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He grunted in reply.
"I wanted to pay the bills yesterday."
"It's your month," I said.
He looked at me, not comprehending.
"So?" he snarled.
"I went on your computer to get the files."
His confusion was quickly overwhelmed by a look of surprise. His eyes widened and his mouth fell open. He stood up and the book fell from his lap, landing with a thud on the floor.
"You were spying on me!"
The words hit like a bomb, although by the time I finally saw his mouth form each word, it felt as if I was first filtering the sentence through some other brain to absorb it better.
"I wasn't spying on you, I wanted to do something nice for you since you've been feeling so bad and-"
"You were spying on me!" Then, as suddenly as his shock had appeared, it fell off his face. "I'm not gay, if that's what you're thinking."
"Then why do you have gay photos and email on your computer?"
He paused, pursed his lips, and took a breath.
"I think I have to explain my attraction to men."
I slumped into my chair. I watched Michael move his mouth, I caught a few words, but he might as well have been speaking Portuguese. I didn't know what to do with my hands, so I rested them on my lap and stared at the floor.
"Say something," he told me, and grabbed my hands.
"But why?" I managed to say.
Why what? That was a good question.
Why didn't you tell me?
Why do you feel this way?
Why did you marry me?
Why are we running a business together?
Why are we together?
I chose the most obvious: "Why didn't you tell me you were gay?"
"I'm not gay," he spat.
Then what? It didn't make sense. If he was married and called himself straight, why did he have gay porn on his computer? What else is there?
"Say something," he commanded.
I couldn't think of anything. "Why didn't you tell me?" This time it came in a whisper.
He released my hands and sat back on the floor. "I knew you were going to say that," he said. "When are you going to realize that it's not all about you or what I do to you? Can't you see that this is my issue, it's an issue I've been fighting all my life, and that I'm having enough trouble dealing with it without you getting all defensive and blaming me for it?"
Of course he'd turn it around. "But just when did you know?" I listened to myself as I slowly and methodically spoke each word in a disembodied voice that trembled with calm.
"A long time ago," he said after a pause. "Before we met." Another, longer pause. "In high school."
He then explained that he'd had relationships with men all through college but even then he didn't consider himself to be gay. He said that I was the first woman he'd been involved with and he thought that by getting married and settling down, his attraction to men would disappear.
He reached for my hands again, but this time I didn't offer them, instead keeping my arms close to my side. "You're the only woman I've ever wanted, and even though I've treated you horribly lately, I'm still wildly attracted to you. In fact, I couldn't imagine having sex with any other woman." He looked up into my face while I kept my eyes on the floor.