My mom always told me that flings weren’t moral. You needed to stay with a man long enough for him to know how to make your coffee, for you to be comfortable enough to fart in front of him, and for both of you to come to a point where you decided that your lives were made better by the other having been in it. If you can get through those points, and still want to break it off, then you’ll know you’ve made the right choice. Everybody deserves a chance to get past the point of fling unless they’re beating or cheating.
Michael and I had the time of our lives once we decided we could. When our show ended, we went on to different venues. I, to Mary Poppins, and he, to Rocky Horror Picture Show, and we saw each other at the end of the day. Every morning he made my coffee (French Roast with cream and an endless pour of sugar) as beautifully as a song.
I farted rather freely, and I told him that if ever I stopped farting in front of him, he should take me to the ER.
It seemed to me that we were doing okay in the fling department. My love for the theatre would never die, and neither would my love for him.
I got one of those pregnancy pee sticks though. Yeah. Those can really mess things up.
Sick to my stomach, I uttered a few frantic, nonsensical prayers and splashed my face with warm water. My career would slow down, but Michael would be there. We’d move in together and raise a theatre brat. This was not entirely bad!
So, I called him. “I’ve got a surprise,” I said.
He had backstage work to do, but he’d be at the theatre all day. I drove over and entered by the back door. Michael in his grubbies, sleeves rolled up above his shoulder, and his glorious hair looking glorious brought me near tears.
It had to be the pregnancy.
When he saw me, he jumped off a platform he was working on and smiled his way over to me. “What’s up, Del?”
“I’m pregnant,” I answered.
He raised his eyebrows in surprise and asked if I was joking.
He took my hands, looked into my eyes with those chocolate peepers (I wanted to eat them), and whispered, “Do you need help to get it taken care of? I’ll go with you. I’ll be there.”
I was confused. Had my face made it seem I was unhappy?
“N . . . no?”
He looked surprised, stroking the back of my hand with his thumb. “But, Del, your career. You’re doing well. You’ll lose momentum and you may never get it back. You can’t do this.”
“I can,” I said, “if you’re with me. I figured you would be.”
His lips parted as he stared beyond me. He smiled and said, “Yeah. I didn’t realize you’d be willing to quit so soon.”
“Quit? Who said anything about quitting?”
“Are you an only child, Del?”
He rolled his eyes. “Well, there’s why. You haven’t got any idea.”
He closed his eyes. “No, no, Del. I’m sorry. I just mean you might not be aware of the difficulties here. I’ll support your decision. It’s your body. You make the choice.”
I looked into his eyes, and I believed him. Everyone believes chocolate. Chocolate doesn’t lie, chocolate makes you happy, and chocolatetold me it would be there for me ’til the end of time.
I tried to stop singing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” in my head.
When Michael didn’t meet me at the bar that night, I called him.
“Yeah?” he said.
“Michael, where are you?”
He cleared his throat. “On a jet to New York. Opportunity of a lifetime. I had to go. Immediately.”
I swallowed hard. Heart sunken to my toes. Davy Jones’ locker had nothing on my toes.
“Look, Del, I’m gay. Okay?”
“Screw that. You’re a liar.”
He hung up.
This was a pivotal moment in my life. I pivoted on it, and then I fell on the ground and I stayed there for a long time, wallowing in self-pity. I cried. I wept. I wailed. Nothing changed. For eight months I lived that way.
Now you see me where I was when we first began this story. Washing dishes, drinking, and crying. However, at this moment I have realized something.
I realized, holding a knife in my hand, that I was perfectly capable of using it for more than vegetables.
I could destroy another human being. I had all the reason in the world to do it. It was like a lightbulb lit up and exploded in my brain.
There, behind the yellow door, I decided.
I was going to kill him.
-Sarah Joy Green-Hart
Photo by @JuniorRodriguez