I stood at my vanity, looking into the mirror as I affixed an earring. I watched my husband's reflection. He was seated on the edge of our bed behind me, one leg crossed over the other and a shoe held in his hand. His eyes did not meet mine in the mirror.
"Why did you pick right now to tell me this?" I asked.
He didn't answer. He did look up and saw me watching him in the mirror. I saw his Adam's apple bob up and down as he swallowed his words.
I stood to my full height so that I no longer had to look at him in the mirror. I heard the mattress groan and the floorboards squeak. I knew he had risen as well. The air stirred beside me. "We don't have to talk about this now," he said.
I still faced my vanity. "You brought it up. Is she young?"
The floorboard squeaked again in my husband's retreat. I did not need another answer. "How often do you see her?"
He cleared his throat. "Just once, like I told you. She doesn't mean anything to me. It was an accident."
I laughed. It was sharp and throaty. It wasn't my laugh. I could feel my husband wince. I tried to clasp a string of pearls around my throat. My hands wouldn't cooperate.
"Why did you tell me? Why now?" I banged my open palm down on the vanity top. I decided against the pearls.
"What do you want me to say? That I want to leave you? I don't. I couldn't keep it from you. I've never kept anything from you for twenty years."
It was my turn to remain silent. I heard his footsteps retreat in the direction of the master bathroom. They disappeared when he reached the carpet. I heard the door click shut. When I finally turned around, I encountered our empty bedroom. His suit jacket was draped across the bed. When I looked at the blue silk lining, I noticed a loosened thread. I pulled it and snapped it off. The jacket looked as good as new. The door clicked open.
When I looked up, my husband was facing me. He clutched the door handle. His eyes were wide. I choked back another laugh. I stood, moving again to my vanity. "Well, we have to go to the Johnson's party. We've already RSVPed. And, besides that, Katy will be here any minute to take care of the kids. We've made plans."
I picked up my favorite bottle of perfume. Before I sprayed it, it slipped from my fingers. It didn't shatter. Rather, it landed with a dull clunk. I stooped to pick it up. It felt awkward in my hand. When I had risen to my full height, I turned and hurled the bottle at the wall next to the bathroom door. It shattered magnificently. My husband gasped.
I faced my vanity and straightened my dress one last time.
* * *
After the party that evening, I sat on the floor in my bathrobe, sweeping up broken glass with paper towels. The smell of my perfume pervaded the room, but it was not cloying. My husband was pulling a blanket from the linen chest at the foot of our bed. I looked up at him. I stood as he turned toward the door.
I picked his pillow up from our bed and pushed it at him before he stepped out of the room. "I'll wake you up at around 8:30. Our tee-time is ten o'clock. I want to beat Liz and Jeff there. Liz gloats when she gets there first."
My husband nodded but didn't move. After a long beat, he asked "Are you okay?"
"I'll see you in the morning," I replied. I didn't shut the door until I heard him in the downstairs hall. I sat on our bed and looked at the door for a long time that night.