Monday 27 – Wednesday 29 June 2011
This is different. No one dies. No one gets maimed. There are no serial killers, psychopaths, or oddly creepy people. It’s just a slice of life. I borrowed the title from my favourite Billie Myers song ‘Kiss The Rain’, which can be found on the old-ish, but fabulous album ‘Growing, Pains’. It’s an album that I highly recommend; Billie has an incredible voice, and her ability to deliver a song is awesome.
‘So . . . where are you now?’ Ordinarily, Lara wouldn’t have pressed Paul as hard as she was, but she desperately needed to know where he was and what he was doing.
‘Lally –’ he replied.
‘Don’t you Lally me. Just answer the damn question. Are you with her? Is that it?’ she was angry and couldn’t restrain herself any longer. His silence on the other end of the telephone gave Lara her answer. He was with her; where, was now irrelevant.
Paul heard her disconnect the call. He slumped back in the sofa, tossed his cell phone on the seat beside him, and buried his face in his hands. There would be no coming back from it this time. She’d forgiven him once, but he had been on a short leash since then.
‘Here’s your drink – what’s wrong, Paul?’
‘What do you think?’ he mumbled.
Reneé Vartan, serial adulterer, receptionist, and wannabe model sauntered into the room. She placed the two Pepsis that she was carrying, on the coffee table in front of Paul, and then attempted to seductively lower herself to the sofa. Paul barely noticed her attention-seeking action, his thoughts focussed wholly on Lara.
‘Huh, so the bitch has your nuts in a vice. That’s just what I need after I spent three hundred bucks on lingerie for this weekend,’ Reneé whined.
‘You know, Reneé, if you so much as think of referring to my wife as a bitch again –’
‘You’ll what, Paul? Incidentally, that’s rich coming from the man who is cheating on that very same woman. And not for the first time, I might add,’ she retorted and stormed out of the room.
Paul was left alone with the words of two women running through his head. It was an undeniable fact that he had cheated on his wife of ten years. To be sure, he’d had at least one affair every year of their marriage. For the most part he’d managed to stay under the radar, until this last affair. Somehow, despite the care Paul took not to get caught, Lara had discovered his infidelity. She had been devastated at his betrayal, and when she interrogated him about any other liaisons, he’d denied having had any other affairs. Lara hadn’t really believed him, but unable to prove otherwise, she had begrudgingly accepted his ‘only this one time’ defence. He had got away with it once, but not this time.
After disconnecting the call, Lara considered her options. She had already given him a second chance, was it something she wanted to repeat? Could she trust him again? Did she really want to? The silver framed wedding photo on the dresser in their bedroom caught her eye.
‘Huh, how things have changed,’ she said. ‘Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and you better start running really fast, dipshit.’
The words made her smile. She’d surprised herself with them. Outside, the July winter weather had set in, and the rain began to pour down.
‘I may be blonde, but damn you weather, and your oddly symbolic gesture of raining at a moment when I’m trying to stop myself from crying.’
She lowered herself on to the bed, her eyes never moving from the wedding photograph. Lara knew she’d made her decision long ago when she’d been confronted with Paul’s first infidelity.
‘I know, I know, Lara. You promised yourself if this happened again, it would be the last time,’ she gave herself the pep talk that she’d used on many late nights when she’d wondered if Paul was off being unfaithful instead of working, as he’d implied.
Paul had never noticed the bag Lara had packed and placed at the back of the wardrobe. He’d been oblivious to most things over the years; had never noticed the new clothes every week, the expenses on his credit card, the expensive lunches out with the girls. He had been too wrapped up in maintaining his own lies to notice that Lara had been getting her own back through financial perks, literally at his expense.
‘Never thought I’d need this,’ she reached in to the wardrobe and pulled out the bag, surprised by its weight. ‘What the hell did I think I’d need that weighs this much?’
Sitting on the sofa, alone and feeling abandoned, the gold band on his ring finger now looking out of place, Paul wondered what would be waiting for him when he eventually arrived home. Absentmindedly, he twisted the gold band around his finger. He’d never bothered to remove the wedding ring when he embarked on an affair. Its presence seemed to encourage the women to throw themselves at him, rather than repel them. It was something he and his co-conspiratorial friends found highly entertaining, often making jokes about the pulling power of the ring, and likening it to Tolkien’s famous gold ring. It certainly wouldn’t be the one ring to rule them all now.
‘I’m a dumb shit,’ Paul chastised himself, slapping his thigh as he did so.
Lara set the bag on the back seat of the car and went back inside the house. The chorus of a familiar song spilled out of the radio and across the kitchen.
Kiss the rain whenever you need me,
Kiss the rain whenever I’m gone too long,
If your lips feel hungry and tempted,
Kiss the rain and wait for the dawn,
Keep in mind we’re under the same skies,
And the night’s as empty for me as for you,
If you feel you can’t wait till morning,
Kiss the rain, kiss the rain, kiss the rain.
She laughed at the platitudes in the song. She laughed at the thought of him on bended knee, singing those very words to her on their wedding night. She laughed at her stupidity in taking him back and pretending that she didn’t know about all of the other women.
After taking a last look around the house that she’d shared with Paul for ten years, Lara closed the door leaving that part of her life firmly behind her. She scrolled through the numbers on her BlackBerry, found Paul’s and hit dial. He answered after five rings.
‘Well babe,’ she said to him, ‘when you get back home, don’t bother to kiss the rain. You can kiss my ass instead, you sorry sack of shit.’