KATHY WAS OUT WHEN I GOT HOME.
I opened her laptop and tried to access her email—but with no luck. She was logged out.
I had to accept that she might never repeat her mistake. Would I keep checking ad nauseam, give in to obsession, driving myself mad? I had enough self-awareness to appreciate the cliché I had become—the jealous husband—and the irony that Kathy was currently rehearsing Desdemona in Othello hadn’t escaped me.
I should have forwarded the emails to myself that first night, as soon as I’d read them. Then I’d have some actual physical evidence. That was my mistake. As it was, I had begun questioning what I had seen. Was my recollection to be trusted? I’d been stoned out of my mind, after all—had I misunderstood what I had read? I found myself concocting outlandish theories to prove Kathy’s innocence. Maybe it was just an acting exercise— she was writing in character, in preparation for Othello. She had spent six weeks speaking in an American accent when preparing for All My Sons. It was possible something similar was going on here. Except the emails were signed by Kathy—not Desdemona.
If only I had imagined it all, then I could forget it, the way you forget a dream—I could wake up and it would fade away. Instead I was trapped in this endless nightmare of mistrust, suspicion, paranoia. Although on the surface, little had changed. We still went for a walk together on Sunday. We looked like every other couple strolling in the park. Perhaps our silences were longer than usual, but they seemed comfortable enough. Under the silence, however, a fevered one-sided conversation was taking place in my mind. I rehearsed a million questions. Why did she do it? How could she?
Why say she loved me and marry me, fuck me, and share my bed—then lie to my face, and keep lying, year after year? How long had it been going on? Did she love this man? Was she going to leave me for him?
I looked through her phone a couple of times when she was in the shower, searching for text messages, but found nothing. If she’d received any incriminating texts, she had deleted them. She wasn’t stupid, apparently, just occasionally careless.
It was possible I’d never know the truth. I might never find out. In a way, I hoped I wouldn’t.
Kathy peered at me as we sat on the couch after the walk. “Are you all right?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. You seem a bit flat.” “Today?”
“Not just today. Recently.”
I evaded her eyes. “Just work. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
Kathy nodded. A sympathetic squeeze of my hand. She was a good actress. I could almost believe she cared.
“How are rehearsals going?”
“Better. Tony came up with some good ideas. We’re going to work late next week to go over them.”
I no longer believed a word she said. I analyzed every sentence, the way I would with a patient. I was looking for subtext, reading between the lines for nonverbal clues—subtle inflections, evasions, omissions. Lies.
“How is Tony?”
“Fine.” She shrugged, as if to indicate she couldn’t care less. I didn’t believe that. She idolized Tony, her director, and was forever talking about him—at least she used to; she hadn’t mentioned him quite so much recently. They talked about plays and acting and the theater—a world beyond my knowledge. I’d heard a lot about Tony, but only glimpsed him once, briefly, when I went to meet Kathy after a rehearsal. I thought it odd that Kathy didn’t introduce us. He was married, and his wife was an actress; I got the sense Kathy didn’t like her much. Perhaps his wife was jealous of their
relationship, as I was. I suggested the four of us go out for dinner, but Kathy hadn’t been particularly keen on the idea. Sometimes I wondered if she was trying to keep us apart.
I watched Kathy open her laptop. She angled the screen away from me as she typed. I could hear her fingers tapping. Who was she writing to? Tony?
“What are you doing?” I yawned.
“Just emailing my cousin … She’s in Sydney now.” “Is she? Send her my love.”
Kathy typed for a moment longer, then stopped typing and put down the laptop. “I’m going to have a bath.”
I nodded. “Okay.”
She gave me an amused look. “Cheer up, darling. Are you sure you’re okay?”
I smiled and nodded. She stood up and walked out. I waited until I heard the bathroom door close, and the sound of running water. I slid over to where she had been sitting. I reached for her laptop. My fingers were trembling as I opened it. I re-opened her browser—and went to her email log-in.
But she’d logged out.
I pushed away the laptop with disgust. This must stop, I thought. This way madness lies. Or was I mad already?
I was getting into bed, pulling back the covers, when Kathy walked into the bedroom, brushing her teeth.
“I forgot to tell you. Nicole is back in London next week.” “Nicole?”
“You remember Nicole. We went to her going-away party.” “Oh, yeah. I thought she moved to New York.”
“She did. And now she’s back.” A pause. “She wants me to meet her on Thursday … Thursday night after rehearsal.”
I don’t know what aroused my suspicion. Was it the way Kathy was looking in my direction but not making eye contact? I sensed she was lying. I didn’t say anything. Neither did she. She disappeared from the door. I
could hear her in the bathroom, spitting out the toothpaste and rinsing her mouth.
Perhaps there was nothing to it. Perhaps it was entirely innocent and Kathy really was going to meet Nicole on Thursday.
Only one way to find out.