My First Divorce

Originally posted to Sex Kitten (2003 – 2004)

That was when she looked at websites about disposing of bodies. Not that he was quite a body, he was still breathing after all. But… she was only curious really.

His head was heavier than expected, kind of like a really big cabbage she’d once cooked for making cabbage rolls. She had a hard time fitting it into the pot, the cabbage, not his head. Although, cooking him was an alternative under consideration.

What do you do with an extra husband after all? Once the marriage was over, he became kind of disposable, like an extra toaster after the wedding. You could always give it away, but somehow that seemed so small minded. Why saddle someone else with your spare toaster? Even more so with a used toaster, one you had cleaned up after, slept with and all that other labour and time not so well spent. Maybe, it was really more like having a sixth finger than an extra toaster. Imagine how awkward that sixth finger would be? Holding a pen would be like a wrestling match and typing would be, well… interesting.

Anyway, the problem at hand was still the same. His body had to be gotten rid of. There were a few websites devoted to getting rid of bodies. Most were tongue in cheek type things. The others were pretty explicit and down right nasty. Not the sort of thing a nice girl would do. Well, most nice girls didn’t do a lot of the things she’d done lately. Still, you couldn’t just change who you are. If you’re a nice girl you’re stuck being a nice girl, no matter how circumstances changed around you.

The head thudded on the floor, sounding like a muted version of the thunder outside, as she dragged the body over the shiny kitchen tiles, just washed the evening before, after work. It was lucky she had the day off today. No one was home. No one was ever home. He changed his mind about having kids, now it was coming in handy.

“The bastard”, she said. It slipped out. She knew it was poor manners to speak ill of the dead but he was still pretty fresh. Like a developing baby, how did you really know when it became life or when life was completely and forever gone. Even after the body was dead it was possible to still be alive in some way. Perhaps Eric’s spirit was still lingering in some way. Probably telling her she was doing it all wrong and how could she murder him anyway? Nice girls didn’t do things like that.

It had been a strange day. She woke up in bed with her husband, starting to plan another day at work and what she would cook that night and how much vacuuming she could get done before she was too tired to care. He sat up next to her and spoke to her for the first time in five months.

“Are you really happy?” He said.

Her first thought was to replay it in her mind, just getting used to the idea that he was communicating anything beyond “pass the salt”. Was she happy? How could anyone be happy living with a gloomy, silent man who made her feel everything she did was wrong and everything was some how her fault. It defied logic on so many levels.

“No”, she answered.

“Want to get divorced?” he said. As if it were that simple, as if the past 3 or 4 years of her life had been that disposable, recyclable. She had no answer. True, she had been plotting an escape but that would have been on her terms and in the dark of night without so much as a note or pie plate left behind. This wasn’t how she’d seen it.

He went on, telling her he had “fallen out of love” with her. She thought love was something solid, something you couldn’t give back or give away like an old pair of shoes or a cheap pen. He said he loved her but she never said it back, she knew better. Love wasn’t that fast or simple or given so freely. Now his love was gone. Plastic love, artificial and not lasting as long as most chewing gum. Worthless. Odd how her love for him had just started to bud at the time his died.

She listened to him, he didn’t talk long. He wanted feedback from her. What could she say? She didn’t really want him enough to keep him by force, if that was even possible. So let it go. That’s what nice girls were supposed to do. It was good manners. So she did. She agreed to a divorce. He got dressed for work, telling her to look up on the Internet about what they needed to do to get divorced. He wanted a quick divorce and she had to agree, there was no point in hanging around.

The odd thing happened then. Maybe the oddest thing that had ever happened in her life, or maybe not. He fell in the closet as he was putting on his pants. His head hit the metal trunk he kept his books in. There was blood on his white shirt. But all she could do was watch him lie there and moan. How strange, to feel frozen or immobile somehow and watch someone bleed and twitch. But, he wasn’t hers any more. He’s just decided that. So what did it matter to her what he did?

She pulled on her warm, snugly robe and left him to pick himself up. When she next looked at the clock it was just after 10:00am. Her coffee had cooled off to the undrinkable point so she got up to make more. Getting divorced wasn’t too tough apparently. Since there was no property, other than the car, and no children, it was pretty much a matter of paperwork. Very unbalanced in some way and yet very balanced since their wedding had been centred around paperwork too. All that paperwork for her to move to the US and marry him, all because he wouldn’t consider the move to her home in Ontario. Well, now it would be over and he could stay here.

