“So I suppose you want to ask me why I killed her?”
The whistle of the tea kettle broke our unwavering silence. Without answering the question I shove back my chair and made haste to the stove top. Two perfect tea cups rested alongside the counter top. Their blue flowers dancing in the sunlight. When Mary had asked to come over for tea this was not the conversation I was expecting us to have.
“Would you like sugar or cream with the tea?” I stutter. Focusing intently on the burning liquid pouring into the two cups.
I had to remain calm, cool, and collected. As if the thought of my life long best friend being involved with a murder didn’t bother me what so ever. Just casual tea time talk. She giggles...I suppose that's an interesting reaction. Carefully, I make my way back to the table. This conversation, there was no way I could get out of it now. Before my butterfingers could set down the cup she had already stolen it from my hands. Shit, this is not me being calm and collected. I scoot back in my chair, sneak a sip of tea, ignoring the fact it may or may not have burned the roof of my mouth. Maybe cocktails would have been the better drink of choice.
“Max?” Mary asks. It had suddenly dawned on me we had both not said a word in over three minutes. It also hit me that I haven't a clue where those three minutes just went.
“Yes.” I responded. “I would now like to know why you killed her.”
No, I take that back, maybe I wasn't ready to know.
She smiles. A smile that makes your stomach turn. Especially in the presence of a so called “Murderer”. Yet, she was Mary. Your best friend Mary! She wouldn't hurt you. Right?
“It's actually quite a funny story…” hm, perhaps I was wrong. Mary, she will hurt you and you're an absolute psychopath for not leaving when you had the chance. “You remember Rebecca? Right? She went to that nice seafood restaurant with us…sat next to Jim. Ditzy.. Fake blonde.”
I nod, going back in for another deadly hot sip of tea just to buy me time to think of something to say. “Yes, I remember. Not very nice of you to stereotype like that, Yeah? Especially as a soul eating ginger like yourself.” I had to crack a joke. Something, just so I didn't feel like I was internally suffocating.
There was that smile again.
“Well, as you know she has been Jims college for a while. You might also know Jim tends to work late. I’m not stupid. I let him have his fun. I had mine..his brother is actually a lot of fun.”
For a split second I let my guard down, my jaw dropping like I was one of those 80’s cartoon characters. Nope, I will not react. Not yet at least. Jim and Mary had been together for almost 11 years now. Met in law school. Perfect house. Beautiful couple, but as a single 32 year old with three cats I never let that lifestyle swoon me. Not just in fear that my husbands college would become his mistress and I…her murderer, would be confesing my sins at a tea time lunch with my friend.
She continues. “So, we went to that dinner about two weeks ago now. Everything was fine, we did our own things, went on like we always did. Felt pretty nice actually. Maybe, things would have even stayed nice but here is the thing..” She leans closer towards me. How was she so calm right now? Did I leave the stove on? Gosh, why is it so hot in here? “They got lazy. His business meetings actually turned into overnight stays at hotels he hasn’t even bothered to take me to!”
“So you killed her because of an overpriced hotel stay?” I ask. A small ugh leaves her pail lips as she slouches back into her chair. Her eyes rolling amost completely to the back of her head.
You know, neither of us had touched much of this tea.
“Max, you are not getting the point.” Obviously, I thought. I dont think I'll ever get the point. “Men you marry will always lose interest. They might find a mouse to play with. All fun and games, but, you must not let this mouse replace you. The minute they start to receive the better end of the stick it's no longer fun and just a competitive game old wives are destined to lose.”
“Thank you for giving every example as to why I’m still without a husband.” I mock. Her whoa is me attitude was slowly starting to get under my skin.
She had always been the more perfect one. The one who had her life together. The one everyone wants to be. It’s always the perfect looking houses that have the most secrets inside.
“You really think you're funny today don’t you? I never wanted to hurt anyone, but I couldn't let her win. Two nights ago, I came home from my Saturday yoga class and yes it was probably a little earlier than usual. Low and behold, mousy’s car was in the driveway. She also happened to be in my bed..” her eyes began to fill with rage in a way I had never seen before. A blue ocean slowly filling with storm clouds.
I felt myself tighten my hands around the tea cup. As if all this energy was slowly radiating into me. I could feel her pain, her anger, maybe even a little bit of joy. This did seem like a game to her. She was the lion and Rebecca was the mouse. In order to win she’d have to be one tough mouse.
“As I walked into the house I grabbed a knife out of the kitchen…slowly made my way to the bedroom. The door was open. Her body laid in our bed…naked…asleep. Sprawled out so beautifully. So peaceful. Like she had no cares in the world.” Mary began to run her fingers over the table top. Drawing Rebecca’s body, playing it all back in her head.
All the walls began to close in on me. Every ounce of safety or comfort I had felt moments before excreted itself from my soul.
“Jim was in the shower…in one quick moment all I could see was red. Before I knew it the kitchen knife was in her throat and her head face down in the pillow”
Why wasn’t my body moving? Why wasn’t I running! My brain screamed, Max! Get out! Call the police! Get out! But I couldn’t.
“ Don’t worry though, hun.” She assures me “They will all think it’s him. Everything will point to him. An affair gone wrong.” She looks up at me. Twisted..demonic. Nothing I had seen before. “All I have left to take care of is my trail…”
In the blink of an eye my body was slammed against the floor. The perfect pieces of the tea cup shattering around me. Above all everything began to feel as if I was burning. The feeling of drowning was all too real compared to moments before. I look up, deep into the blue ocean that was destroying my very existence.
“I’m so sorry, Maxey.” I watch as she rips the piece of now red stained teacup from my windpipe. Gently placing it into my hand. “I’m just doing what needs to be done.”
She kisses my head. My last goodbye.
“Thank you so much for inviting me over for tea.”