When I see Dana’s face I know it’s alright. I embrace her and she says, It’s just a cyst. He did a biopsy and sent it off but he’s sure that’s all it is.
I take her coat off and hang it up. It’s a long and glossy fake fur of some kind and looks segmented and exoskeletal, like it would be great for the ocean floor. It’s not that cold but Dana, like every woman I’ve ever known, is always cold, even in the summer. And she insists on always being a fashion plate.
Did he take it off? I say.
No. He wants a surgeon to do it.
Did he call Levinson?
Yes, mother. He’ll take it off in his office under a local.
When I hear a car door slam I look outside and see Corinne walking to the door.
Dana, I say, WTF is she doing here? You wouldn’t let me go with you but you let her?
I told you, Erik. If it was bad I was afraid you’d have a fit and I wanted Corinne there to drive me home. Don’t get your feelings hurt.
Does she have to be here right now?
You want us to have some privacy?
Yes. Is that too much to ask?
Dana says, Let me talk to her.
For the last five of the fifteen years we’ve been married Dana has decided to be a promiscuous lesbian whether I liked it or not, which I didn’t. Finally she decided she was getting a little old to be out chasing girls all night and when she found one she liked she just moved her into the spare bedroom and went in and fucked her whenever she liked. They all simply worship the ground Dana walks on. Corinne is Dana’s latest conquest.
Corinne is approaching the front door now, pushing her hair out of her eyes. Unlike when Dana first moved her in, every small gesture has become highly sexualized., but she’s only imitating Dana, her hero. Dana’s never been able to walk across a room without being heavily seductive. She meets Corinne just out of earshot and they converse briefly and Corinne nods her head and walks back to Dana’s Escalade and drives off.
I didn’t want you to say anything to her, Dana says to me as she closes the front door. She likes you and I didn’t want her to think you’re an asshole.
Is she angry then?
No, no, she’s fine. I know how to talk to her. She is my lover after all, Dana adds, needling me.
Is she your only one, now?
What’s wrong with Corinne’s mouth? I say.
I made her get her lips botoxed so she’d have a prettier mouth. You don’t like her mouth?
I love her mouth. I just wondered.
Want me to get her to blow you, Erik? I know she’d love to. Make you come your brains out.
Get in there, I say, pointing to the bedroom.
Is there something? She says, fluttering at me.
Take off your clothes. But keep those heels on.
The house is dark but the venetian blinds are open and the galled light from a rimshard of moon dapples the bed. I cant believe my wife is thirty five. She doesn’t look over twenty five and by a stretch of wishful thinking I can see her as she was at twenty when we shared an off campus apartment. In a way it’s too bad. She doesn’t have to face the fact that we will soon be pushing forty, and that’s old. And that she cannot keep doing the same shit to me she’s done since she was thirty.
I hear a rustle at the side of the bed and she says, Close your eyes.
The lamp comes on and hurts my eyes. I blink and see her walking to the bathroom with white streaming down her thighs. She smiles and says, I told you to close em.
I bury my face in the pillow to get away from the light. I hear flushing noises and the bathroom door opens and she comes over and turns off the bedside lamp and gets back in bed.
She buries her face in my shoulder and says, Life is good, Erik.
What brought that on? I say sullenly.
I just felt like saying it.
Feel better now that you did?
I have bad dreams, she mutters. Then she looks at me and says earnestly, I think i’d want to die first. I cant…
Dana, please tell me you’ve realized you wont live forever and neither will I. That we’re getting old.
We aren’t near old. I don’t mean that. I nearly had an accident on the way to the doctor. If I hadn’t looked up…anyway nothing happened but…
I guess I feel like the only reason I wasn’t killed was that you need me to take care of you. If anything happened…
You think you will be magically safe from harm as long as i’m here for you to look after. Magical thinking.
Don’t be mean, honey. I take being your wife very seriously.
Enraged, I say, You coulda fooled me. You’ve been fucking every woman you see for the last five years and I’ve been letting you do it cause I cant control you.
You have a point dear. That’s why I stopped chasing and just brought them home, like I did Corinne.
Corinne has to go, I say.
What? Oh, Erik. We’ve had this fight before and I always win.
She has to go.
Because you’re jealous?
Because you could’ve had terminal cancer and I will not share your last days with any little bitch you drag in. We are old! Not much time left for either of us.
We’re both perfectly healthy. We look ten years younger than we are.
She has to go, Dana.
Forty is the new twenty five!
Thirty five is thirty five. Get over it.
You really mean it, don’t you?
Finally she says, Well if you like me so much you want to be with me all the time then let’s not stay at home so much. There’s a concert at the IU auditorium tomorrow night.
You wanna go, huh? I say, miserably.
I told you about it two weeks ago.
I don’t remember.
Of course not. You tune me out.
I sure do. If we go will you behave? Promise not to stay all night with some bitch and make me drive to Bloomington the next day to get you?
I promise. Do I have to throw Corinne out?
Yes. Tomorrow. You moved her in, you get rid of her.
Alright, she says in petulance.
I fall into a sullen sleep, wondering if the Faustian bargain I made with her will bite me on the ass.