It was only as she was sipping her second fresh cup of coffee, watching the rain, that she thought she couldn’t actually remember him leaving for work. But, she ignored the thought for awhile. The coffee was good and had cooled to just the right temperature and flavour. If he was dead he wasn’t going anywhere. She thought it as a joke, not believing it would be reality. After all, how bizarre would that be.

Of course, fate likes to play these kind of tricks and he was still in the closet, pants half on. Blood would be making a mess of the hardwood floors. Poor Becky, the landlady, would have to call in someone to repair the floor if she didn’t get that cleaned up soon. Grabbing his ankles she managed to drag him out of the closet and kind of roll him onto his favourite rug from his Mother. Let him clean that up.

She brought a bucket of soapy water and rags from under the kitchen sink. The blood was messy, beginning to clot and harden a bit. Kind of gross work cleaning it all up. But, the floor was still ok underneath. She decided to do the whole floor once she had started. There were a lot of shoes and socks scattered around, other junk too but she didn’t really take the time to look at all of it. Lots of stuff to get rid of.

The water she dumped into the toilet was fairly pink from the blood and lemony soap. Kind of a nice colour actually, one she could use on her website if she could duplicate it. When she put the bucket away and rinsed the rags she went back to the bedroom. He was right where she had left him. His eyes were open, watching her. He was still alive. Dead men can’t move their eyes to follow you around the room glaring at you that way. Why didn’t the jerk just get up? Obviously he was missing work. He could at least call and let them know. They wouldn’t be able to call him cause she still had the phone line used for the Internet. It was his fault, he told her to look up divorce.

She left the bedroom, leaving him there to glare and blame the walls. When she was gone who would he blame for everything?

Then it sunk in on her. She would be free. Well, she’d have to start her life over again, pretty much, alone too. No job, no apartment, no car, just a lot of boxes of stuff. Her family would help, but going back to them was not a good option. They tended to suck her up and take over her life as if she was a child who couldn’t make decisions on her own. She had become the closest thing her family had to a black sheep, the ne’er do well. So, no, being alone would be better. Maybe, suddenly picturing herself as a bag lady wasn’t appealing.

How depressing. He would have everything. There wasn’t a lot to have but it was all his. Such a small minded little town. She’d never gotten a real job, no call backs no matter how many times she applied to places in the area. They had to be within walking distance since he had the car away to work in the next town each day. Telemarketing, just to have a job, wasn’t a real job. She hated it, the constant rejection, the angry people and the constant, grinding, crunch to get sales and stick with the script. It was a job robots should be given or forced on prison inmates. Punish some of the guilty every now and then, for a change.

She heard some kind of grunt from the bedroom, about time he was doing something. Now he would get up and start blaming her. Telling her how useless she was, how she was really just in his way. Reminding her how everything was his and only the useless things belonged to her. She was just taking up space. She might as well start packing. There were some boxes left from her move down to the US. They could be re-packed. She’d have to use the rest of her savings for a Greyhound bus ticket back. It would be expensive to ship herself and her boxes. Lots of stuff would have to be abandoned. Things that mattered to her. Maybe she was the only one that cared but she did. That should matter.

She pulled the boxes out of the bedroom closet. He wasn’t even glaring at her now. His eyes were still open but they weren’t focused. He was in her way too. Somehow she didn’t really want to touch him though. So she just pulled the rug he was lying on and gradually manoeuvred him into the living room, out of her way.

It didn’t take long to fill up the boxes. But she kept pulling out things and replacing them with other things, trying to decide on what could be sacrificed. Before long she was crying and emotionally drained. The afternoon soap operas would be on now. They had become her lifeline in her lonely life here. In the last few months she could go for days not speaking outside of telemarketing. The soaps helped her to remember that she was alive and part of life even if she was cut off from all of it.

After the soaps she started dinner. No use asking that lump what he wanted. Tonight she could cook for herself. There were steaks in the freezer. She had planned to cook them on the weekend when her Mother in law was likely to drop by and whine. Tonight they were just for her and she cooked them exactly the way she liked them, raw and bloody. That’s what Eric would have said. He liked them cooked to shoe leather, in her opinion. She ate at the table, something she had missed. It was he who wanted to sit at the computer, each on their own computer, during dinner. She missed eating with someone, at an actual table, facing each other, talking. Could she go back to that, or find someone else who valued that and her?

Anything was possible they said. Was it true?

