She sneered. “No.”
“Why do I smell it on you?” He glared at her. She hated when Ben looked at her that way.
“You’ve been drinking a lot lately,” he said. “Doesn’t your ‘religion’ forbid that? I thought I heard Joseph talking about that just the other day when he was over here.”
“It’s one of the precepts, yes,” she said. “But it’s not about never doing it. It’s about not abusing it.”
“I think that getting drunk over dinner would qualify,” he said. He gave her that look again. That look that reminded her that, in his eyes, he was the rational one and she was just a foolish girl.
“Please,” she said. “You’ve known me for ten years now. Am I the kind of person to get drunk over dinner? Have you ever known me to do that?”
“I’m not quite sure who you are anymore,” he said. “I used to think I knew you better than I knew anyone.” He rested his hand on the counter as if not sure what to do with it.
Whatever you’ve got to say, just say it, she thought. She wondered if Ben knew the truth. She wasn’t drunk, just in love and sexually frustrated. A little wine helped her with both those things. Anne needed to forget everything that happened that day.
“I’m wondering what’s going on with you,” he said. “I wonder what’s going on with us. You’ve been distant lately and I’m not sure why. I know you wish I supported you more with your Buddhism, but I don’t really know how.”
She stared at the empty glass and tried to remember how much wine was left in the bottle. If I open a new one, he’ll freak, she thought. “What are you saying?” she said. “You don’t want me to go to the center anymore? You don’t want me to meditate anymore?”
“That’s not what I’m saying. I think we need a break. I’m going to take some time off work next week and head to New York. See some old friends there and spend some time alone,” he said. “I need to think about some things.”
“What the fuck does that mean? What do you need to think about?” she said.
“I need to think about what I want to do with my life,” Ben said. “In a way, you’re responsible. I mean, I do respect that you have taken some time to reconsider things and find a new path for yourself. I’m thinking I need to do the same thing.”
“What do you mean?” she said.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Things are just different lately.”
“I thought meditation would mellow you out,” Ben said. “Settle you more. But it’s just made you more agitated. I don’t even know who you are.”
So things get tough and you run away, she thought.
Anne already pictured Ben being gone and Joseph fucking her on the floor of the kitchen. Anne turned her attention to Ben’s shoes so Ben couldn’t look her in the eye. She felt a smile come to her face and felt herself getting damp.
“So you want to go away for a while? I don’t think that’s such a bad idea,” she said. “We haven’t spent more than a day apart in years. Maybe a week or so apart will help us.” She reached in the cabinet for a bottle of Merlot.
“What are you doing?” he said.
“I’m having a glass of wine,” she said. “I’m allowed. I think I’m over twenty-one.”
He sighed and turned away. Fuck, she thought. I feel weird drinking around Joseph and now Ben’s making me feel like a fucking drunk. As if me having a glass of wine at night is what he should be worrying about. If he only knew I was drinking to forget about fucking another man. She poured the wine and thought about what Joseph told her about his alcoholism. Anne knew he would understand.
You’re the only one who gets me, Joseph. And you’re the only one I want. She realized that she had told her therapist a lie the last time Anne saw her. She wasn’t in love with two men. It was just the one.
I’m so fucked, she thought.