Will would return home the next day – vomit on the shirt I ironed, the tie I’d given him from our anniversary missing. He’d fall into my arms, weeping that some thugs outside a bar had robbed him. I’d believe him – and with good reason. After all, he’d never lied to me, so why start now?
I strip him down, assuring that all will be well so long as we are together. I run the shower and guide him inside, running shampoo through his hair, cleaning the dried blood off his chest, kissing his lips sweetly in an attempt to let him know he is safe. We begin to make love and end in our bed…in the home we have made together.
As I extract myself from his embrace, I scribble a note reminding him I’ve gone to make the bread. I feel guilty leaving after he has been shaken so, but resolve that bringing home Szechuan noodles will make my absence forgivable.
Lyla asks questions about the incident to which I have no answer – where was he? Who was he with? Were the police called? Joe suggests I go home to care for him, giving me a pat on the back and the assurance that he is there for me. I proceed to work the rest of my shift undistracted, knowing there is nothing I can do for Will at this point.
“Baby,” I say, hanging my keys on the rack and locking the deadbolt, “get the chopsticks out it’s time…”
I drop the bag and beg my legs to take me faster. Will looks as though someone were telling him a funny joke – that smile I once loved now sinister and horror-ridden. He is cold as I attempt to shake him to life. I kneel down to feel for his phone when I pinch myself on something sharp. I look down to see a needle in my knee and I beg Will to stay with me as I tell the operator our address.