“Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?”
“I tell you I’m leaving you, and you can’t think of anything to say?”
“It seems like your mind is made up already.”
“Then what’s there to say?”
“Do you really care so little about me that you aren’t even going to fight for me? You aren’t even going to try to convince me to stay?”
“You want me to beg or something? Because I don’t beg.”
“No. I don’t want you to beg.”
“Then what do you want? Huh? What? What can I do for you now?”
“I just want you to care.”
“Sixteen years together. We’ve had sixteen-god-damn years together, and now you want me to beg. Well, I don’t beg. Okay? I don’t beg.”
“I’m not asking you to beg.”
“When I got fired from the store, I didn’t beg. When we ran out of money and had to move in with my parents, I didn’t beg. When my father died, I didn’t beg. But now, you decide you’re walking out, and you want me to beg as you waltz out the door. Well, you’ve got another thing coming, because I don’t beg.”
“Damn it. I didn’t ask you to beg.”
“Fine. Because I won’t.”
“Then go already.”
“Fine. I’m going, and if you need me, I’ll be staying at my parents’.”
“Your parents’? Why? No room at Ainsley’s house?”
“Don’t do that.”
“Does Ainsley only sleep alone or something?”
“What kind of name is Ainsley anyway? Is it a boy’s name? Is it a girl’s name? What kind of parent names their kid Ainsley?”
“Just leave Ainsley out of this.”
“Fuckin’ Ainsley. I should’ve known that when you started doing yoga that this was going to happen. There’s always a fuckin’ Ainsley at yoga. With all the bending and the stretching. And I bet Ainsley was wearing those tight pants that show everything off. Fuckin’ Ainsley. Goddamn home wrecker.”
“Ainsley has nothing to do with this.”
“You know, I’d be in shape too. If I were single, and had no kids, and had nothing to do but work out and go to yoga, I’d look like that too.”
“Jesus. Leave Ainsley out of this. This isn’t about me and Ainsley. I’m leaving because I’m unhappy, and I was unhappy way before I met Ainsley.”
“That’s right. I’m leaving you because I’m unhappy.”
“Unhappy. What does that even mean?”
“What do you mean ‘what does that mean?’ It means I’m unhappy.”
“Unhappy with what?”
“With this. With us. With our life.”
“Oh, well. I’m sorry you’re so unhappy.”
“You think this is what I wanted? To be trapped like this. Every day the same damn thing. Over and over and over.”
“Welcome to life, dear. That’s how it is for all of us.”
“Well, not for me. Not anymore.”
“For Christ’s sake. You think this is the life I wanted. Two kids. A tiny house. No money. A cheating spouse. This wasn’t in my plan either, but that’s the way life goes. It’s hard, and it sucks, and it is never what you plan.”
“I don’t accept that.”
“God. I’m not happy either. You don’t see me walking out.”
“Well, maybe you should have.”
“You think Ainsley is happy? Ainsley’s not happy. No one is happy.”
“I don’t accept that. I don’t accept that it has to be this way.”
“Oh. Well, whoop-dee-do for you. You don’t accept it. Great. Go, then. Go and find your happiness. The kids and I will just stay here and be miserable like everyone else. As long as you’re happy, because it’s all about you.”
“Don’t do that. I didn’t mean it like that.”
“You’re leaving. How else could you mean it?”
“Damn it. I’m not leaving for good, okay? I just need to figure somethings out.”
“I don’t want a divorce or anything. I just need a break.”
“Yeah. A break from all this.”
“No. Absolutely not.”
“I said no. I’m not going to spend my life wondering when you’re going to come back or when you’re going to leave again. That’s not fair. It’s not fair to me or the kids. We’re not doing it. So if you go, then you go. Don’t come back.”
“I think I hear the baby crying.”
“Yeah. There’s going to be a lot of that.”
“I’ll go get her.”
“I’ll just go up and calm her down. Help her get back to sleep.”
“No. Just go.”
“I can’t leave with her crying like that.”
“Please. Please, just go.”
“Fine. I’m going.”
“I’m … I’m sorry. I’m sorry about all this.”
“Yeah. Me too.”
Mike Simcik says
I consider 16 years as still being newlyweds! I steer away from negative stories, they put ideas in one’s head.
You want to live life in the fast lane or single?
Just go for a drive and look at all the dead squirrels, rabbits, deer, and raccoons flattened on the road because they could not make a commitment or decision on direction!
I’ve been married for 49 years and I like to tell people; “just one more year and were not newlyweds anymore”.
Nettie Buck says
Excellent story- LOVED IT!!
Mary Derksen says
I agree with Mike. We had 63 great years together. It ended 3 years ago when my husband died. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have disagreements or quarrels. We did, but we faced it, forgave, and life went on! No need for swearing in a story. I’m sorry!
Great story, Jeff. It demonstrates what so many people practice these days in catering to their selfish needs rather than working to making marriages work, “for better or for worse”. I appreciate the point of view here because no matter how we look at it, the struggle is real for everyone. Everyone battles, but if we treat each other as we wish to be treated and practice compassion, perhaps things will get better…Nice work.
Realistic and timely. Too many mariages dissolve because of partners’ selfishness and ease to give up when things get tough.
Billi Lynn Holt says
Nice development of the story and very close to real life. Ego’s are what rules and I guess it’s a never ending reality. Presenting what happens in real life would be more effective if it could impart a change or new idea, offering a mutual solution. I agree, just because this happens it shouldn’t be sensationalized. Good writing though. Thank you!