Killing Her Softly

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He had made the decision. The decision to break off the relationship with her. He was going to have this last little fling and then it was going to be over. He could swing it. He knew how to manage it and no one had to be the wiser. He had convinced her that his wife wore the pants in his family. That she controlled him and everything he did. It had taken an elaborate story but she had bought it. He knew her well enough to tell. She was a gentle soul and she loved him. She’d believe anything he told her. He’d convinced her that he loved her. Anyway, he knew he would not be able to have sex with her much longer. He was flirting with impotence. He wasn’t mature enough to realize she didn’t care about that. He did.

He didn’t want to take the chance of losing his marriage. Not because he loved his wife. But because his wife came from a wealthy family. They had the money to travel and play at whatever they wanted. He didn’t want to screw that up just for a meaningless affair. He just got involved in this affair for a thrill anyway. The thrill was going away so he had to get out of it. He laughed to himself. He got bored easily. He had to put her in her place so she wouldn’t tell anyone, like his wife. She wasn’t stupid, even though she was trusting. He had to make his story complicated so she wouldn’t figure it out.

What he didn’t know is that the girl already knew something was wrong between them. He was a heavy drinker and he had let some things slip when he got drunk. He was also bipolar. Sometimes, he thought he was thinking to himself, only he was thinking out loud and the girl heard him talking to himself. She was already suspicious before she left him at the airport that last time. He was in a manic period and was drinking more than usual so he could sleep. The mania was worse than the girl had ever seen. The mental illness had gotten worse since she had last seen him. She never could have guessed the lengths he would go to in order to get rid of her. She never would have guessed he would try to get rid of her at all. They had seen each other for 35 years, even if it had been off and on.

The man thought he had convinced the girl his wife was a mean bitch. A dictatorial, manipulative woman who controlled him completely. He’d told her that the wife was a computer hacker, that she would ruin her life if she found out about them. He’d forgotten that the girl had known him when he’d been with other women and that he’d never be with anyone like that. If anyone was controlling, it would be him. She knew he’d be sneaky about it.

The girl already knew he was a liar. Even during their current short relationship, he contradicted himself dozens of times. The mental illness kept him from realizing it as did the liquor. The girl remembered every single instance. He first said that he had paid one of his ex-wives off with $250,000. The next day, it became $500,000. Apparently, he didn’t think she had a memory either. She remembered it all. Her brain had not been pickled in liquor and ruined by uncontrolled bipolar disease.

That did not mean that the girl was prepared for what happened next. She had never known him to be cruel. Troubled, yes. A pathological liar, yes. Cruel, no. The years had indeed changed him.

It happened three days after they parted the last time. He was particularly sweet that day, professing his undying love. Over and over and over. Then, suddenly, the girl got a message supposedly from his wife saying that he had been found out and threatening her. It took her a little while to think the whole thing through. To realize that the message from his wife was really a message from him. His cowardly way out of the relationship. At first, she was shattered. It took weeks for her to think straight. She had trusted him in spite of herself. Psychopaths can be quite convincing because they believe their own lies.

He cut off her access to him all the while blaming his wife. At first, all she wanted was an explanation but she couldn’t get that. Slowly, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall together for her. He thought he was very smart but he had made some fundamental mistakes. Gradually, she figured out each mistake he had made. She started to realize that his wife probably did not even know he had an affair. He had ended it before she found out but in the most horrible way, the cruelest way, possible. In his very sick bipolar mind, he had to play out an elaborate scenario and hurt the girl badly.

Looking back, the girl shook her head. All he had to do was tell her that the affair was not working for him. He knew that she would never want someone who didn’t want her. She would have just left and he would never have heard from her again. It would have been so much simpler. He even needed the thrill of hurting her. In the process, he probably caused her to never be able to trust again. Cruel and psychopathic people do not care about those things. They care only about themselves.*

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*This is an excerpt from a larger body of work.

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