Could a woman get away with something really drastic and dreadful? Something nice girls certainly wouldn’t do? The Internet was still on. As long as it was on there could be no sales calls, no calls from his family or his work. No one to bother her, ask her for things, drain her.

That was when she looked at websites about disposing of bodies. Not that he was quite a body, he was still breathing after all. But… she was only curious really.

Curiousity killed the cat. His head really was heavy. How could she possibly get rid of such a big man? Dragging him down the apartment stairs and out the door was not going to work. Too likely someone would see her and there was no way to explain why she was hauling her husband down the stairs, especially with his shirt all bloody and his eyes kind of rolled back in his head and sort of lopsided now. Weird looking really, how had she ever been attracted to him?

If she could somehow haul him over the balcony and let him fall to the car below, that would work. But there was no way she could lift him over the balcony railing. Still, getting him out of the apartment was necessary for her survival now. She had decided that sometime during the evening, after the second juicy, delicious steak.

So, in the end, she was back to her cabbage rolls. But chopping him into pot-sized pieces was out of the question. Far too gruesome if not time consuming. Now that she had made this decision, more or less, she wanted to get on with it and move on. That was when she thought of the bathtub. His Mother’s rug tore halfway there but there was enough left for her to keep hauling him until he was leaning against the side of the tub. Shoving him up and over the edge reminded her of their wrestling matches early in the marriage, when he could never lose, not even for the fun of letting her be on top and seeing where that would lead. Lacking imagination, definitely. Eventually, she managed to get him into the tub, kind of hauling him on her back and lifting, like a snail with it’s shell. He thudded solidly into the tub. His pants still not on, just half up one leg. She pulled them off, then his shirt and tie and underpants. It was funny seeing him naked again. It was all just flesh, skin, fat and hair. Had there ever been a whole man in there?

Now to cook. Possibly Martha had a recipe for this but she doubted it strongly. Martha might get rid of a husband but she wasn’t likely to cook him. The hot water tap took awhile to really begin steaming but she waited till it was quite scalding before plugging the drain. Would it really be enough to cook him?

He made some kind of noise as the water touched his skin. She got a scare for a second, thinking he would jump up and get her. But he just lurched around and then seemed to settle down by the time the water covered him half way. She realized she would have to turn him to get both sides cooked. But the water was making him at least a bit buoyant. The real question was, what to do with him next. No one was going to believe she had accidentally cooked her husband. He would certainly have to be gotten rid of.

Cooking him took all night. The tub had to be emptied and refilled with hot water a couple of times. She boiled all her kettles and the electric one too, trying not to use all the hot water up on the other tenants. The apartment smelled funny. She expected it to smell just like cooking a roast but it was different, making her feel kind of sick. Possibly she was just thinking too much. She’d had time to think, time to plan and time to pack. The car was full of her stuff now. All her clothes, her mementos, her kitchen stuff, her computer and their CD’s (the ones she wanted).

There were dogs outside, prowling around in the night. Likely cats and other animals too. But she still couldn’t bring herself to carve her husband up like a holiday turkey. It was a problem. She needed help but couldn’t ask for any. He needed to just disappear, with none the wiser.

She had read about cannibals who would have just eaten all that nicely cooked meat. He was nicely cooked too, that slow cooking that makes the meat so tender. You have to cook older meat that way, stew beef her Mother had called it. If she could distribute him some animals would surely eat him. He’d be a good meal for whatever strayed by. The distribution was the hard part.

Finally, it was simple. She looked at the clock and saw the time. No one would be around now. It was too early for even the earliest of them. It took a lot of effort to haul him downstairs. Outside, she borrowed the landlady’s garden trolley, the low cart with wheels which she used to plant her annuals. Eric didn’t fit on it easily but it made carting him around much easier on her. How odd it must look, a woman pulling a naked man along behind her. But the walk to the drainage ditch wasn’t far. It had been raining all day, a big storm had gone through the day before and the water was still high. He made a big splash and a plop and then was gone, swept away by the water.

The garden trolley was carefully cleaned and left to dry against the building, right where she had found it. The apartment needed to be aired out. She opened the balcony doors and let the fresh air and rain come in and clean the smell of him out of the apartment, the furniture, the walls and herself. She began to feel free. But, she was suddenly very exhausted too.

She slept through most of the day, but she had time now. The rain hadn’t let up. She didn’t mind driving in the rain. It was nature’s way of washing off the world.

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