The Man in 3B
were pouring down my cheeks onto the cleavage that my husband apparently found so unappealing. I could see now that there was no pleasing him. He didn’t want me. My man wanted a divorce. I was hurt, embarrassed, and pissed the fuck off all at the same time, a mix of emotions like a tornado brewing inside of me.
    “I know you’re hurting,” Avery said. “I’m hurting too. As a matter of fact, the other day, on my actual birthday, I was honestly about to commit suicide.”
    “Then you should have had the balls to do it,” I said even though I doubted it was true. “You would have saved me the trouble of having to clean up your blood and brain matter from my living room floor.” On that note, I resumed my trek to the bedroom to retrieve my gun.
    “No, Connie, don’t! Wait!” he pleaded, once again grabbing my arms.
    “Get off of me!” I pushed away from him so forcefully that he almost toppled over. My own strength surprised me—and scared me a little. I realized that if I didn’t get myself under control, things could turn out very badly for me. God knows the neighbors had probably already heard the commotion and called the police.
    Squeezing my eyes shut, I took a few deep breaths and counted to five, then opened my eyes and pointed to the door. “Go,” I said as calmly as I could. “Get the fuck out of my house.”
    He looked surprised. I guess he hadn’t expected things to go quitelike this. Can’t say I blamed him, considering how long I’d been taking his shit without any complaint.
    “Well, can I at least get some of my shit?” he asked.
    I turned my back on him and walked toward the kitchen. “Get your shit and get out of my house. I don’t ever wanna see you again.”
    I stayed in the kitchen, slamming around pots and pans as I thought about all the disrespect I’d suffered over the years. And then the final indignity of announcing he wanted a divorce right after he busted a nut! Oh, I was fuming—until I heard the door slam as Avery walked out.
    That sound echoed in my head like a gunshot, replacing my anger with fear. What the hell had just happened? I looked down at my body, at the extra rolls of flesh around my middle that Avery had convinced me were so unappealing. Suddenly I wondered what other man would ever want me?
    I ran to the bedroom and what I saw made my heart drop. The closet door was open and Avery’s side was totally empty. Every dresser drawer was hanging out, and there was nothing in them. All of Avery’s clothes were gone. This fool was serious!
    I threw on a robe and bolted out of the apartment, down the stairway, calling out, “Avery! Avery, come back!”
    Outside on the stoop, I looked frantically up and down the street. There was no sign of Avery or his car. Tears welled up in my eyes again, but this time there was no rage. It was pure sadness.
    What have I done? How could I let my man walk out of my life? I’ve got to get him back.
    “Connie?”
    I turned around to see Daryl standing there, looking very concerned.
    “Everything all right?” he asked. “I heard you yelling.”
    All the tension of the night caught up with me, and I suddenly felt exhausted. I pulled my robe tighter around me and sat down on the stoop. “Have you seen my husband?” I asked pitifully.
    “Yeah, I met him about an hour ago when he was going in your apartment.” He sat down beside me. “Is everything okay?”
    I couldn’t help it. I broke down and let the tears flow. “He left me,”I blubbered. “Avery wants a divorce. I can’t believe my life has come to this.”
    “Shhh. Don’t worry, Connie. These things have a way of working themselves out. I promise.” He put his arm around me and rocked me as I cried on his shoulder.
    That little bit of kindness meant more to me than he could ever know.

Krystal
14
    “Damn, Daryl, why are you doing this to me?” I moaned, hitting my fist against the wall in frustration. Was it possible to want someone and hate him all at the same

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