I have been writing...completed chapter eight at like 2 this morning...fixing to start chapter nine in a few minutes...or watch The Walking Dead...which might win, because come on, it's The Walking Dead...so yeah...
Moving on. I started chapter eight last night...sending my married couple on a date...and in the middle of the date, they start fighting.
I wrote all the things I occasionally want to say to my husband about his job. Because he and my main character's husband have the same job. Cliche, sure, but when I came up with the story idea, i needed a job where her husband would be gone for long periods of time that wasn't military (been there, done that...see) and after racking my brain, I figured why not...I am familiar with the line of work, and anything i don't know, i can just ask the hubs.
I rarely see my husband. I see him for maybe three days every six to eight weeks. I'm raising two kids, working, and handling all of life's other bullshit, on my own. sometimes it's great and sometimes it sucks balls. Especially when you're almost one year old is like, screw sleep, i want to pour diet coke all over mom.
Yeah, true story.
Which leads me to the reason I'm rambling at y'all at 11:30 at night. I started the chapter, frustrated. I thought about all the things I could say to my husband, things I'd like to say to him. and it bled out all over my chapter.
So Hun, if you ever manage to find this...it's truth...and fiction. Mostly.
* * *
“I’ve been working on this night for a while, Ella. There just hasn’t been time to cement it all. I knew when I talked to you the other night that you were in need of some major cheering up. I know you haven’t been sick- well maybe you have been, but there’s something else going on. You’ve sounded so dejected and beaten down. My heart breaks when I hear that in your voice. It breaks when you try to fake like it’s something else, when you try to be chipper and upbeat when you’re words tell me you’re dying inside. I wish you would talk to me, that you would let me help you.”
Pursing my lips, I stare at him all of my words gone, my arguments invalid. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “I…its just stuff that I don’t want to bother you with. It’s not important. I’m just hormonal.”
He stares at me, his eyes intent as if he’s trying to sort through the bullshit to find the truth. I hold his gaze with unwavering intensity, praying silently that he lets this go, that he doesn’t pry.
Finally, he looks away as our servers approaches the table. I glance down at the ivory table cloth as the pair of them discuss wine selections.
I lied to him. That truth weighs heavily on me. I lied to him. I went behind his back and had lunch with Jamie. I didn’t tell Luke the truth about the whole situation like I should have. Now I was in a whirlwind of regret, knowing full well it was too late to tell him.
If the situation was reversed, if he’d gone out to lunch with an old flame and not told me, I’d be pissed. More than pissed, I would be murderous with rage, ready to kill him and her, file for divorce and flee the country, change my name and never look back.
Swallowing my guilt, I reminded myself that it didn’t matter. I was never going to see Jamie again, willingly or otherwise. It, the whole Jamie thing, was dead and buried. Rightfully so.
I glance up, noticing both Luke and the server are looking at me. “I’m sorry?”
“I asked if you wanted a red or white wine.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Chardonnay is fine for me,” I reply.
Luke nods, telling the server, “I’ll have the Cabernet Sauvignon we discussed. Ella, are you ready to order?”
I reach for the menu. “Go ahead, I’ll look this over and decide quickly.”
Luke rattles off his order then turns expectantly to me. “I’ll have the chicken cacciatore,” I inform her.
She jots my order down, collects our menu and breezes away. Luke reaches for my hands, clasping them between his. “Where are you right now? You’re sitting here with me, but you seem a million miles away.”
“I’m here,” I say. “I’m sorry. Truly. It’s been a long week. I’m happy to have you home, to be here right now, but I know it’s only going to last a few more hours and then you’re gone again. Sometimes it feels like we have a marriage built around stolen moments. I want to push the pause button on life and stay in these moments a little bit longer. Sometimes I miss you so much that it’s almost like I’m drowning in despair.”
“Do you want me to come home?”
“No, yes…no. I know how much you love your job and I know how miserable you would be if I forced you to come home. Eventually you’d start to hate me and I couldn’t live with myself if that happened. I’m sick of feeling numb all the time.”
“That’s probably an inaccurate description,” I sigh. Frustration makes me angry, the inability to express how I feel, the laziness of my tongue as it struggles to find the proper words boils my blood.
“Explain it to me then,” he asks.
Shrugging, I pick at the table cloth. I can feel myself shutting down, fleeing instead of staying to fight for what I want. “On paper, my life looks amazing. I have this amazing husband who works harder than any person I know. We have a great house, nice cars and things. But when you look past all the superficial stuff, the money, the cars, the nice house, what's really there is a woman who hates it all, who would trade it all to have more than just a few days with her husband every few months.
All I do, Luke, is go to work and watch TV. I don’t go out and do things because I don’t want to do them alone. Do you know what it’s like to be in a relationship but always go to the movies alone or to be in a relationship and go out to dinner alone?”
I pause, trying to reel in my emotions, stave off the tears and reign in my temper. “It sucks. You got onto me earlier for not eating, but do you know how depressing it is to cook a meal for one person? It sucks. So why bother?”
“Why didn't you tell me any of this sooner?” he asks, eyes downcast as if unable to face the accusations in mine.
“What would be the point?” I demand. “Would it change a single thing?”
“Oh really? Like what, Luke? It’s not like you would quit and find a normal job,” I accuse bitterly.
He lets go of my hand, propping his elbows up on the table, gripping his forehead. “I’m sorry,” he says looking up at me from beneath his hands. “What do you want me to do Ella?”
“It’s not up to just me. What do you want to do Luke?”
He sighs, his eyes a tumultuous sea of clear blue. “I have no idea.”
“Me either,” I snap.
And just like that, our fun night out has turned into a glaring display of everything that was wrong with our relationship. I didn’t want him to go and he didn’t want to stay.
“Maybe we should just call it a night,” I sigh. “I'm not hungry anymore and honestly I just want to go to bed.”
“No,” he says. “Come on, we’re here, we’ve ordered.”
Oh my god, I want to scream. Instead, I sit back in my chair and cross my arms across my chest, pulling my wrap tight around my body.
“Come on, Ella, are you really going to be like this?”
“Like what?” I hiss.
“Mad,” he supplies. “We’re supposed to be having a good time, not fighting. Let’s just enjoy dinner and then I’ll take you home.”
Silence settles around the table as we wait for our dinner to arrive. I glance around the courtyard, my eyes lighting on all the happy people sitting around the beautiful room, wishing I could have five minutes of their lives, just to try them on and see how they fit.
I never noticed it before, but it felt like the beginning of the end was barreling towards us. A dark cloud hovered on the horizon of our lives together threatening to destroy us. I faced the uncertainty with mixed emotions. Not much would change if we were to divorce, I’d be on my own same as I was already, but I'd have less of Luke than the tiny piece I had now.