A Mad Woman
I’m mad because he’s not my husband. Not because I love him and hate you. Because seeing him with you is a blatant and constant reminder that I — conscious, woke, able bodied, kind hearted — am alone.
At first, the loneliness was welcomed because its wasn’t lonely. It was a distraction from a nonstop world of mothering, nurturing, giving, surviving, existing. It gave me peace to be alone. Quiet. Perplexed. Thinking. The ability to sleep and lay my burden down. I thought I was healing. But the strongest of independents can appreciate the warmth, every now and then, of his touch.
I don’t want your husband because he’ll love me the way he loves you. I’m not confused, or envious or jealous of your love; that’s your business. It is his being there — an anchor in the darkness, stillness in the waters, guidance in chaos — that intrigues me.
Keep his abuse, his lies, his infidelities, his betrayals, his immaturity, his stereotypical nonsense, and give me what I ask for — his warmth. His tenderness. His embrace.
I am not singling you out. Truth be told, it isn’t about either of you. You see, I am selfish and do not care. Seeing him make you smile makes my heart pound; blood boil. I like to laugh and intend on enjoying the last one. To me, it is a game and as I’ve been trained to do, I will win.
“Why are you single?” They’ll ask. “Why are you alone?” They’ll question. “Someone as pretty as you. As smart as you. As likable as you. As funny as you. As deep as you.” As, as, as, and sometimes even ass.
They’ll say all these things, usually with the sweetest intentions, not realizing how deteriorating it is for me inside. That, I, too, ask myself these very things only to be answered with silence; this uncomfortable singleness I pretend to love and relish.
Your well wishes mean me no good. It isn’t your fault that I suffer in this way, yet every time I play your words over and over in my head, the thought of ending you feels pleasant.
I ask you, “Why did you marry him? Is it because he’s your best friend? Because you love him?” You smile and lightheartedly share this information with me, like a newlywed who thinks everyone is happy about her recent nuptials. I smell blood. The heart and mind of a lioness sitting across from her prey; knowing my name means lioness of God.
I lie in the bushes waiting for the moment to pounce. Breathe in, breathe out. Settle, settle.
He’s standing there — the embodiment of a human deer trapped in headlights. Except the headlights in sight are mine; visible, succulent, rock hard.
He’s confused. He is tempted. He’s absorbed my selfishness and has allowed it to reveal itself through his pants. I am prepared, yet quickly I grow bored. Though I am naked, I do not want his body. His body is yours and only yours to enjoy.
When I am quick to tell him this, he pummels me. A swift kick to the vagina to remind me that I am a weak woman who will become his Week Woman. As the blood rushes from my center of love, I laugh. Tears fall from my eyes, but I am not crying. These are not tears of pain. After objectifying me, he asks why am I laughing, then why am I crying. “This is what you wanted,” he said.
Bare, I sit in Indian style and rotate from left to right. Circles. Swirls. They keep me calm, especially when I’m experiencing loneliness.
“Ive used you and you cannot see it. Instead you think that you’ve eaten a sweet piece of unholy cake but slowly you will realize its poison. I am poison, in which I will bestow it onto you,” I said.
His face, once full of life and zest, turns dead grey quickly. The same tint he left in my heart ten years ago.
“Don’t you realize who I am? I am your worst nightmare. The mistake you thought you left in the past. I am the memory you prayed to forget. I am here — alive, well, and breeding, thanks to you. You left us destitute and discarded, but I am here.”
His conscious kicks in. I delighted as I watched him put the pieces together. That time I spoke to you, his wife, at the grocery store. When I ran into you at the beauty salon. When our children became friends at the park. The birthday parties and girl’s nights out. He realized that I infiltrated his space the same way he did mine years before.
The difference in it all is me.
Now, I am physically strong. My derrière now is the one I didn’t have when we were together. My thighs have a life of their own while my breasts have fed our newborn son, his son, and his son, too. My lips taste like peaches in a grandmother’s yard. My scent reminds him of home cooked Southern chicken yet prances around like dandelions and lemongrass. See me. Smell me. Taste me. Feel me. Love me.
As the thoughts rushed into him, I felt myself growing stronger. I am rightfully stealing him strength, the one he took from me. The strength he took from me when he told me I wasn’t good enough, skinny enough, smart enough, worthy enough. Now I am everything he wanted but the tables have turned and I don’t want him. He is the third best with the devil coming in second.
You, the beautiful, perfect, precious wife, think you’re the luckiest woman in the world. Too stupid to know that the “man of God” you have was built from my love, my guts, my showers, my juice, my back, my strength. Your shared son is another one he took from me, and one day, he’ll know the truth. Until then, I will steal your husband because all he’s done is stolen from me.
When he returns to you — did you think I was going to kill him? — he will acknowledge my essence painted on your walls, comfortably woven into your pillows. He will explain the venom that’s taken place in his heart. He will help you understand that without me, there literally would be no him. No you. No happiness together. Essentially, I am doing you a favor.
I will not harm you or your family. But I will always be in the shadows as a constant reminder to who he used to be — a predator and thief, now being hunted and stolen. I will always covet your husband.
Not because you love him. Not because he’s perfect. Not because he’s a damned good man. Even though he left me in the wilderness to die — bruised, battered, and beaten — he was there; a dysfunction I relied on.
I am mad because he’s not my husband because without him, there hardly isn’t any me.
© Ariel Williams 2017