The Tires Squeaking

September 6, 2013 by Donald E  
Published in Marriage

Augusta maneuvers the car through the lanes of the parking
garage, the tires squeaking on the oily concrete, stops at the booth and
pays with money from my wallet. We pull out into the full glare of
sunlight and she turns on the car’s air conditioning and gestures to me
to roll my window up; the net effect is no better, maybe worse. “I don’t
get it,” she says.

letters from you in the mail. But she probably doesn’t think anything of
it. Given that you write about once a year on the average.”
That gets a rise out of her – a sidelong glance: Oh yeah?
“Twice,” she says.
“I stand corrected.”
“It’s this one,” she says, indicating a yellow VW wagon, past
middle age. She opens the back for me to put my bag in. Here she is
chauffeuring me, when I supposedly came out to help her. Is she
suffering and refusing to let it show? That would be like her – if I know
what she’s like anymore.
We get in the car and Augusta starts it up and puts it in reverse;
with her foot on the clutch she pauses and looks me in the eye. “So do
you still love her?” she says, and that’s the Augusta I remember. “I’m
still married to her,” I say. No point in being evasive if the other party
knows that’s what you are. But I can’t bring out the word No.
“Are you having an affair with someone?” She sounds as if
she’s taking a deposition; where will she decide to stop? But I didn’t
come here to avoid saying what matters.
“No.”
“Not right now, anyway,” she says.
“It’s not something I’m proud of. Especially lying to her. I
didn’t think it would come to that. I think she’s had a couple of affairs
herself. Not that that excuses anything. We try not to find out, is what
it comes down to.”
Augusta maneuvers the car through the lanes of the parking
garage, the tires squeaking on the oily concrete, stops at the booth and
pays with money from my wallet. We pull out into the full glare of
sunlight and she turns on the car’s air conditioning and gestures to me
to roll my window up; the net effect is no better, maybe worse. “I don’t
get it,” she says.
“What?”
“Your marriage.”
For a moment I wonder why we’re talking about me, if she’s
indulging me in a peculiar way. Maybe I’m putting on her the burden
of hospitality and this is her way of discharging it. Maybe it’s better
than talking about herself.
If it’s what she wants, it’s what I’m here for. But I still don’t
know what to tell her about my marriage. Can I sit here and say that I
still love Amy? “I think it’s the path of least resistance,” I say finally.
“Maybe there’s still something we have to do together.”
“Like what?”

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