After all, glitter gets everywhere.
by Penny Tailsup
My boyfriend hated glitter, that’s why I gave it up. I did it for him.
As beautiful as it is, a little glitter on date night can leave a week of evidence. After all, glitter gets everywhere. No matter how careful you are. So… I stopped using it.
As compromises go, I got off easy. Matt gave up smoking for me, I could give up glitter. My makeup never seemed quite as good without it, but I made do.
We’d been dating for almost two years and lived together. With our two-year anniversary coming up, I was sure he was going to propose.That’s the normal progression of things, isn’t it? You date, you move in together, you get married. I didn’t have any doubts about our relationship, things were going well.
At least, they were until I found the glitter.
By then, I’d been glitter-free for over a year… so I knew I wasn’t responsible for the coarse, red flakes that littered our apartment. I found it in the bathroom sink, on the couch, and even between our sheets. That’s how I knew he was cheating on me.
Maybe she was prettier than me, that’s why he let her keep the glitter… though he’d complained when I’d worn any. She must have been worth the trouble; that’s why he let her leave evidence. He wanted to get caught. After all, glitter gets everywhere. He had to know I’d find it.
A saw a single flake catch the light on his knuckle over dinner. I watched, transfixed, as he cut into his sirloin. He was mocking me, wasn’t he? He wanted me to say something. His eyes met mine, and he swallowed his bite before he asked:
“Is something wrong?”
I shook my head. No, it wouldn’t be that easy. If I told him I knew, he’d win.
He turned his head slightly, eyes still boring into mine– but when I said nothing, he wiped his mouth. The lone piece of glitter transferred to his cheek, catching in the dimple of his smile. I clenched my fists under the table, my plate untouched.
“You look beautiful tonight, and dinner tastes great.” he continued, “But you’re so quiet. You’re not eating anything. Do you have something to tell me?” His eyes were bright and expectant. My stomach soured that he’d ask with such blatant enthusiasm. Did he take pleasure in hurting me?
His smile dropped away, eyebrows pinching together. I wasn’t taking the bait, that must have been frustrating for him. Matt was never one to give up though, he tried again:
“Are you sure nothing’s wrong?”
“I’m fine.” he reached across the table, touching my hand. Touching me with hands that touched her, whoever she was. I drew my hand away, standing up. I picked up my unfinished plate, turning towards the kitchen.
“I’m just tired.”
I was tired. Tired of the lies. Tired of the evidence he flaunted in my face, daring me to call him out on it. He followed me, lingered in the doorway as I wrapped my leftovers in foil. He didn’t say anything. From the corner of my eye, I watched him too. He’d open his mouth, then close it again– finally, he said:
“Joan, If something’s wrong, please tell me. I can’t do anything to fix it if I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Are you done eating? I want to do the dishes.” I walked past him to collect the plate off the table. He didn’t stop me, just watched me scrape the last of the meat and vegetables into the trash.
“I’m going to give you some space.” Matt said, though the silence that came before his words felt far too long. I didn’t stop him, that was what he wanted me to do. I listened to his footsteps fade up the stairs.
I finished clean-up, stewing in anger. When I peeked into our bedroom, he was asleep without a care in the world. I’d been losing sleep over everything, but there he was. I watched his chest rise and fall with the steady rhythm of a pleasant dream. Probably dreaming about her.
A woman stepped past me, dressed in sheer bits of thin white fabric. I stiffened as she took my place in bed, offering a sparkling red smile. She pressed a kiss to Matt’s shoulder, leaving behind a glittery smudge.
I was too stunned to move, watching her smear her painted lips on his neck next. Matt was still asleep, still dreaming fitfully while the woman confirmed what I’d suspected.
The woman was beautiful, of course. Practically naked. Tall, thin, curvy and everything I wasn’t. The exact kind of woman I feared Matt would leave me for, like she’d been ripped straight out of my worst nightmare. I couldn’t compete with someone like that.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, fluttering her long eyelashes at me as she sat up from the bed. Her lipstick had smeared across her cheek, shining in what little light came in from the hall. “What’s wrong?” she rubbed her tongue across her teeth. “I can’t do anything to fix it if I don’t know what’s wrong.”
I fled, eyes blurry with angry tears– I stumbled down the steps, finding myself back in the kitchen. She followed me, drifting at my heels as she repeated the question. What’s the matter? What’s wrong?
“Get away from me!”
I didn’t mean to scream the words, but she reacted– stepping back, but not completely away. I reached for a knife. I’d like to say I wasn’t thinking, but I was. I whipped the blade towards her, opening her throat with the motion.
Glitter got everywhere, it was warm– red confetti, it coated the walls and stuck to my hands. There was so much of it, I was covered in it. Matt was going to be annoyed when he saw the mess. After all, glitter gets everywhere. But if there was going to be a mess anyway, I might as well enjoy it.
I scooped up generous handfuls as it pooled on the floor, rubbing it into my face and chest– I did like the glamorous look of it. I wasn’t sure what to do about the woman. Matt couldn’t leave me for her now, but I couldn’t leave her corpse in the kitchen.
I rolled her up into the area rug, and tried to sweep up all the glitter… but that wasn’t very effective. The broom just spread the glitter around, almost none of it ended up in the dust pan. Matt was just going to have to deal. Moving on, I managed to drag the body outside–she was a lot heavier than I expected. Hauling her took a lot of time, breaks and effort… but when I opened the trunk to stuff her inside, it wasn’t empty.
Exhausted, panting and sweaty– I was annoyed. There was a box inside, one I didn’t remember. I opened it to find party decorations. Curious, I unfurled the banner tucked neatly inside.
Written across it were the words ‘Will you marry me?’, written neatly with red glitter. I hugged the banner to my chest, sobbing with happiness. Yes, yes. Yes I’ll marry you, Matt. I forgive you. I’m sorry the surprise was ruined. But what did you expect, Matt?
After all, glitter gets everywhere.