I heard a rhythmic knock at the door but, ignored it and rolled over on the sofa, burying my head in the cushions. The knock repeated and this time with what sounded like yelling. Shuffling my feet across the floor, I opened the door only to see my friend Marcus standing in the doorway.

“You really look like shit”, he said while moving past me entering the condo. He pushed an empty pizza box across the floor with his foot as he sat on the sofa.

“It’s noon and from the looks of things you haven’t showered” Marcus said while inspecting the house curiously. He was right; I haven’t cleaned the house or myself in two and a half days. I brushed my hair with my hands and looked at him with eyes I am sure told of my misery.

“I don’t know, it has been a rough few months but, I am making it. Maybe I could clean up, maybe even get a haircut. I’m meeting Nadia tonight, actually. We are trying to work out as much as we can before going to the lawyers” I said.  Marcus nods with approval and stands up moving to the door slowly.

“I was just stopping by to make sure you weren’t in here dead, try answering your phone”, he says while embracing me with a hug. With a pat on the back I send Marcus on his way. I moved back to the sofa, back to the same position, looking out the same window. Reaching for my phone I texted my barber and tell him I need an emergency appointment. 

Dinner with Nadia was at seven o’clock and I got to the restaurant at six thirty. We decided to meet at a place familiar to the both of us. A Moroccan restaurant who’s owner was a good friend of my family and who spotted me from across the room.

“Look at this beautiful young man! Nadia is a lucky girl!” he says in his thick Moroccan accent while gently guiding me to the usual table. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was there to discuss my divorce.

“Normal red wine for Nadia and a cherry coke for you?” he says while clasping his hands together.

“You treat me too well you know that?” I respond still wondering if I should tell him about the divorce.

Sitting and waiting gave me time to conjure up old memories, like our second date. The day of our second day I was in a poor mood. Work was stressful and I called her to reschedule; no doubt she heard the discontent  with life in my voice. After a few hours she called but, I heard her voice clear as a whistle outside my window. She had come all the way to my house, a long drive, to take me out to eat.

We ending going to The Coupe on 11th street and having an early breakfast at one in the morning. We laughed, we shared food, we looked into each others eyes. She invited me back to her house. I will never forget how she looked, her lips still stand out in my mind. That night I brushed her hair behind her neck and kissed her. She took my shirt off and I took hers off. The moonlight was all we needed that night. The moonlight and each other.

My trip down memory lane was interrupted by Nadia pulling out her chair and sitting down.

“I assume the red wine is for me?” she asked while reaching for the glass. “Now tell me why couldn’t we have done this over lunch something less, romantic?”

Her comment stung but, it did not surprise me. “I was busy during the day and wanted to sit down with you with no interruptions,” which was a lie. I spent the day at the barber and cleaning. We made small talk over dinner, nothing extravagant until the conversation turned for the worst.

“No, I slept next to you everyday not knowing who you really were” she said between her teeth. “Love? Please love has nothing to do with your lies and you know that.”

“What about the money,” I said coolly while removing the napkin from my lap. Her face turned to stone and she seemed a little flush.

“There is no money” she said flatly.

“Four grand that you were responsible for up and left? Honestly, it doesn’t matter if the lawyers have to handle that, I am fine with it.” I reply while running my finger across the rim of my glass. My thought pattern shifted from the money to the bedroom we shared.

“Did you have him in our bed?” I asked, looking her in her eyes.

She met my gaze unflinchingly then tossed the wine in my face. “Baseless accusations! You will do anything to make yourself the victim won’t you? In front of my family, our friends?” her voice was almost hiss like.  

“I know what I saw Nadia” I say while reaching for napkins to clean myself. Nadia stands up and pushed her chair to the floor. All eyes turn to us as she moves across the restaurant, swaying her hips. Deep down I wish that was the last time I saw her. I knew eventually my past would catch up to me and the divorce was the tip of the iceberg. My two year lying spree was unraveling before my eyes.  As I looked down to continue cleaning the red wine it turned to blood; who’s blood was still a mystery

Published by Amir Webb