Purple's Platitudes

nothing but words …

The Papers

04 September 2015

 

“So you know what this is?” Holly beamed , holding up a thick clap folder . I glanced back at the clock on the microwave, and returned my unfocused gaze to her.

 

“of course I know what that is,” I lied, “I’m just not as blaisely familiar with it as you aer, after what, your fourth or fifth time around?”

 

She smiled but I could no longer tell if she meant it as the super model ‘I can get anything I want’ one, or theg hyen’sa, ‘I could devour you and there isn’t a damn thing you could do about it’ sneer.

 

“You were my fourth Bry,” she replied, overly emphasizing the past tense.

 

I hated it when she didn’t use my full name. Bryce was my replacement, conveniently only three days after she had reached her agonizing decision to end our marriage, once and for all.

 

Holly slapped the envelope against the door and I instinctively grabbed it before it fell. She forced her way past my arm and headed for the living room, instantly taking in every possible detail and judging me for it.

 

“Come in,” I muttered almost silently and let the door softly close.

 

Neither of us sat down.

 

“Are you trying to grow a beard?” she asked, noticing my five day straggly growth of facial hair.

 

“It’s the McDreamy look,” I retorted, wondering if she would even catch the allusion . She didn’t, or if she did she made no visible sign of recognition.

 

“I should have burned that disgusting robe when I had the chance,” she commented with obvious disgust. “I can’t believe that you are still wearing it.”

 

I stood a little straighter, taller, like a peacock who had just been noticed. I was wearing white, calf-length socks, solid black cotton boxers, a white Hanes A shirt that only accentuated my firm pectorals, and my red and white vertical striped housecoat that I had since my college days at Northwestern.

 

Holly was immaculately dressed for maximum effect, dark, alluring, and about as sensible as any woman trying to get noticed above all others. Glossy high heels, black silk stockings, black dress slacks that drew every breathing male’s attention and light peach camisole that left little to the imagination, even though she was wearing a lightweight blazer. I sighed, distracted by memories, by wishful thinking, by …

 

“Please tell me you are not just moping around, wasting your life away now that I am gone?” Holly asked with almost a hint of sincerity.

 

Opening the envelope, I gruffly asked, “Where do I sign?”

 

“don’t you want to read it first? Before you sign?”

 

“Nope!” I said, searching for a pen.

 

She held out an expensive looking pen, which I took from her without pausing to wonder where it had come from, after all, she carried no purse to accessorize her outfit.

 

“I came prepared,” she stated, almost apologetically.

 

The papers were in legalese, but all of the places requiring a signature were already marked with a pronounced “X”.One by one I signed those blanks, feeling like another little piece of me died each time I did. Holly was babbling away, nervously. She always did talk too much and too fast whenever she felt uncomfortable or was trying to hide her true feelings. It was an obvious tell that any poker player would have identified after the first two or three hands.

 

“Are you even listening Bryan?” she demanded in that tone that was both spoiled Princess and demon—possessed wicked witch rolled into one.

 

“Yes, darling,” I smirked without looking up from the page I was signing.

 

“Goddammit it would be nice if you listened to me at least once in our relationship,” she half pouted. “This does concern our Siss you know.”

 

She was referring to our two pugs, Syd and Sid, or Barrett and Vicious respectively.

 

“I’m sorry, I was focusing on signing everywhere I was supposed to.” I tried to sound sincere, but actually I did not care. I never wanted the dogs to begin with, even though I got to name them. Holly didn’t have a clue who Pink Floyd were or the Sex Pistols. She just thought it was cute that we called both dogs Syd. She liked telling people at parties that these were our Sids, a play on kids, as if she were clever or something. She showed off pictures to anyone who would look and talked about everything the dogs did like they were our children.Her children. Her dogs.

 

She was still talking and I refocused my thoughts to enter the conversation.

 

“If you want one of the sids to stay with you, or both, sometimes, not all of the time, I would be okay with that.”

 

I looked up from the papers, into her eyes. She had not really asked a question, but she had paused and the silence was uncomfortable. Quietly, I said, “No, the dogs were always yours. It’s fine.”

 

She nodded, acted like she had more to say, butthen nchanged her mind. At some point, she had moved closer. She was looking down at the pen hovering over the final page, the final signature, the one where I agreed to plead No Contest to everything that had come before and sign off on everything, including her.

 

,Somewhere in those few moments, something had changed. Her triumphant haughtiness, her gloating superiority, her careless nonchalance had been stripped away. My own deep wounds and anger had been soothed by an unobtrusive inner stream of stillness, an ambling creek in the middle of a secluded wood. She was no longer the enemy or the demon with all of the evil connotations and images Icould conjure up.

 

“Are you going to sign?” she asked timidly, her voice only barely betraying unspoken feelings.

 

“What?” I asked looking up at her. I had heard her perfectly, but it was instinctive to ask her a question instead of answering her too directly, too honestly, too …

 

I signed, slowly, legibly, but without hesitation, then neatly put the papers back into the envelope and handed it back to her. I returned her pen, not lingering as our fingers touched. No one spoke as I walked her to the door. She turned and faced me one last time.

 

The papers were signed. Some Judge would review them, sign his Final Decree, and grant us a divorce. No lawyers, no bickering, no dispassionate division of what’s hers and what is mine, no questions over custody or visitation, or anything. She wasn’t even asking for alimony. It would simply be over.

 

“Goodbye Bryan.” It was sincere, closure without venom or regret. Holly turned and walked away, without hurrying or slowing down.. She never looked back. or heard me say goodbye to Syd and Sid, … or her.

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4 September, 2015 Posted by | Fiction | Leave a comment