“La Verita”

It was June the thirteenth, the 7th year mark of our marriage, rather, my marriage as for the last year or so I had felt like I was the only one trying to save it. Lise had delved into a depression of some sort and had never shown a spark of bliss in her deep green eyes for the past whole year. She was suicidal, too, eventhough she never attempted or spoken of it. I had memories of six wonderful years which she seemed to have no recollection of. For her, nothing seemed to matter anymore. Sometimes I even caught her looking at me with concentrated distaste. It appeared to me that I was relocated out of heart and my last chance to fix something,  anything was our 7th wedding anniversary. I persuaded her for one last meal at the very same restaurant where we had first met.
“La verita” was a small, clean family restaurant where you didn’t have to spend a fortune for a decent meal. It could accommodate about 40 people when it was packed and almost always it was full. It was a good idea to book a table well in advance to avoid an obvious surprise of overcrowd. And that was exactly what I had done. Lise unexpectedly accepted my offer to eat out one last time although I was sure that her intentions were completely different; she was planning a break up.

The restaurant was having one of its usual Fridays. Full of people and their endless chatter. Although we still lived together, Lise had insisted on joining me later. It had been half an hour of solidarity when she stepped in through the door. It was like magic unleashed into an unsuspecting, ordinary world. Her crimson dress flickered like a dying candle as she moved, flailing her straight raven hair like a cuckoo clock’s pendulum  from one side to the other. Her smooth white skin glimmered like some fake vampire’s shell. Inside that skin, there was a bundled up harmony of agony and beauty. She smiled and I melted down as she sat down after we greeted each other. I was so stoned by the sight of her that I didn’t even pull out her chair like a gentleman would do. Like I would always do. We ordered blueberry wine as starters and started staring at each other like complete strangers with, out of the ordinary eye contact. Nevertheless, her melancholy took over after the initial moments and a couple of sips of wine. Tears had formed ready to race down her cheeks and she got up and excused herself to the bathroom. A lump formed in my throat as I realized that it was more desperation than hope in her last look at me.
It had been nearly twenty minutes and she hadn’t returned so I decided to check upon her. The toilets were at the back of the restaurant and were accessible through swinging doors which first led to the ladies’ and further down to the mens’ room. The withered peeling off wallpaper didn’t quite match the chic decoration of the dining area. But hey, the food was good and the place was special. I stood in front of the door like a lost puppy, not knowing what to do. There were a couple of ladies queued up, looking desperate. Anyone could tell, that they were going to do more than just renew their makeups once they were inside. Lise had to have been still inside,  occupying the toilet. At that instance,  I remembered that “La Verita” had at least three toilet seats in each bathroom (I knew the ladies’ room from our first visit here with Lise. Yes, I know I am not a lady but we had used it differently back then. ) I waited impatiently for a minute or two, until a couple of more ladies lengthened the queue. Not wanting to seem any more weirder, I made my way to the gents and once inside just stared at the mirror with a worrying look. A few moments later, I got out and headed back to the food area. The corridor was still packed with ladies, but staying there wouldn’t have helped. When I made it to the dining area, I was relieved as Lise was back, sitting at our table with a big nestled smile on her face.The long-lost sparks in her eyes were back. Her green eyes seemed to have gone lighter in colour when they sparkled; A distant memory I hadn’t had for a very long time. I nearly threw myself onto my chair,  not wanting to miss any second of her blissful state. Of my bliss.The next few moments , I was in heaven, she smiled extensively, held my hand, laughed at my stupid jokes and even played footsie under the table.

Something was off in her touches, but I didn’t care as long as she kept skin contact she was touching me more passionately than ever. I could feel her nails dip into my skin, tearing thin strips of flesh. The best form of pain. Even when she touched my legs with her barefeet. She hadn’t had time to go for mani and pedi but I couldn’t blame her for that, could I? It was a good feeling no matter how she touched me. There in one moment of uncontrollable overflow of emotions,  I wanted to rip her dress off and make with her right there on the table. She had to have the same thought as she grabbed my wrist and literally yanked me off the table. We were headed to the toilets among the disturbed looks of the restaurant customers. A quick glance towards the ladies room demonstrated that the situation inside was still the same.  This time there were angry knocks on the door and a few swear words from the ladies in the queue. Lise dragged me to the gents’ and we rushed inside a narrow toilet space and began kissing. Soon, we were half naked and the freezing toilet seat had already stolen the heat off my butt, making me hard…to concentrate. However, I didn’t care, we didn’t care, we had found ourselves in each other’s arms again. We kept going on although we heard other men came in through the outer door. I wasn’t going to be embarrassed, if Lise wasn’t. After long minutes of deep intimacy, we heard a shriek coming from a distance, it was definitely a woman. And then some hurriying footsteps followed by complete silence. A feeling of uneasiness started settling in me, though the more emotional one, Lise, seemed to be unaffected by these external disturbances. A few minutes later,  I heard a police siren as if it was signaling us to finish up. Despite Lise’s silent protests, we dressed up and got out. Luckily, the bathroom was empty now so we slipped out hand in hand and joined the crowd outside the ladies’ room. The door was ajar now and judging by the sounds coming from the inside, the police seemed to have been investigating. We didn’t stick out much. I just asked what had happened to an over curious looking obese man in a dark blue suit.
“Some lady slit her wrists. She’s dead. ” he spoke fast and turned away in order not to miss anything that might happen. I felt sad for the woman. If Lise managed to free herself from her depression and suicidal tendencies,  anyone could.
Since Lise didn’t want to stick around anymore, I paid a hefty sum for our no-order no-show dinner and the wine including a generous sum mainly to
cover up our little misbehaviour and we went home. We made love the rest of the night as if we were trying to compensate the non-sexual days of our lives. It felt like Lise had not only overcome her depression, but also upgraded her sex drives. She had become Lise 2.0.
The next morning, I woke up in a partially warm bed; Lise’s side was empty. On her pillow, there was a little note saying: “Thank you for the great night. Liz. ”
Apart from the childish, crooked lines that made the letters and the words, she had misspelled her name. And, that wasn’t her handwriting. “She must still be wasted. ” I thought as a feeling of uneasiness started taking over. I started waiting for her but the feeling inside me made sure of its presence as a lump in my throat gradually formed. The best way to wait her up and keep preoccupied was to switch on the TV and zap through channels of useless mind litter thrown to us. It was the local TV station’s morning news, and I encountered Lise when I least expected to see her. Her photograph was in the headlines with the subtitle; “Unidentified woman ends her life in a local restaurant’s bathroom. ”
The dents she had carved into my skin started itching like hell.

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