‘I’m leaving,’ said Nathan to his wife.
‘Oh,’ said Ash. ‘Where to, love?’
The children had long gone to sleep and it was just the two of them in the kitchen. Ash inspected a dinner plate before stacking it on the rack beside the sink.
Nathan cradled a coffee mug between his palms. ‘I’m leaving you. Do you understand?’
‘Yes,’ she said. ‘Have you taken your insulin? You ate a lot this evening.’
‘Yes, I have! That’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.’ Nathan tried another approach. ‘I want a divorce.’
‘You said that,’ said Ash scrubbing at a pot.
‘It doesn’t need to be difficult,’ he interrupted. Nathan had started to sweat, heart pounding as it fought to stamp down a rush of adrenaline. ‘This has been coming for a while now so you can’t be surprised. Don’t worry, I’ve thought it out. You can keep the kids. I’ll see them on weekends.’
Receiving no reaction, Nathan sagged into himself. Despite his worries and late night musings, it was going surprisingly well. Perhaps, as Sarah had suggested after a quick go at it in the back of his car, the feeling was mutual. Their relationship had been on the rocks for years and now that he’d found someone else there was little reason to keep pretending.
‘I’m not worried, love’ said Ash turning to give her husband a smile.
‘Well, good.’ Nathan drained the last dregs of his coffee. ‘I’ll sleep on the couch for now. We can sort out who gets what later. You should probably see that you get a lawyer.’
‘If you say so.’ Ash turned to face her husband and frowned. She raised a damp hand to feel at his forehead. ‘You don’t look so well, love.’
Nathan gave a sigh and looked at her sadly. ‘I’m tired. I think I’ll have a lie down.’
‘Alright. I don’t mind if you take the bed,’ said Ash. ‘I’ll sleep in the Mandy’s bed tonight. It’ll be a sleep over of sorts.’
‘Really?’ asked Nathan. ‘You’re taking this well. I’m proud of you.’
Mumbling a goodnight, Nathan stumbled his way upstairs. Ash watched him go. Turning back to the dishes, she ran her hands along the bottom of the sink to feel if she’d missed something. One by one, she pulled out the last few items and left them to dry beside the rest. A fork, a water bottle lid and an empty vial of insulin.