I did it. I found them. I made my way in their sanctum. They thought they could keep me away by suddenly becoming privacy conscious on Facebook. As if I didn’t know their names, birthdays, workplaces. As if I didn’t build a life with him. He moved on, like men do, and thought I’d do the same, thought I wouldn’t be contaminated by his betrayal.
The dog barks, stupid little mutt. He looks at me through the glass patio door, eyes wide with expectation. Innocent and dumb eyes, unable to detect threat. Wasn’t protection the reason people bought dogs? When did dogs become practice babies?
There’s no sound from the bedroom, she is still asleep. I can snoop, eating up the flakes of their lives.
The floor is spotless, the furniture still has that new shop smell. She likes the Impressionist painters; three Monet prints are famed. A neat stack of Vogue magazines stands proudly on the coffee table. I am sure she bats her eyes and says that if she’d been a bit more reckless she would have studied fashion.
Traces of him are harder to find, the home is her domain. My Serge Gainsbourg records, the ones we bought in scorching Toulon, are the only familiar sight. It’s funny, at the time he thought the records were pretentious.
The laundry hamper is full of his gym clothes. Were they the same ones I bought him when he took up running? Wasn’t I a fool, thinking that running would relieve that itch which he hid. I dig in the pile of soiled clothes and I pull out a polyester top and press it to my face. I inhale his scent and feel like I’m home.
I scope out the sealed off bedrooms. One has been converted into a home gym. The other is a nursery – the calming shades of mauve and cream. The crib is assembled and little folded onesies wait to be worn by Sienna, or will it be Olivia? The baby clothes smell of fabric softener. I tuck a tiny sock in my pocket. It will be the only thing that remains after I ruin what he has built. He will know that there are consequences for leaving the one you love. My teeth will be in his heart.
His heart, wasn’t that the reason I moved to the other side of the world? Wasn’t it his heart which fooled me in financing his business. I was there while he struggled; I was there when he was insecure. There was love there, we had good times together. What does that matter now? That little period should be locked away in some dark recess.
I watch her sleep. Her neck is tilted, her body at ease – safe. Her hand is resting on her convex stomach, she must be near the end, week thirty-five or thirty-six. She looks the same as she does on the photos, except her hair isn’t blow-waved and her lips are cracked and pale. Her cheeks are fuller, no doubt because of the pregnancy.
I tiptoe around her, I watch her sleep, I watch her chest heave. It would be so easy to bash her head in, three or four swift blows to the head and she’ll be gone. Her brains will splatter on the bedding and wall. That’s how he will find her.
It’s funny how safe she must feel, unaware of a stranger in her home. To her I’m a stranger, an ugly shadow, an inconvenient fragment she thought she could bury in the past. But I know her, she lives under my skin.
She smacks her lips and turns, still asleep. A smile of relief creeps up on my face. I sneak out of her bedroom and explore her living room. It’s a lot like I imagined it, beautiful and white. A vase full of lilies, framed photos of their wedding, photos of their travels. He still looks handsome, a bit fuller around the waist and still with a full head of hair. He started tanning and bleaching his teeth – a new development. It worked out for him, the money we both sunk, the sacrifices we made. He reaped the fruit and so did she. I am here to poison that fruit.
I feel jitters, it’s as if I’ve had too many coffees. I came here full of poison and hate, but who is to pay? Him or her? The baby? Or will they find me bleeding on their hardwood floors, my corpse white and baiting the dog? It’s too late for me to go home with my tail between my legs. I am here to topple their universe.
My throat is dry and sweat cools my body. I’m scared, only a fool wouldn’t be scared. What will they say on the news? Scorned and deranged woman involved in murder suicide? Or will I make it out alive and tell my story in court – a black widow, shackled and fighting the blitzing lenses of photographers.
In the kitchen a set of Baccarat chrome knives catch my eyes. Knives are messy, but they deserve messy. I finger the knives, looking for one that will be just right. The chef’s knife is too awkward and the cleaver is too dramatic. I settle on the carving knife, it seems appropriate.
My hands are trembling, but I need to snap out of it. I need to sink my teeth in his heart, get him where it would hurt him the most. Who does he love most of all?
I crouch by the sink, knife in hand. The roller-door of the garage creaks to life. A car speeds in. I wrap my hand around the blade, squeezing it tighter and tighter until it becomes a part of me. His keys jingle, he opens the door, plastic bags swoosh in his hands.
He coughs, she calls his name, there’s footsteps. My blood has formed a pool, but there is still time. I rise and find oblivion.
Maggie Jankuloska is a Macedonian-born writer, living in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been featured in The Age, Award Winning Australian Writing, Feminartsy and The Regal Fox. Find her on Twitter – @maggiejank