“No. Wrong. You’re not crazy, and you do love me; that’s the point.”
She got to her feet and backed away from him, her eyes flashing. “But I don’t,” she said. “In fact I loathe the sight of you. In fact if you come any closer, if you touch me or anything I think I’ll scream.”
Then he did touch her, saying, “Oh baby, lis-” and she did scream.
It was plainly a false scream, done while she looked coldly into his eyes, but it was high, shrill, and load enough to shake the house. When the noise of it was over he said:
“God damn you. God damn all your snotty, hateful little - Come here, God damn it - “
She switched nimbly past him and pulled a straight chair around to block his path; he grabbed it and slung it against the wall and one of its legs broke off.
“And what’re you going to do now?” she taunted him. “Are you going to hit me? To show how much you love me?”
“No.” All at once he felt massively strong. “Oh, no. don’t worry. I couldn’t be bothered. You’re not worth the trouble it’d take to hit you. You’re not worth the powder it’d take to blow you up. You’re an empty -” He was aware, as his voice filled out, of a sense of luxurious freedom because the children weren’t here. Nobody was here, and nobody was coming; they had this whole reverberating house to themselves. “You’re an empty, hollow fucking shell of a woman…” It was the first opportunity for a wide-open, all-out fight they’d had in months, and he made the most of it, stalking and circling her as he shouted, trembling and gasping for breath. “What the hell are you living in my house for, if you hate me so much? Huh? Will you answer me that? What the hell are you carrying my child for?” Like John Givings, he pointed at her belly. “Why the hell didn’t you get rid of it, when you had the chance? Because listen. Listen: I got news for you.” The great pressure that began to be eased inside of him now, as he slowly and quietly intoned his next words, made it seem that this was a cleaner breakthrough into truth than any he had ever made before: “I wish to God you’d done it.”