Isn’t that what they say?
That don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
So we’re in the car, right? And it’s not a big yellow taxi, no. It’s just a humble Camry that we bought a few months after our wedding. We skipped an extravagant wedding for this baby. You and I are supposed to be going to the hospital where our daughter is lying in a bed supported by machines. You go to the passenger’s seat and, seeing as you’re clearly not in the mood to drive, I take the seat behind the wheel. You hand me the car keys as soon as I throw my handbag to the back seat of the car. It’s understandable that you don’t want to drive after the incident we had last night. I don’t mind driving. In fact, I don’t mind doing anything for you from this moment on.
Just this morning, I tried to brush your shoes. You know how I hate brushing shoes. Give me any chores. Dishes, piece of cake. Cleaning the house, a breeze. But brushing shoes? I hate that. But I don’t mind doing it for you now.
So did you allow me to do that one thing for you? No. Absolutely not. You stopped me from so much as touching your shoes. You glared at me and with an eerily calm voice told me to put your shoes down and nobody would get hurt. The glare was as lethal an ammunition as a loaded gun. You will polish your shoes yourself like you’ve always done, you said. Yesterday we were both praying fervently for Emma’s recovery. This morning, I suspect I’m the only one who made that prayer to the guy upstairs. You were more worried that I was threatening to brush your shoes.
I thought we were going to the hospital like we’ve been doing every morning since Emma was admitted. I thought so until you spoke for the second time since last night. “Drop me off at Isaac’s,” you say. Voice so deep, which would normally be so sexy. But voice so cold too.
Now, after your second sentence of the day, I’m not sure I care about any ammunitions coming my way. When I look at you, I see the same look you gave me during the shoe incident.
So I won’t drive just yet. Not to Isaac’s or to the hospital. I let go of the ignition key and remind you that we’re supposed to be going to the hospital. You correct me, “No. We’re not going to the hospital. You are going to the hospital.” Your calmness is so irritating, fyi. I ask that we talk about this, you reiterate that you need to be dropped at Isaac’s.
“This is our marriage we’re talking about now. Not your shoes.”
You look at me. I wait for a reaction. In case you don’t notice, I’m waiting for you to address the insensitivity of the shoe remark I just made. Feel free to call me an ingrate. Tell me how your trust in me has been shattered. Remind me how you’ve never done anything to deserve this betrayal from me. Yell. I’m ready for that. I’m waiting for that. I’m counting on that.
You look at me and say nothing.
“Drop me off at Isaac’s please.”
Please? This one stings. The calmness is bad enough. Salt to the wound is you being courteous.
You just found out that the girl you thought was your daughter is another man’s child. That this other man has always known that you were raising his child. That this other man is married but is still making time to visit his sick daughter – the one you thought was yours – in the hospital. I know that this is one helluva mess to find yourself in. Even for anyone. I know that I’m not the nicest person in your eyes right now. Or maybe ever. So why would you use words like please when talking to me? To hurt me? To get back at me?
I get out of the car. We have to get to the bottom of this, is what I’m thinking. I’ve hurt you. I need you to swing that hurt back to me in the form of some name-calling, some yelling, some shoe-brushing, some-thing.
I open the boot of the car and I see your suitcase. You’re all packed. I should have known. My husband is leaving me.
You get out of the car and join me where I’m standing, boot wide open. We should talk about this, I say. There’s nothing to talk about, you say. You can’t leave, I insist. Oh, but I am, you inform me. I request that you don’t leave. You say that you can’t stay. What about Emma, I plead, she still thinks you’re her father. You look at me long and hard. Then calmly still, you tell me that that is my problem, not yours.
Fair enough. But, why. Aren’t. You. Yelling? It hurts so much that I wince. Now please drop me off at Isaac’s. There you go again. Saying please. Bringing up that idiot Isaac. When I look back at the day my marriage fell apart, I will always remember that name.
You don’t want me to brush your shoes, I won’t brush your shoes. But I’m not driving you to Isaac’s. I say.
There are so many comebacks to my statement. Comebacks like, “This wasn’t a marriage, it was a sham.” Or, “This marriage was built on a lie.” Or, “You know I only married you because you told me you were carrying my child.” So many comebacks and you don’t even bother using just one.
You pick your suitcase from the boot and start walking towards the gate phone in hand. Great. I lie to you, I make you marry me, now I’m sending you to Isaac’s in an Uber. So why does that son of a bitch have to be your friend anyway?
Why won’t you let me have it? Why won’t you tell me how much I have betrayed you. I know I have, but I need to hear it. Why won’t you point out that I took your love for granted – because I did. Why won’t you remind me how selfish I’ve been – because I have, and inconsiderate – that too.
I know that I screwed this one up real bad, but you should stay anyway. Stay and let the anger in your eyes remind me how much I’ve hurt you. Lace your voice with my betrayal and raise it while talking to me. Let the sound of your voice, breaking with emotion, become my last memory when I fall asleep every night. Punish me with that. I can take it. I need it. I continue to say.
You continue to walk away.
Just stay, Charlie. Stay because as long as we’re together, as long as you’re yelling, we’re working things out.
Stay and yell at me. Did you hear me? Stay.
To Be Continued.