A husband leaves his wife, while she considers the reasons.
|There is no other way to tell the story. Just like there is no other way to unscrew a cap or to put gas into a car or even to kiss your grandmother. It is simple, apparent, absolute. |
He walked through the door at 6:45 pm on Thursday evening. Nothing special about the time or the day. With a half hour commute, a five minute walk to the parking structure and a lack of motivation that has him turn off the computer at 5:05 pm each day, he is always expected between 6:40 and 7:00, based of course on traffic.
I was in the kitchen cooking pasta. Thursday has been pasta night for the past 8 years. Never steak, never Chinese, never pizza. It is no longer conscious or concerning. It just is. I am still in my suit, heals kicked off by the couch in the living room. The pasta is linguine and the sauce is red. I have made it so often I can't remember actually touching any of the ingredients.
He entered the kitchen and I saw him scan the room. The steam coming off the boiling water, the table set with our wedding China and that turquoise table cloth we bought in the Bahamas last spring break. I saw him rest his eyes on the fridge photos - those of his brother's family and his sister's vacations. HIs eyes were glassy as he came back to look at me. "I am leaving you".
"What?" I heard him. I was confused, too set in my routine to even consider a variation. I asked again. It wasn't surprise or even disbelief. It was just a change. His eyes now wet with tears, he turned away as he just as casually left the kitchen, passed through the hall and closed, not slammed, the outside door behind him.
He was gone. There is no other way to tell the story. If there was another way to tell the story it would have to begin much earlier. It would focus on a middle aged woman at a conference and the gangly middle aged man who noticed her. The presentation caught his interest and he needed to meet the woman who could speak so eloquently on such a mundane topic. That presenter was lonely haven given up on the illusion of lifetime companionship. He was sweet, encouraging and attentive. A year later they were married.
The first few years seemed encouraging. A person to have dinner with, one who would let you taste his dish to ensure you weren't missing anything good. A person to discuss the days events with, one who would hug you when you were passed for that grant and who would be outraged at the performance of your terrible underlings. Even someone who would lay on the couch all day Sunday doing the NY TImes crossword puzzle without blurting out the answer on the tip of your tongue. It was effortless. It was easy. It grew old quickly.
He didn't complain when she insisted on spending the evening alone instead of going to his office holiday party. As she tied his bow tie, she saw the look of disappointment in his eyes but it wasn't enough to have her get into that little black dress. It was never enough for her to change her ways and even if she tried, he could see that it was simply that - a try, an attempt, a facade. It was rare and unreal
She thought they would continue on, stable and content with the knowledge that this arrangement was the best either of them could have hoped for. Dreams of love and fantasies of passion she gave up long ago. She never thought he felt differently. She didn't acknowledge his need to love her. There was no recognition in the passion he felt or in the desire he tried to bestow on her. How could she have been so blind? Or was it simply that she choose not to see it because it was easier to continue on as a feckless wife in a pretend marriage. The effort would be too much for her to put forth and would demand that she looked at herself as a failure again. Only worse this time because she dropped the bar so low for this one.
But that is just a different story.One that cannot change the fact that he is gone. None of it is relevant or even very earth shattering. It is just my experience. There is no other way to tell the story.