Bill inhaled, closed his eyes for a moment and then upon reopening them said, “I don’t lie to you, Gabrielle.”
“But you lie to yourself! And I lie! I lie all the time! To you, to my husband and to Jenny.” The swallow of air that Gabrielle took did a poor job of masking her sob.
“It’s the duplicitousness. I’m a wife. I’m married to a great man who’s dying and needs me and I need to be there for him. And just the deceit drives me crazy. When I talk to Jen about Sean I act like I know nothing when I know more about what’s going on with his case than she does! She’s my friend and I shouldn’t have to lie to her.”
Bill’s brain, still foggy from White Russian induced sleep, had devolved to Fight or Flight mode and he resisted his body’s imperative to strike, to yell at Gabrielle, to reach through his phone, grab her by her shoulders and shake her into reason. ‘Damn, damn, damn!’ he thought, ‘How can I turn this around? How can she not see that I need her too?!’ “Gabrielle, Mariko, listen to me-”
“I am not Mariko Yashida! I’m not Arachne, I’m not Julia Carpenter. Julia Carpenter would despise me. I don’t fight for right, I don’t take what they throw at me and shove it down their throats, I lie, I dissemble! I betray the most important man in my life.
“You know, maybe you’re right. Maybe I am Mariko Yashida. Maybe my motto should be, “One for all and all for me!” Because that’s how I feel like I’ve been living my life lately!”
“Gabrielle, you’re the most giving woman I know,” he responded, words coming out of his mouth without thought of where they would lead. “Adriel’s condition would have brought most people to their knees, would have abandoned their husbands by now. But not you. You give so much-”
“To the man who married me when I went blind. As a child. He stayed by me and he is my strength. I don’t care for him out of loyalty. I care for him out of love. He is my world and he is dying!
“And what do I do? I play games. I roll in the hay. I betray the greatest man I have ever known. I’m sorry, Bill. We’re through. You are a wonderful, wonderful man and if you are half the person I think you are then we can be friends; but just friends. No late night, Adriel’s away so the mice shall play, assignations, no more lies.
“I’m sorry. I know this is a lot and it’s sudden and it’s not fair. I have to go. I have to check on Adriel. I’ll call you soon; after you’ve had time to think. Goodbye, Bill.”
“Wait! Wait! Don’t hang up!” but the phone into which he spoke had no one on the other end.