Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1862439-Desperate-Resolve
by steveu
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Relationship · #1862439
A desperate couple have reached an impasse. Will they continue on, or move on?
"I resolve to try."

Josie waits patiently, expecting her husband to continue. But, Mitch just returns her look, even raising his eyebrows as if to ask, "What?"

After a few seconds of awkward expectation and silence, Josie speaks up.

"Try what?"

"Does it matter?"

"Well, I guess not. Wait, yes it does. If you resolve to try to cure cancer, then it's fine. If you resolve to get dressed and out of bed by ten, then no."

Mitch leans his head back and bellows a deep laugh, even clapping his hands once. Josie immediately begins to wonder if her husband as been drinking again, or fallen and hit his head, or both.

"Uh, honey, is there anything you need to tell me?"

Mitch's laugh begins to peter down to a chuckle, as he rubs his eyes free of the tears that have formed at their corners.

Mitch sighs and makes eye contact with his wife. Her hands are now stationed on her hips, her fingertips turning white. Somehow Mitch notices this and tries hard to refrain from another fit of laughter, knowing full well this is her anger pose. He doesn't want to make things worse again.

Josie buys him a few precious seconds by asking the understandable question, "What's so funny?"

Mitch holds up both his hands wide. "Babe, I'm sorry. It's not you. You know when you expect someone to act a certain way and then they do the exact opposite? I just found it funny. I've made so many mista...that you would mention me curing cancer, or doing anything of val...it was funny to me. That's all. I'm sorry."

Josie says nothing, but crosses her arms and leans against the island, waiting. Mitch gives an open mouth smile. Josie downshifts to her less aggressive "wait and see" stance.

Mitch raises his hands in defense and starts again. "I wasn't making fun of you, really. And I'm not downplaying the situation we're in. I know it's my fault we're here."

Josie leans further into the counter, feeling a slight, but persistent pain in her side from the edge of the counter. She doesn't care. This isn't like her husband. He's actually starting a meaningful conversation, she thinks. Afraid to say anything, she withstands the discomfort of her position and waits, praying silently.

Mitch can tell he's taken her by surprise. Her mouth keeps opening, then shutting without saying anything. She's waiting for him to make his point. She's struggling, but she's doing it. When was the last time that's happened?, he wonders. Maybe if- He grimaces and closes his eyes, Focus!

Mitch realizes he's on unfamiliar territory, it's spongy, unstable, and exciting. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath and focuses on his wife as he exhales.

"I meant what I said, babe. I resolve to try. I'll try anything to keep us...to get us...going in the right direction. I'll try. But, I need...I need..."

His chest hitches as he covers his mouth. Tears stream down both his cheeks and down his neck. Mitch covers his eyes with a large, trembling hand. He takes half a step; his left knee buckles. Josie's eyes widen. She's by his side in an instant.

"Mitch! What's wrong?"

He begins to take deep breaths, deliberate and noisy. Breathing in through his nose and out his mouth, he tries to calm down. Mitch knows Josie is scared, but right now he's terrified.

He leans against the kitchen wall, feeling the light switch on his lower back. Looking down, he sees Josie's eyes, wide with alarm. He's never cried in front of her. Not once. Not through the miscarriage or the death of his brother.

Both of Josie's hands are against his barrel sized chest. "Mitch, talk to me. Tell me what's wrong."

She waits a second, thinking. " Tell me what you need."

He exhales, feeling more energy drain from his chest. He nods. And gives in.

"I need you to believe in me. Like you used to. Like I used to. I know I don't deserve it. After the baby...and Billy...The things I said, what I did..."

Mitch's bottom lip begins to tremble. He closes his eyes. Using both her fists, Josie pops Mitch in the chest. His eyes fly open.

"Stay with me, Mitch. Stay with me."

He nods again, taking yet another trembling breath.

"I guess...I need to know what your resolution is."

He looks down at his wife. So petite, 140 pounds lighter than him and right now he's scared to death. Josie looks down at the floor for an eternity. She looks up, her own eyes now wet and brimming.

"I resolve to...believe."
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