saw her again. She was sat at the opposite end of the carriage. He took a photograph in his mind and tried not to look up. He nervously looked toward his feet but his mind stared at the picture – he saw her white dress, he saw the gloves that she looked uncomfortable to be wearing. He saw the crane of her neck. He saw the light hit her temples. He saw and stared. He could feel her eyes looking at him but he did not look up. It was not until she stood up to depart that he looked again and his eyes were transfixed almost against his will. She walked toward him. The edges of her lips started to rise and it was then he knew it was okay. She passed him a note. It read: ‘the 3 words’.
The demise happened over time. He blamed her, she blamed him. When the money ran out, times were hard. Misfortune led to mistrust and the three words turned from love to hate. His dreams turned into nightmares and his life fed into a conveyor of jealousy and destruction. He could handle hate, but he never wanted be alone and the words he feared the most were the ones that never seemed to come : ‘There’s someone else’.
Then She came into his life. It was fun at first, a distraction. He never expected anything to come of it. But for a few years now, they had exchanged messages online. He knew it was ridiculous, she never even knew his name. His online moniker of ‘Starliner’ was all there was. The name was clumsy but he never perceived anything would develop. It was only fun, at first. Tonight he was going to meet her, but he had to tell his wife first.
The car finally pulled up into the driveway.
He waited in the kitchen. She put down her keys in the same place in the bowl in the hallway like she always did and it made the same sound it always did. He waited for the sound of her high heels to hit the floor after being thrown from her feet. But the sound did not come, instead, her heels clicked on along the hallway into the kitchen.
She stood silent for a second, unable to look into his eyes and then she spoke:
‘Listen, I won’t be eating tonight. I’m sorry if this hurts you, but all those times you suspected something you were right. There’s someone else’.
The words struck him to the core. He grabbed the nearest object he could find, which happened to be a carving knife and plunged it deep into his wife’s neck and within moments she was motionless on the floor in a pool of her own blood.
He stood still for a while. He needed to know who she was going to meet. He stepped over her body and calmly walked across the hallway and picked up her keys. He unlocked the door to her study and stepped inside. He walked over to her desk and lifted the lid from her laptop.
He scrolled through thousands of messages and upon realising they were all addressed to the same person: ‘Starliner’, he went back into the kitchen to find the knife..