“What are these?”
Katrina’s hand froze over the shining iPad as her head jerked up. She wasn’t expecting a human soul inside the walls of her lecture hall for another thirty minutes, let alone the man bounding down the stairs toward her with such urgency. She fought the immediate need to roll her eyes at the sight of him or the asinine question he hurled at her with a level of ignorance that she knew was beneath him. He was intelligent. She’d give him that. Wisdom was what he lacked.
“I’m sure my lawyer placed a title on the first page.” She let out a sigh before lowering her eyes back to the device’s screen, tapping it before the light dimmed. “And we both know you can read.”
“Divorce papers.” He hissed the words as if they were vulgarities. “Katrina!” He called her name, yanking her attention back to him. “You’re overreacting.”
“Overreacting!” She snided. The word ignited a fire in the pit of her belly, blazed up her spine, and created an inferno of fury in her chest. Her fingers curled around the podium’s edge swallowing all the complicated emotions swelling within her and all the details of his sordid confession last week. “I know you fuckin’ lying.”
His Adam’s apple dropped as he slowly swallowed remembering all of the deeds he spilled to her last Wednesday. A beautiful sunny day turned into the worst day of his week. His arm weakly fell down, and the papers slapped against his leg without threatening a crease in his black slacks. Everything about him was well put together from the etching of his lineup to the gold watch that matched the cufflinks in his dress shirt. He was a doctor. A surgeon. He had to be immaculate.
“I’m sorry.” He finally said after moments of silence elevated around them. Her brown eyes were just as dark as the night sky outside of the windows behind her. His free hand went to his chest and she shifted her weight from one heeled foot to the other. “It was a mistake.”
“A mistake.” She humphed with a slight nod of the head not disturbing any of the curls framing her round face. “A mistake is burning toast or putting I before e in perceiving not fucking your intern in your office…”
“The action was a mistake.” He said cutting her off and advancing towards her.
Katrina held up her hand, halting his footsteps and taking a step back herself. He was getting too close to her and that wasn’t a space she wanted to be in anymore; near him, around him. By him.
“Was it still a mistake when you fucked her in your car? Or did it become a mistake when you screwed her in her apartment?” She blurted out with her hands gesticulating so the tears that started to form in the wells of her eyes didn’t fall. “I’m trying to understand. Explain it to me like I’m a child.”
The anger that brimmed in her chest cloaked her throat and morphed her words into a seethe. A vexation that birthed in her last Wednesday when made an impromptu stop by the hospital for a visit. Silly her. She missed her husband. The crinkle in her eyebrows wouldn’t level out after she discovered he didn’t miss her as she missed him. It took a hot bubble bath at the Ritz and a cup of something brown.
She’d been on auto-pilot that evening; packing a bag, making reservations, giving lectures, booking a lawyer, and even getting food to nourish her body was just an automatic action that caused little to no thought. Ninety percent of her brain was still in their bedroom replaying the look of fluster on his face when she asked him about the text.
“I wasn’t thinking.” He professed. “I acted like an idiot. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It was all a mistake because I love you. Not her.”
Katrina let out a mirthful chuckle, planting a hand on her waist. “You have a funny way of showing it.”
He opened his mouth to speak but words were already exiting her mouth before he started. “Let me fuck someone that’s not my wife because I love my wife so much. Yeah, it makes sense. Right.”
“No.” He shook his head. “None of it makes sense. I wasn’t thinking logically. I got complacent and let my guard down. Gave in to temptation but babe, I love you. I can make this better. I can fix us.”
She shook her head. “Fix yourself.” Her hand went to her chest. “I’m not broken. I was a good damn wife. I was there for you when you needed me. I gave you what you needed, you didn’t have to beg for anything. Fix your damn self.”
He nodded knowing every word she spoke was true.
“I’ll fix myself.” He said with his head glued to his chest as if it was the only thing keeping his heart inside its cavity. “I will but please don’t leave me.” He gripped the papers in his hand. “Please. Give me another chance.”
One of the tears that she fiercely held back defied her and glided down her cheek. “I can’t. I don’t do disloyalty. I told you that and I won’t…” She wiped the tear away. “I won’t let you make me bitter so no.” She breathed in a deep breath finally speaking her truth. “I told you I was a different breed. I can deal with a lot but cheating isn’t one of them.”
He shook his head. “I’m going to fight for us.”
“Do what you want, Terrence.” She said moving back to the podium. “You do that anyway but I have students coming in a couple of minutes, can you let me get back to work.”
“Sure.” He said, looking at her as if he expected her to say something else and when she lowered her attention back to the iPad he turned on his heels and walked through the door he entered.
She had a good twelve minutes before students actually made their appearance in the lecture hall so she let her guard down and the tears fell. For the first time in a week, she was off autopilot.
Her phone dinged and she dried her eyes to make out the text. It was her friend.