Jove’s brow creased. “What’s wrong?”
Thalassa looked down, almost as if what she was about to say pained her. “I… think it’s time I left.”
“What?” Jove stood up and approached his wife. “You don’t mean permanently… right?”
“It-it’s just not working out.”
“Not working out? Thalassa, what are you saying?”
“I filed for a divorce.”
Jove’s eyes widened and his thoughts came to a screeching halt. His vocal cords didn’t seem to want to work as he struggled to say something. Finally, he choked out, “is Magnifi putting you up to this?”
Thalassa shook her head firmly. “No one’s making me do this. I’m going back to the Troupe.”
“You don’t have to divorce me just to go back to performing magic. I’ll let you do whatever you want, just please don’t leave.”
“I’m sorry but I made my decision a while ago.”
“Is it because I’m not home enough? I can work less.”
A sad look crossed Thalassa’s face. “You haven’t done anything wrong.”
Jove clenched his hands into fists. “Obviously I’ve done something or else you’d still want to stay married to me.”
“Please, this is already hard enough.”
“‘Hard enough’? You’re shaking the foundation of not only my life, but our son’s and yet it’s hard on you?!”
There was a knock on the door. “Mommy? Daddy?”
Jove’s voice softened. “What’s wrong Apollo?”
“Are you and Mommy fighting again?”
Thalassa and Jove looked at each other. Thalassa said, “we’re just having a disagreement. Go back to bed honey.”
“Okay,” Apollo’s tiny footsteps made their way down the hallway and there was the sound of a door closing.
Jove took a deep breath and spoke in a hushed whisper. “If you leave, who’s gonna get Apollo?”
Thalassa pressed her lips into a thin line. “We’ll let him decide.”
Jove wasn’t sure whether she was being genuine, or was just saying that because she knew Apollo would want to live with her. Before he could further stew in his anxiety, Jove decided to speak. “Are you leaving tonight?”
“Yes, let me talk to Apollo for a minute.” Thalassa slid past Jove who was still trying to comprehend what was happening.
He found himself creeping towards Apollo’s room. His son was speaking, “what do you mean you’re leaving?”
“Daddy and I aren’t going to live together anymore.”
“We don’t love each other anymore.”
There’s no ‘we’ about it…
Apollo sniffled. “Are you leaving forever?”
“You’ll still see me, but yes, I’m leaving Daddy for good.”
Jove slid to the floor. What had he done wrong?
Thalassa looked down at the man curled up into a ball. “Jove.”
He looked up.
“No you’re not. Please, if you’re going to leave, just do it now. I need to talk to Apollo.” Jove stood up and knocked on his son’s door.
“Hey Polly wog.”
Apollo looked up. “Why don’t you and Mommy love each other?”
“… I don’t know.”
The little boy sniffled again. “Did I do something wrong?”
Jove sat at the foot of Apollo’s bed. “Of course not. None of this will never be your fault.” He cupped his son’s face in his hands. “Never forget that, yeah?”
Apollo nodded “Mommy says she’s gonna move out, but she said I could see her too.”
Jove nodded. “Your Mommy and I wanted to know who you wanted to live with.”
Apollo knit his eyebrows together. “I can’t see you both?”
“No no, you’ll see us both, but there’s one parent who you’ll live with most of the time. You don’t have to decide right now, you can think about it for a few days.” Jove kissed his son’s head. “Why don’t you just go to bed, alright?”
Apollo wiped the tears from his eyes and nodded.
“Your mother and I love you, and you can’t do anything to make us stop,” Jove smiled. “Good night, Pollywog.” He closed the door and ran a hand through his hair.
Thalassa was putting some items in a suitcase. Jove avoided eye contact as he grabbed his sheet music and his guitar, and made his way to the living room. He stared at the paper, but couldn’t seem to get his brain to focus. The notes blurred together, and he couldn’t seem to think of anything to add to the music.
Thalassa opened the door to their apartment. “Good bye Jove.”
Jove just looked up and said nothing. His wife… ex-wife looked down and walked out.
And then he was alone. He tried to bring his attention back to the song he was working on, but his mind didn’t seem to want to revert into music-mode.
After staring at the paper for a few minutes, Jove let out a shout and threw the binder holding his sheet music across the room.
I can’t do anything right!
He grabbed his guitar by the neck and prepared to shatter it against the wall.
“Daddy?” Apollo was standing in the hallway, looking confused and a bit scared. “What are you doing?”
Jove blinked and lowered his guitar. “Nothing. I’m just a little upset.” He crouched down and picked up his binder.
Apollo sat on the couch.
Jove frowned. “And what do you think you’re doing, little man?
“I can’t sleep.”
He raised an eyebrow. “And you think sitting in the living room will make you sleepy?”
Apollo grinned. “Play me something!”
Jove sighed. “Apollo, go to bed.”
The little boy frowned and climbed into his father’s lap. “Where’s Mommy gonna live?”
Jove thought for a moment. “Probably with Grandpa.”
“Can we visit them sometimes?” There was a spark of excitement behind Apollo’s eyes that Jove felt bad about dousing.
“I don’t think Grandpa likes me very much…”
Apollo frowned. “Why not?”
“I dunno. But what I do know is there’s a little boy that has school tomorrow and needs to go to bed.”
“Can I please stay up a little longer?” Apollo was pouting.
“Nope, you’ve already been up late enough. You need to get some sleep.”
“Fine…” Apollo plodded back to his room.
Jove smiled until his son rounded the corner. The events of the past half hour had taken such a toll on him that a headache had begun to form in the front of his head. He wanted to believe that against all odds, him and Thalassa could get back together, but after all this heartache, Jove wondered if Thalassa coming back wouldn’t just make him sadder.
He made his way back to his room. Thalassa’s bedside table was empty except for an unlit lamp. He put his guitar case in the corner and threw his binder on the newly vacant table.
Thalassa hadn’t taken any of the pictures, so various frames were scattered around the room. Jove looked at one that was on his nightstand. He was smiling as a newborn Apollo reached a little hand out to touch Jove’s nose.
Tears had begun to run down his face. He couldn’t lose Apollo too.
There’s some beer in the refrigerator…
Jove sighed as he climbed into bed. He didn’t want to drink himself to complete numbness just yet.
He had to take Apollo to school tomorrow.
. . .
I was standing in front of the high school Thalassa went to.
“Meet me after school tomorrow.”
An address had been handed to me, along with a time. So here I am waiting for the final bell and hoping security doesn’t tell me to stop loitering.
Finally the final bell rang and a steady stream of kids poured out. Thalassa finally appeared. She smiled and grabbed my wrist. “I have to show you something!”