We had only been married for five years when I walked into our bedroom and there she was, sitting at the edge of our bed with a half-empty martini in her hand. I had left work early, hoping to surprise her as she’d seemed down in the dumps as of late, only to find that she’d been drinking since I left that morning.
“God, Arthur,” she said, her voice lubricated by cheap gin, “I’m so bored. I’m so godawfully bored.”
The martini glass tipped dangerously in her hand. I made a slow move towards her, afraid she might bolt like a stray cat.
“Darling, let me have that.”
Miranda jerked away even though I’d made no attempt to touch her. Gin sloshed over the edge and soaked into the carpet near her bare feet. Her toes were painted red, I remember – don’t we remember the strangest things?
“I h-hate this place.” Hiccups were setting in and this was a fresh shock; my wife was always cool, collected, never so much as a burp or a giggle at the dozens of cocktail parties I’d taken her to over the years. (Dozens, I realized then? Had it really been dozens of those office get-togethers I’d dragged her to? I thought at that moment yes, she was right, those had been terribly boring.)
“I hate it here, I d-d-don’t belong here, Arthur.” Miranda noticed the martini glass was spilling and she righted it only to take another deep sip. Swig, was the better word. “I’m like – a – a rose you planted in one of those states where it never gets warm. You want me to be beautiful here but I can’t. I’m wilting.”
And then she began to cry, which scared me more than anything. I hadn’t seen my wife cry since our wedding day and even then it had been only a single tear running down her cheek, probably because that was the most glamorous way to cry, and with Miranda there was always someone watching her, there was always a spotlight as though her life was a silver screen and the rest of us just blurry figures in the audience.