When he left, the spaces in her heart and in the room grew with the profundity of what he had said. She sat on the floor, her eyes on the door, hoping he would come back and tell her it had all been a bad joke.
“I can’t go on like this,” he had said. “Every time I risk doing something crazy, every single time.”
She had looked at his quavering lips, and had tried to look into his eyes which he had kept averted.
“What have you done?” she had asked, pressing her back into the wall, bracing herself for his answer.
“Nothing,” he had said. “Nothing. But that’s the problem. I want to do something. God knows I do. I can’t help it. So I have to leave.”
“But I love you.” She hated herself then for sounding desperate when she should be outraged. She sounded just like the 40 year-old divorcee she was confronted with the prospect of losing yet another man, to yet another woman.
“I love you too. But . . . I think I love her as well.”
She could imagine how appealing Mimi must be for any man with the way she smiled, and moved, with those curves on her. At eighteen, Mimi looked like an oracle. And she was a good girl. But he was her man. “How can you say that, she’s my daughter?”
He had looked down at his fingers. “That’s why I have to leave, before I do something stupid. Because I love you. I am really, really sorry.”
And she watched him walk out the door, his dignified shoulders bent under the weight of shame. That was when the tears finally came.