The Information

‘It never used to be like this,’ she said, draining her glass and placing it on the granite kitchen bench. ‘We never argued about things like this before, did we?’

‘No, we didn’t. You were far ruder, if you remember. We would argue briefly about something small, then laugh it off. “Come on, there’s no need to be like that, potty mouth” – that sort of thing.’ He poured another glass of shiraz for himself and offered her one by lifting the bottle in her direction and raising one eyebrow. She indicated no, as you do to a waiter in a restaurant, and he put down the bottle.

‘We talked though. Back then.’

‘Yes, we talked.’

‘You told me what you were thinking. What was bothering you. And we’d talk about that.’

‘Do you know how difficult it was, to talk about that stuff?’

‘I know it wasn’t easy, but I didn’t judge you. I was always ready to hear it when you had something to say. I wasn’t threatening your manhood, and I told you that, and you believed me because you told me things and we worked through them.’

‘You knew I didn’t want to go into those things. It seemed easier to do something I hated rather than create an even worse situation, something I knew I’d hate even more, by not opening up when you practically demanded it.’

‘It was that hard, was it?’ She laughed.

‘Yes, it bloody well was. You never took it seriously. Never understood, for all your talk of understanding. You never really tried to understand either. You just said things about not judging and it being safe to tell you anything. All that. I never believed it. I was just finding the easiest course. The path …’

‘Of least resistance?’ She interrupted him. ‘You do have favourite phrases. Are you going to tell me that you were trying to salvage something honourable now? As if I know nothing about honour. As if you’re an expert. As if we didn’t both know about that time in Adelaide.’

‘You said you’d never mention that!’ he shouted, slamming the wine glass down, snapping its stem and scattering fragments of glass all over the bench. ‘This is why I never wanted to tell you things. To confide. You save it up and use it later. You probably tell other people, I don’t know. You can’t be trusted.’

‘I can be trusted. I told the judge all the things you wanted me to tell him. That stuff about the rogue accountant. I could be trusted then and I can be trusted now.’ She was cool. She never lost her cool, ever, but she was clearly angry.

‘Yes. Well. You did that. Yes, you did.’ He spoke more slowly now, the colour draining from his face. ‘That was helpful. You were helpful to me, on that one occasion, and I am grateful for it. I said I was grateful. You were helping yourself as well though.’

‘How do you mean?’

She listened carefully for his answer. It was like an animal hunting. She was ready to pounce.

‘You made sure you were OK. I mean, you kept me out of gaol but you made sure you didn’t go either. You looked after number one.’

‘I loved you!’ She wailed. ‘I can’t believe this. After all I did for you, this is how I get treated? All the jobs I did. All the stories I told. You can’t be serious.’

Between sobs she began to sweep up the pieces of glass from the bench with a dustpan and broom.

‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I’ve been under a lot of stress. It’s this lump I’ve got. I noticed it in the shower. I’ve been wondering if it’s linked to that other problem. You know the other problem. From the other night. I can’t sleep, thinking about it.’

‘Is that all, baby?’ she said, brightening. ‘You’ll be fine’

Her eyes were dry and she looked as if she hadn’t cried for years. She seemed happy. She had found out the information she wanted.

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Published in: on May 1, 2013 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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