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THE POND/Sarah Willis THESE THINGS HAPPEN: my husband asks me for a divorce, and the next morning the pond is gone. He comes rushing mto the bedroom thathe didn't sleep in last night, where I Ue facing the waU, fuiaUy asleep after crying my goddamn eyes out all night—can you Imagine asking someone for a divorce? "I need you to give me a divorce," he said—and shouts, "You gotta see this. The pond is gone!" Well, that's ridiculous. I think of a thousand quips that lead me nowhere. Maybe your girlfriend took it to . . . but you can'tfuck a pond, can you? or Maybe it moved to get awayfrom you, youfucking asshole, but that's stupid too. I settle for, "What the hell are you talking about?" without turning over, without looking at him. I haven't really thought about what he's said, just that he's talking and I have to say something back because damned if Tm going to take this all lightly or silently. But he tugs on the covers. His voice is not the voice of last night, of the man who was going to be polite about the whole thing. Detached. Practical. Told me the name of his girlfriend, how they met, how often they've been seeing each other. What an ass. Now his voice is all full ofwonder, like a little kid wanting to show his mommy a rainbow. Like Tm Important to him. Like I matter in his life. But he's got me curious because he's Mr. Practical, balance-the-checkbook kind of guy. He had the dates with his girlfriend marked down In his calendar notebook with the code name Peters. He invented Peters, an 1RS man, come two months ago to check the company books, all hush-hush, probably trouble for the company, which is why they needed him overtime to get things straightened out. A nice guy, this Peters, if a little too much bythe -book. Td even invited him to the house for dinner. What a fool I am. He's tugged the covers off and is noticing that I slept In my clothes. It seemed appropriate at the time—I was making some statement I don't remember by sleeping in my clothes. Now I just feel stupid, physically and mentaUy. Maybe that was the point. "What the hell are you doing?" I ask. "Come outside and see. Tm not kidding! The pond is gone!" "Who the hell would take a pond? How could you take a pond? How the hell could you fucking cheat on me like that? Tm good for you. I was good for you. Not anymore, let me tell you that right now. Jesus, didn't you know we had it good?" The Missouri Review · 11 "Yeah, maybe we did," he says, "but this is something else. Something else entirely. Would you please get out of bed? You've got to see this." He said please last night, too. He had his speech planned—I bet he made notes. Stay polite. State thefacts. Don't get emotional. The more I think about it, the more I don't believe he has the emotional capacity for an affair. Tm suddenly confused. I try imagining this affair, and now I can't. Last night I could, but a hell of a lot of tears later, Tm dry as a bone and Tm beginning to think. I was sure he was gay when I met him. People think he is gay. He doesn't flirt with women. He never gazes at their breasts. He never, ever tells dirty jokes. We've never watched a porno. He's polite and folds up his napkin and places it across his plate when he's done. He can be funny, but he's usuaUy not. We both like opera. He bought Aida at the little record store I owned. This small Indiana town has maybe five thousand people In it, surrounded by miles of nothing, and believe me, he's the only man who ever bought Aida. I reaUy thought he was gay. It took two years to figure out he...


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pp. 11-13
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