I put tulips under all the pillows and then I set fire to the house. Sounds dramatic, I’m sure. I mean, will forensics even know there was tulips there if everything is ashes by the time they get there? I would know the tulips were there. I will always know. I will never forget. I bought those damn pillows. I remember researching which ones would enhance his quality of rest. The way you sleep impacts the way you live. He worked so hard, by the time he slept, I wanted it to be deep fruitful sleep.
She found a diamond bracelet in the back of the car. My daughter found it while picking up some fruit loops that fell out of her mouth and rolled under the drivers seat. Araina picked up the bracelet and dangled it in front of her face. When the light danced with the glass in the rear view mirror, I snapped out of my mommy daze. “What is that, Araina?” “Your pretty bracelet, Mommy.” I turned green with envy. My heart began to bleed. The last time we saw a movie, we fought through the first 30 minutes and left early. He was drooling over the main character. I found this to be disturbing and pathetic because it was one of those graphically enhanced movies like “Avatar.” “You’re getting horny over a computerized character!?” He just rolled his eyes at me. The chick wasn’t even human. I should have known then that we were a mess. I can’t compete with imagination. I should have known our reality was being invaded. Who was invading our reality?
I prayed it wasn’t something cliche like a chick at work or an Instagram model. It was both! Apparently, Lily was an aspiring actress. She was a brand ambassador and a party promoter but that wasn’t bringing home the bacon. She decided to get a second job working for my husbands telemarketing company.
One late night when I surprised my husband with an under the covers “special treat”, the taste of lipstick left a residue on my tongue. I could smell baby wipes and cologne. We were arguing so I don’t think he expected my mouth to replace his alarm clock. We were both surprised. He denied my blatant accusations. He labeled me abusive when I smacked him. I knew I was right though. I knew something was going on. One night while he was overseeing the OT crew, I hired a sitter and drove the 17 miles to the job. In a true act of absurdity and a visual reenactment of every urban novel ever read…there they were.
In the employee lounge, over the sound of the office dishwasher they were grunting and moaning. They were so bold. It was as if they were supposed to be together and that was their sacred space. There on the floor slipping and sliding in the free office supplied french vanilla coffee creamer was their love nest. I decided not to make a scene. I decided not to ask, “why?” I decided not to beat the bimbo up. These were all quick decisions. This didn’t need to be a Waiting to Exhale Moment. This didn’t need to be an episode of Snapped. I picked up my pocketbook and returned the visitors pass to the front desk. I drove home without the radio playing and I slowly counted my breaths. I walked passed our lime green deck chair. My husband would watch golf in that chair on the iPad while drinking an ice cold Stella Artois in the summer. I kicked that ugly ass chair into the salt water pool and paid the babysitter. I then carefully selected 5 Lily flowered tulips from our backyard garden and placed them under all the pillows in our master bedroom. I packed two bags, unplugged Arainas Nintendo Switch from the charger and strapped her in the booster seat in the CHR we kept around for guests. Then I took a safety match from the glove compartment and set fire to the house.
We drove away from the flames and the ashes of my cremated marriage. I cried silently while my daughter slept in the back seat. I mourned my youth spent with someone who didn’t deem me worthy of honesty. I wondered if the smoke smelled like lilies or regret.
By: Shaun Liriano