"Once the unfaithful husband got started on his confessions, there was no stopping him, no stopping him at all, so he simply told her that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with the other woman. He had even packed his suitcase, he said. His wife cried and cried and all she could say, the only question she could think of, was: When on earth did you pack your suitcase?
Now was this a question she should have asked? Dear God in heaven, why people want to hurt themselves so much? says Val Bryn, and continues her story:
My suitcase, said the unfaithful husband, and now I imagine that he might have given a little smile. I packed my suitcase ten years ago, honey, exactly four months after we got married. Or rather: I started packing it then. Little by little, you understand. Every time you spread out on the couch with that big ugly sweater that you liked so much and hardly bothered to open your mouth to order me around, practically burping out your commands, could you please get me a glass of milk, could you please get me an apple, could you please get me a bowl of chips. Or all those times you would put your arms around my neck when I was sitting in my own quiet world, reading a book, listening to music or just looking out the window, put your arms around my neck and whisper what are you thinking, what are you thinking? And all those times I forced myself to come up with an answer that would satisfy you, I’m thinking about our summer vacation and what a good time we had at the movies last week or how pretty you look in that dress or maybe we should paint the kitchen yellow soon because you were always redecorating, were never pleased; and every time you ate prune; who the hell eat prunes, gobbles down prune after prune the way you do, smacking your lips! So you see, any little thing like that, some detail or other, I’d add another piece of clothing to my suitcase. A pair of boxer shorts, a shirt, a sock, another sock, a silk tie, an undershirt… The worse your… what shall I say? The worse your offence was… the bigger or finer the piece of clothing I packed. If you coughed all night long, the way you sometimes do, I packed a pullover sweater. For every “what are you thinking about” a packed a tie. For every prune a sock. If you forced me to fuck you, as you, in your own way of course, force me to fuck you, I packed linen shirts. And now and then, when I sensed the smell of you on my fingers, I might decide to pack a whole suit."
[Before You Sleep by Linn Ullmann]