The Kitchen Conversation

The Kitchen Conversation

I glanced down at the kitchen countertop and slowly spread my hands out on the cool marble, gasping for breath.

‘You want… you want what?’

‘A divorce,’ my wife repeated, firmly.

‘Why?’ I gaped at her, in total shock. ‘Where is this coming from? Aren’t we happy? Aren’t you happy?!’

Her top lip quivered slightly, and I saw her stiff demeanour for the mask that it was.

‘I thought I was,’ she whispered. ‘But you, Walt… you’re a…you sell…’ she cut herself off, unable to finish the horrible thought.

I physically felt the blood drain from my face. She shook her head in… what? Shame? Disgust? Anger? I couldn’t tell any more.

‘It’s true, isn’t it?’ she said. ‘I didn’t want to believe it.’

‘I’m not sure what exactly you’re accusing me of—’ I started.

‘Oh, please!’ she shouted, suddenly furious, blue eyes sparkling with rage – that, I was able to see clearly. ‘I found your money! How did you make it, Walt? Was it by moonlighting for a Melbourne company that designs kitchens? Huh? Are you sneaking off at all hours to work as a fry cook?’

‘Astrid, let me just—’

‘Save it!’ she screamed, loud enough to wake the baby. We both stood in silence for a moment, heads down – parenting, it seemed, took precedence over even this conversation, the one I’d been so fearfully avoiding.

The baby settled herself down, and she went back to looking at me with those hate-filled eyes.

‘I’ve had enough,’ she whispered. ‘Of all of this. So I’m leaving you, Walter. And I’m taking your children – I hope that the custom kitchens business has been worth it.’

I stood in stunned silence as she swept out of the room to pack a bag, disbelief clouding my every thought.

How had she found out? I thought to myself. How did she know I was drawing anime fanart for commission online?

I slapped a hand to my forehead – of course!

I knew I shouldn’t have kept that cash in the vents.