Killing Your Best Friend’s Wife

Who would have thought I’d agree to this…I never would have. I mean, if you’d asked me yesterday if I’d help my best friend kill his wife I’d probably have laughed, or given you that “are you crazy” look, or said you’d had enough to drink, or something. I mean, I definitely would not have said “yes, of course, what are best friends for?” But that’s essentially what was happening. Or at least that’s what my friend thought was happening.

See, he’d married her when we were all still kids. They didn’t hardly know who they thought they’d be, not to mention who they’d actually be. None of us did. I knew I wanted to be a nurse, in the ER if I played my cards right, but them? He just wanted to work a local job that’d let him have weekends off and she just wanted to be married with kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m a feminist, after all. If she wants to spend her life raising good humans, good for her. No, great for her. The world needs good humans.

The problem was, none of us got it right. At least not for ourselves. I was the one who ended up at home trying and some might say failing to raise good humans, while she pretended not to be jealous and went back to school for a degree. Her husband was the only one who came close, he got a job where he was home weekends. The rest of the time he was gone though. Times were tough and he was able to get a job at the mines which meant being in another state all week long, sleeping in a cheap hotel at first and later renting an apartment with a fellow mine worker. All they did there was sleep, so you can only imagine the kind of place he got.

Still, I thought we were all mostly happy. I mean, who is really happy happy? Nobody. But we were mostly happy. She’d come over during the week and help me make dinner or fold laundry and I’d help drill her on legal stuff that I didn’t understand at all, but didn’t need to as long as I could read and tell her she was right or wrong when quizzing her. He came home on weekends and even though we were still technically best friends, I hardly ever saw him because he tended to drink and sleep for two days before heading back to the mine. We were all just making due.

I tried to talk to her once about the babies. The lack of babies. It’s a tough thing to bring up, I’ll tell ya. No one wants to talk about miscarriage, and I should know cause I had one too. But having one miscarriage in a sea of living babies is so different than several miscarriages in a ocean of emptiness. And not to say her hurting was worse than mine, pain isn’t a competition, it’s just to say that not everyone can talk about things and not everyone who can talk about things can find someone to listen. I tried to be both the talker and the listener, but it seems she wasn’t either one, and that was that.

But how’d we get to me agreeing to kill her, you ask. It’s a good question. I wish it was a simple one, and maybe it is. Maybe it’s as simple as she knew about my first baby, the one after the miscarriage, the only one my husband knew about. Not the miscarriage I mean, my husband never knew about that. I’m talking about the baby. The first baby. She knew about it, and he didn’t. And you wouldn’t think that would matter much this late in the game with five additional babies, but it does matter, because he’d just threatened to divorce me, again. And this time I was afraid he’d actually do it, and if he did, how was I going to support these babies? And especially how if she told him the first one wasn’t even his?

At first he wouldn’t believe her, wouldn’t want to. But then all those times where he’d look at me and say how the baby looked just like me and why wasn’t there any of him in there? And then he’d think about the other babies and how they all look like more of a mix of us. I mean sure that second baby looks just exactly like him, but she has my ears. And that third baby looks exactly like me, but she has his eyes. And yes, that third baby looks like our genes were thrown in a blender, the puree poured into a baby-mold, so much of both of us it’s hard to see the child as her own person. But see, that’s the thing, too, isn’t it. They’re all girls, those other babies, the ones that are his. But not that first one.

“Daddy’s” pride and joy, the boy, the first. He wouldn’t want to believe the child wasn’t his, but he would. Just give him a few days. And then if he called in paternity testing I’d be done. There’s no way I could get support for that baby, and I’d need support. I didn’t have a nursing degree like I’d like, I didn’t have rich parents to fall back on, I didn’t have a husband…or at least I wouldn’t anymore. I’d need that support. For all of ’em. For a little while anyway.

The question of why I would help is therefore pretty straight forward. She caught me getting re-pregnant with the UPS man one day, one day about three days after the miscarriage, a day when I was so exhausted by the loss, so unable to figure out how to tell my husband about it when he returned from his trip back to his grandma’s funeral, a trip I should have been on but I hadn’t exactly been feeling well before the miscarriage, and he hadn’t wanted to risk me getting worse and losing the baby. That’s rich. I lost the baby anyway, didn’t I. And then there I was trying, in my hormonal haze to “fix” the situtation.

I swear if that first and only boy wasn’t the very best kid I ever made I’d regret the whole damn thing. But I can’t. And none of that’s really important. The thing you ought to be asking me is why the devil did my best friend want to kill his wife anyway?

This #writethirtyminutes session was prompted very loosely from “A Year of Writing Prompts” by Writer’s Digest, available here

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