art by Jonathan Westbrook
Do I Tell Her?
by Steven L Peck
She is sitting in the library, reading. I see her face glowing in the soft light of the magazine. The familiar face I've known every nuance of for the better part of my life. She blinks twice deliberately, turning the page. As she does so, I see the radiance of the screen flicker in her face. Her legs are curled beneath her on the cozy, lab-grown-leather chair. She notices I'm standing in the door watching. She smiles, then goes back to reading. Should I tell her? I can't decide. The ethical debate is all over the map. Even the professionals don't have a clue and have not reached a consensus. The insta-polls on the highest hit sites are split 50-50. Although, "Ethics Now!!" is running 60/40 in favor of telling her.
I watched her with the boys this morning. They were laughing about our holiday in Austria when she fell into the stream while trying to jump across it. A video replay from my headcam leaps onto the kitchen screen--one of the kids must have accessed for the hundredth time. It is funny. She makes the leap, lands on the other side on both feet, and then spins her arms frantically as she loses balance and falls backward into the stream. Even I join the laughter.
Do the kids know? No. Just me. And it's eating me alive. I didn't think it would make a difference. But it does. Those who say it doesn't are lying. Or something. I can't just let it go. This is not my wife.