Killing James wasnāt my top-of-mind thought after we made
love that morning.
In fact, after four months of sharing sheets, I was
feeling good about my relationship with James.
Relationship. Okay, so we hadnāt actually said that we
were a couple. But I knew it was coming.
James got out of bed to make coffee and connect with his
head office. I stayed put to hold on to my post-sex buzz
just a bit longer. I imagined the conversation Iād have
later that day with Betsy.
āI think weāre getting serious,ā Iād tell her.
Sheād be skeptical and snarky, āBetter you than me,ā
āHe bought me a toothbrush when he replaced his own.
Feels like a sign.ā
āYeah, a big, orange caution flag.ā
I heard the coffeemaker sputter and James clinking mugs.
I got up. His laptop sat on the table open to an exchange
with his boss, Sandra. As I dropped to the couch, two
words jumped out at me as though theyād been typed in
large, bold, red lettersāāblow job.ā
He must mean something about not blowing a job he has
to do for Sandra.
I picked up the laptop and started to read. Nope. The
only job that Sandra was worried about blowing was his.
From only six one-liners, back-and-forth between them, it
was obvious that James and Sandra were lovers. And by
āloversā I mean it was obvious that Jamesās penis played
an integral role in his weekly job duties.
James called from the kitchen as I put his laptop down,
āHey, Tara, you want your coffee in bed or are you
I couldnāt speak through the bile in my throat. James
walked around the corner and saw me sitting on the couch.
He smiledāHe bloody smiled at me!āand put one cup of
coffee down on each side of his laptop.
āWhatās wrong? You look pale. Are you feeling sick?ā he
asked, touching my forehead like a concerned dad.
I pointed at his laptop, stood, walked to his bedroom,
and closed the door. Hard. I wanted to leave but didnāt
have the energy to get dressed. I sat on the edge of his
bed. I didnāt scream. I couldnāt cry. My only thought was
whether I should puke in the toilet or on his bedroom
floor. I decided to stay where I was.
Unfortunately, all I did was dry heave. If only Iād had
the coffee first, then Iād have something to bring up.
James sat down beside me and put his hand on my back. I
āI get that youāre upset. And Iām sorry you saw the
emails. But letās not make this into something that itās
not,ā he said.
I glared at him and saw something in his eyes that made
me want to believe him. I started to soften and then
thought, No! Youāve been cheating on me. Thatās not
okay. I turned away from him.
āTara, look at me. Let me try to explain.ā He crouched on
the floor directly in my sight line. I looked in the
āFine. Do you want to be juvenile about this or do you
want to talk about it?ā
Apparently that was the right question to break through
my stunned speechlessness. Oh, I gave it to him. I donāt
even remember what I said but I had a sore throat and
ringing ears at the end my tirade. And the whole time, he
stood there with a stupid little smile on his stupid
āAre you done? Do you feel better?ā James asked when it
was clear that I was done and that I didnāt feel better.
āI really like you. I do. Iāve been thinking that we have
See Betsy, I was right. He was ready to go to the next
āābut this job isā¦well, itās my life, Tara. You and I,
weāve only been together, what, a few months? This thing
with Sandra, itās just a thing, itās not love, but itās
been three years. I canāt simply stop, itās complicated.
I want to be with this company for the rest of my career,
and she kind of has me over a barrel, if you know what I
He stopped talking and I wished my eyes could do to him
what my heart was feeling. He seemed to understand that
this approach was not doing the trickā¦ha! Doing the
āTara? Itās not like you and I ever said we were
exclusive, right? I mean, I really loveā¦the time we spend
together. I do. Iām happy that it looks like we might be
moving into a moreā¦you knowā¦serious kind of relationship.
But, thatās not where we are now. If anyone should be
mad, itās Sandra,ā he said with a frigging smile, āsince
Iāve kind of been cheating on her with you. Look, Iām
sorry. Arenāt you going to say anything?ā he asked.
I looked around Jamesās bedroom. Iām going to miss
waking up to your view of Kits beach ā¦ And I love the
colour of your walls. I wish Iād asked what it wasā¦Too
bad youāre an asshole ācause I was getting comfortable
āIām taking my new toothbrush.ā I packed up my things,
dressed in silence and left without saying good-bye.