I took her other hand. “I knew it the fucking minute I saw you in that stupid bar with your cousin. You are . . . a morethan person, Anne. Goddammit. You are more than a best friend and a wife, you’re more than beautiful, and if I hurt you it’s maybe because I’ve always known and been ashamed of the fact that I am less than you, and always have been.”
Her chin trembled. In my hands, her skin was cold. “I will do whatever it takes to prove to you that it will never happen again.”
She bit her lip hard as a tear fell down her cheek. For the first time since I’d reached for her, she squeezed my hand back. “But what do you do about the fact that it happened? What do you do about that?”
I started to cry. “What do I do?” I said, dropping her hands. “What do I do? I don’t know what to do. I did it. I can’t make you love me back.”
“But I do love you,” she cried. “But I can’t get past it! I can’t! I’m so angry and I’m so sad and I’m embarrassed and ashamed and I’m furious at you. I hate you, and at the same time I just want to go back. And I don’t know what to do either,” she said. “I just don’t.”
I looked up at the sky and the buildings and the gargoyles and the sculptures. I looked out at the pyramid and the stupid, spinning carousel in the park beyond. And beyond that, beauty. More beauty everywhere. Lights and boulevards and thoroughfares and people going places and people coming back. And it was sitting there in a place that had been a safe place for us, a place that had always been calming and right, that I realized that if I really loved her, I had to let the decision to stay with me be hers.