Amalia’s rage triggered tirade against Robert was a flood of mixed ideas and furious regrets about the one she had considered a friend, yet who showed no compassion when she needed it from him. He was taken aback both by his reaction to her initial sadness and by her violent response, although the moment the room became silent, he began to perceive the magnitude of what had just happened. For the first time ever, he raised his voice at her, a thing that was so common when dealing with his wife; never had he thought of reacting that way towards Amalia. And never before had she managed or even tried to reduce him to nothing in a matter of seconds.
Instinctive and impulsive as her reaction may have been, it was the right one in relation to a man who devoured women if they proved to be weaker than he was, belittling and controlling them, the same way he had always done in his wife’s case. The shift in what Robert meant to Amalia happened in an imperceptible instant – it was no longer a rapport based on reciprocity and equality, on mutual understanding, acceptance and respect. It was now a matter of dominance.
“No, I’m not the one to talk…” His discrete admission of guilt in the deafening silence established her victory – victory she neither needed, nor looked for, an exhausting and saddening victory which was no more than yet another loss, when what she needed was a friendly face, some understanding and comfort, even if only for a few minutes.
“No, you’re not. But I am the one to leave. And next time you need someone to deal with your neurosis, inferiority complex and endless emotional and material failures, try your wife or your conceited friends; or even the hobo on the street, because I am no longer available to you for anything of the sort.” If he wanted her cold, Amalia knew she was perfectly able to freeze him out, although it pained her to do so after all those years and all they shared.
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