I am the mistress. See me lurk in the near dark. See that man walking into the suburban dollhouse—the guy in the good suit with the well-trimmed beard that is softer than you can imagine—he used to be mine.
He hasn't seen me yet. I’m parked a half block down the street. If he were to look this way though he would recognize me. I'm not in a wig or dressed in cat burglar black, head tucked into a balaclava. I'm in that blue dress he likes. The gun, a Beretta subcompact (a gift from a different boyfriend) is in my purse. The only concessions I've made to my task are the kitten heels I'm wearing and they have bows on the back. I check my lipstick and hair in the visor mirror and smile. If I get caught, I'm gonna look good for my mugshot.
See the mistress kill time by swiping left on the dating app she met him on. I see men hugging women in their profile pics. Couples looking for thirds. Men writing about wanting a long-term relationship but still listing casual sex under wants.
Left Left Left
Mr. Adulterer's profile had none of these things. There were only two pictures of him, each showed off his sweet smile and intense gaze. I got chills looking at his picture.
You're beautiful, he wrote to me. Gorgeous lips. I would like to do things to you. But first, you should let me buy you dinner.
So I did. Then I let him take me to his hotel room where he unzipped my blue dress then contorted my body in all the best ways. He is a talker and it was how he spoke to me, his voice low and smooth, that did me in. I felt the reverberation of his voice in me for days after.
He severed contact with me three weeks ago.
It's full dark now. His street is empty. All the luxury vehicles snug in their garages. Teacup dogs and the wives who own them, all drugged for the night. Often we met at his house. Glorious afternoons spent in each other’s company thrilled by the possibility his neighbors might see us. Sometimes we met in hotel rooms on the Strip. Rarely, we met at my apartment downtown. He didn’t like my place. “It’s too. . .something.” He meant it was too me. All my dresses and heels and pinup-girl style. I should have known he was about to end things.
I am the mistress. See me make to his house, peek through the windows and gaze into darkened rooms. His is a dollhouse of perfection. Everything just so. But a doll is missing. Where is his Mrs? I wonder if she’s left him. She did sound upset when I called her this morning. Upset but not surprised. All that matters is that he’s home alone right now.
The house doesn’t have an alarm but it does have a broken lock on the sliding glass door. He didn’t fix the lock because his wife nagged him about it. “As soon as she stops, I’ll fix it. Fifteen years of marriage, you’d think she’d know me. She doesn’t get me at all, baby. Not like you do.” Then he pushed me to my knees. Mr. Adulterer likes his mistress on her knees. I wonder how much time the Doll has spent on her knees in her perfectly appointed home. Did the cold seeping up from the kitchen floor tiles make her knees ache like it had mine?
I wonder how he will look on his knees.
I am the mistress. See me move silently from room to room on a path of artfully strewn rugs. I loop the kitchen twice and run fingers down the marble counters. I caress the stainless steel appliances. I peek at the laundry room. I wonder about the stack of half folded towels. I decide the Doll has left him. I nearly giggle but refrain. I wonder what he will say when he sees me.
I stop in the dining room and admire the cherry wood table with its eight place settings. Hundreds of dinners were eaten here while Mr. and Mrs. feigned happiness. I wonder how long he was married before he stopped being happy with her. I wonder if it was longer than the four months it took for him to get bored with me.
I hear a noise and press myself against the china cabinet, purse clutched to my chest. I hold my breath and listen. Again the sound. Panting? Like someone exercising, maybe? Mr. Adulterer suddenly worried about the extra pounds? Or perhaps he’s found a new playmate. I think of his last email to me after I begged to know why we were over. He wrote, It was just sex, baby, and you looked like you could use the attention.
I can’t wait to give him some attention.
I pull the Beretta and move quickly into the living room. The noise stops and so do I. It’s dark except for the television, which is on but muted. The back of his favorite chair is in front of me. His hand dangles off one side. I step onto the hardwood floor. My kitten heels tap-tap-tap as I walk around the chair but he doesn’t say a thing.
“Hello, love,” I croon as I walk around the chair then stop. She rises from her knees leaving the knife protruding from his belly.
I am the mistress, come face to face with the Mrs. The television bathes us in awful light. She is speckled with blood from pale face to bare feet. Her ballerina bun is perfectly messy. She folds her arms over her chest.
“You won’t need that,” she says eyeing my gun.
I look at him. If I ignore the blood, he looks like he’s sleeping. I wonder why I don’t I feel sad. “I guess not,” I say.
She reaches out and pats my bare shoulder, her fingers still slick with blood. “Let’s have a drink.”