After my childish and ridiculous nausea this morning I wandered through the house for an hour or two, stopping at the window and gazing out at Inch Kenneth, I decided that those friends who wish to accompany me as I explain the life of Richard, should understand that Mrs. Richard is as much a part of the story as is my hero; that you should be introduced, at least. To anyone new, thank you for coming by. Should you wish to begin by knowing Richard, then follow the ‘story picture title’ back to. ‘Dying is a Sad Game.’
Everyone has a price to pay. Every action has a reaction. Mrs. Richard had thought about holding everything together. About all the endless errands — all the mechanisms that went into keeping the family wheels rotating; not to mention holding down a responsible job as her husband’s accountant. Here she comes, the phenomenal one-woman team with other family players looking on from the sidelines. Mrs. Richard, once again, comes through in the stretch.
Recalling old times, she chuckled softly to herself. Not one to easily give in to self-pity, she sometimes played the guilt card; it had seldom worked. She reflected on how she’d struggled with her conscience and with her fear of the unknown and after all of this she had arrived at the twentieth anniversary of her marriage to Richard.
Love is such a strange thing. There were the times when she smiled fondly, remembering all the silly, private jokes shared that aid in the continuity of a relationship, the familiarity and cohesiveness, the sense of couple-ness. Then there were the times when she grit her teeth in exasperation. The numerous, thoughtless actions — wondering how she arrived here — was she even on the same planet?
Unfortunately, there had been far too many of these irritating moments in recent years, and a great deal less of the smiling fondly moments.
Of course she went through the middle of the night with nervous stomach syndrome — is this really the only way, thoughts.
She remembered how she entered into the romance — not expecting to fall in love. She was so young when they met; so far from home, seeking a new life, adventure, new languages and skills. That was the plan. Actually, in the beginning, it just felt nice having someone who pulled out her ‘baser instincts’ — it was something physical and pleasant and she enjoyed being with someone who made her laugh after a teenage life of discipline and boredom. They were both light hearted; the timing could not have been better. Their conversations grew longer — emotions more intense and then they were in love. Or as close to it as either one had ever experienced.
Mrs. Richard contemplated the irreversibility of her actions. How difficult to walk away from a life because he was not the person she wanted him to be. Coming to the realization that he could only be who he was meant to be — or better still (taking a page from one of her endless self-help books) the person he chose to be. Take your lumps, take the bitter with the sweet…etcetera, etcetera.
Truth. He was not a God-awful human being and neither was she.
She just had this sense that they both needed to be alone and regroup. And, perhaps, if they were blessed with a second chance at love, they would be with people through all the contemplation, sleepless nights and angry moments. And on some level she held a small thread of hope that it wasn’t too late; change was still possible — that they weren’t out of chances. She was not naïve; she was not searching for some romantic ideal. She just wanted someone to lighten the load — to share the everyday mundane-ness of life — to confidently place something in his hands with the certainty that it would be handled. She had so wanted the selfishness of his character to kindly vanish — it would have made their lives so much easier.
She felt like such thoughts betrayed their chances. Betrayed their years together — but it was the unvarnished truth. Sometimes, love just wasn’t enough — the scales were always unbalanced; more often than not, she carried the heavier weight.
These words sounded clichéd and trite in her own ears — but she could not summon up a better analogy. And that is how she arrived in the bedroom, standing over him, while he slept, with a three iron raised above her head.