It was about 5 pm on a Sunday. Tension was growing between the couple; a lot of distrust held together by desperation. She felt panic inside her growing on most days by this point, but the thought of letting him go made her feel weak.

This thick negative air circled above the bedroom, above the couple, who held onto each other, almost as if they were trying to prove a point. He broke from the embrace to go take a shower, and that's when she decided to make her move.

Pacing around his room, frantically looking for some sort of evidence, she found another paycheck, dated this week, for a job other than what he said he had.

She didn't understand why he would lie to her about something so trivial. There must have been an underlying reason. They had been together six months by this time. Why would he need to lie about his job? To impress her? That should have already been decided.

She would have been more angry if it weren't for the gripping anxiety. She caught him. Right? But she wanted so desperately to be wrong. 

He stepped out of the shower after what seemed like 3 days. Her heart pounded when she saw him emerge from the doorway, and he immediately knew something was wrong.

She presented the pay stub with tears in her eyes. "Do you want to explain yourself?"

"Oh so you're snooping around my room again? Well that's great."

"It was on the desk face up."

She started to feel guilty.

"Well what do you think it means? Why would I lie to you about something so stupid?"

"I don't know, that's why I..." She sank lower into her body. She wanted to disappear.

"I told you the truth! That was money they owed me from when I worked there!"

But how does that make sense? Ugh I wish I never found this stupid thing.

"So you wont believe me? How is this even a fight right now? How could you not believe me when I'm looking right at you?!"

She felt more and more guilty, cowering, afraid to lose him. She wanted things to just go back to normal. Back to their normal.

"I mean, it just doesn't make sense. Why would..."

"WHAT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE? I'M TELLING THE TRUTH!"

He fell and cowered with his head in his hands, tearing up. She felt awful.

She looked upon him, over him, above him, wishing she had never brought this up. But deep, deep in the back of her brain, she had this tiny inkling of judgement.

At that moment, she thought of him as pathetic.

"I'm not that interesting. I'm just not that interesting"

But hearing him say that made her push that judgement away. She couldn't allow herself to think of him that way. She was supposed to love him unconditionally.

"I'm not that interesting. I'm just not that interesting." He just continued to pour into his cupped palms.

And she believed him. Because it was better for him to be uninteresting. That was exactly what she needed to hear. 

She walked over to him and held him. She engulfed him with her entire body, almost as a mother would with a child. 

And that was the last time she brought up the pay check.

Published by Shawn Engel