This is Elizabeth Strout’s description of a turning point in the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Bonnie and Harmon.
But one night he turned to her in bed, and she pulled away. After a long moment she said quietly, “Harmon, I think I’m just done with that stuff.”
They lay there in the dark; what gripped him from his bowels on up was the horrible, blank knowledge that she meant this. Still, nobody can accept losses right away.
“Done?” he asked. She could have piled twenty bricks onto his stomach, that was the pain he felt.
“I’m sorry. But I’m just done. There’s no point in my pretending. That isn’t pretty for either of us.”
He asked if it was because he’d gotten fat. She said he hadn’t really gotten fat, please not to think that way.
But maybe I’ve been selfish, he said. What can I do to please you? (They had never really talked about things in this way — in the dark he blushed.)
She said, he couldn’t understand — it wasn’t him, it was her. She was just done.