Chapter 9 (Saturday Bonus!) This Chapter is titled “Dreams”. Rhae gets a chance to pseudo-confront her dead, cheating husband.
Ryan and I are sitting at the kitchen table. It is early enough for us to have breakfast in front of us, but late enough that the sun is bursting through the front windows. So much light. I imagine that this is what the light in heaven might look. I stare into his eyes and feel a mixture of love and hate. It swirls in my head and through my body. I don’t want to upset him, and I’m just about to ask the questions that are hanging in the back of my mind, when he starts to speak.
“I’m sorry, Rhae. I’m so fucking sorry. I don’t know why I did it.”
My heart contracts around his words, “Why you did what?”
“The affair with Melody. I don’t know why I did that. I love you so much. You are my everything. My world. I don’t know how to live without you.”
“Well I hate to break it to you, big boy, you aren’t living. You died. You left me here in this mess. Dealing without you,” my feelings turn to anger.
“I know. I’m sorry about that, too. I didn’t know that would happen. We should have talked. I should have cleared the air with you before that happened. I didn’t know how to talk to you about Melody. I fucked up. There’s no other way to put it.”
“Yes, you did. I need to quit thinking about you. I want to forgive you so I can live with it. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about your mistress and baby. I feel guilty for being mean to her, but I really have no idea. What do you want me to do?”
“Be her friend. The affair was my fault. Don’t hate her.”
“You’re kidding me, right? It takes two, Ryan. I mean you didn’t make a baby for her all by yourself. She had to participate.”
“You’re bigger than this. You know you don’t have to act like a child. Be angry with me, but be kind to her. Please. That’s all I ask.”
“YOU,” I point at him, “don’t get to ask me for anything. I’m angry at you. No permission necessary. I’m angry that you died. I’m angry about Melody. I’m angry that I hate my job and this house now. I’m going to do something about it though. I don’t know what that will be yet, but I’m doing something.”
Looking away from me, he nods, “I understand.”
I feel hot tears on my face, “I love you, you know it?”
He nods and looks up to meet my eyes, “I know. I love you, too. We had it all didn’t we, baby.”
“We did, until you did a fucktard thing like dying.”
He laughs. Oh, I have missed that sound. I smile. We stare at each other for a long time. Finally, he speaks, “Move on, and be happy. Find someone to love you the way I should’ve loved you.”
“I will. I have no choice. You’re dead.”
I sit up in bed and wipe the tears from my face. My pillow is soaked and my phone is buzzing. I take a second to compose myself before reaching for it.