Tag Archives: marriage

Cupid’s Revenge

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“Trust me, you’ll think he’s great,” her friend said convincingly. A mutual acquaintance set Delilah up on a date with Franklin, citing the two had a lot in commons. She claimed their senses of humor were comparable, but the woman knew they were both lonesome. The friend didn’t mention Franklin’s past, his short jail stint, as she knew him only as her husband’s co-worker and found that detail irrelevant in light of their situations.

Delilah didn’t realize that Franklin had gone off the deep end, as they say, after his father’s sudden death. He took it hard when his patriarch developed an intense infection from a Locust thorn that gouged him while clearing a fence row. The man went septic, died soon afterward, and his son spent months questioning the fairness of life but didn’t find the answer in the bottom of a whiskey bottle where he searched for it.

He felt the world conspired against him and fought back in a booze-addled rage until the day he awoke on the floor, luckily face down in his own vomit instead of on his back lethally ingesting it. Turning his life around led him to a new job, and in turn, meant his co-worker’s wife introduced him to such a wonderful woman.

Delilah hadn’t seen that side of him and never knew he was quite the rabble-rouser in his day. “The past belongs in the past, honey,” he told her when their relationship grew serious.

She said, “I just wanna know all about the man I’m gonna marry, Franklin.” Testing the waters, she hoped to find out if he’d truly accept her. The truth was, she hid secrets from her own life she hoped to keep from her fiancé, the baby she’d given up for adoption as a teenager, things she’d done for money in desperation.

Their wedding day arrived with neither one the wiser. Franklin’s co-worker was his best man, and the co-worker’s wife who had introduced the couple served as Delilah’s attendant. The two beamed with happiness and congratulated themselves on their successful match-making skills.

“I’ve waited my whole life for this day,” the expectant bride whispered in his ear upon when she stepped beside him and slipped her hand through his crooked elbow at the altar.

They’d scrimped and saved enough money for a wonderful honeymoon in a tropical paradise and left the wedding ceremony in a heated rush for the airport. Franklin, lost in his newly-wedded bliss, sped down the Interstate in attempt to catch their flight. His euphoric state became a miasma of emotion when he saw the trooper’s flashing lights in the rear-view mirror.

“Oh, no … Franklin, it’s all right,” Delilah coaxed, trying to settle a rising temper she’d never seen in him before. He pounded his fists on the steering wheel at the officer’s approach, a crimson complexion clashing with his beige linen wedding suit. His new wife tried stroking Franklin’s shoulder to calm him but recoiled when he struck out at her in reflex. Blood splashed across her lapel as her lip split, and she shrieked in shock and pain.

Everything else happened too quickly for her to accurately recall later. An outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court after Franklin’s last arrest meant was soon revealed when his license ran through the law enforcement database. Delilah never knew about the snub-nose pistol her husband had stashed under the front seat and was horrified when he brandished it at the command to step out of the car and put his hands behind his back.

“I love you, darlin’, and I’m truly sorry,” Franklin told her before rolling out of the driver’s door and firing shots at the officer. His past finally caught up with him, but he wouldn’t let the law steal his happiness.

The most joyous day of Delilah’s life simultaneously became the most tragic.

***

Studio30Studio 30+ prompt – rabble-rouser

(image: bridalguide.com)

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Lonesome Blues

He had a bum knee from a long-ago car wreck that caused him to walk with a stitch in his gait. That limp kept him from doing much of anything, least ways gave him an excuse from fixing or cleaning anything around the house. Carpet hadn’t been hoovered since Charlotte left him several months prior. Didn’t matter anyway with all the leavings from his boot heels. Traipsing all over muddy back lot left them pretty nasty and hard to scrape with that bad leg and all.

boot scraper

Those things never bothered him and Ol’ Buck, the dog his sole compatriot these days. The Setter stood to be about all he’d get in the dispersal of his marriage as well. They slept in a mutual bed and shared the same measure of filth throughout the abode.

Lawrence’s self-esteem left with Charlotte, so the state of his dwelling became the least of his worries. Personal hygiene certainly moved down the priority list, too, exacerbating his loneliness as well. Buck didn’t mind the stench of recycled tube socks and week-old drawers turned inside out. “That’s why you canines are called ‘Man’s Best Friend,’ ain’t it, Ol’ Buck?” He smiled down at the dog’s speckled face and admired his oblivious loyalty.

He envied that matt not having a worry in world and considered his lot in life. The kids gone off on their own, and his wife gone now, too, considering her job down raising up the little ones. She found no other reason to stay with his lazy self, she said, and kept talking about how he’d soon have the goats living inside if he had his way about it. Just like that mean man on that purple movie with Whoopie Goldberg. Least he’d never have to watch such nonsense again, much less have a chick flick thrown up in his face.

Lawrence reached down to pet the dog’s shoulder and choked back a sob. “Damn, my luck,” he gasped. “How’d we end up here, boy?” His knees suddenly went weak and toppled him down onto the crusty, stained carpeting. The man fought desperately to be optimistic about his situation but lost that inner struggle more often than not.

He came to the next morning in that same crumpled spot, a rubber-soled toe of Charlotte’s shoe nudging him in the ribs, a slew of empty PBR cans scattered across the dirty floor around him. “Good to know I’d find you in about the exact spot as I last seen you, Lawrence,” she said. “Just came to pick up my mail. I’m expecting something.”

His head pounded like someone beat on the inside of his skull with a hundred tiny ball-peen hammers, and he watched his soon-to-be-ex-wife step over his body and walk to the messy kitchen counter to search for her letter. Used to be Charlotte would’ve had a conniption to find him in this condition. The woman’s face showed neither anger nor surprise. Just resolve.

Lawrence rolled over to one side and tried to slowly push himself up to a sitting position to watch as Charlotte simply trod toward the door to leave. She glanced back over her shoulder to address him. “You might wanna get up and take Buck out ‘fore long. He took a big shit right inside the door.”

She stretched her arm out to turn the knob and took one last great stride over the pile and across the threshold. Turning away from Lawrence, she said, “It’s not right to trap him inside so long, you know.”

Studio 30+ writing prompt – optimistic  Studio30

(photo: kansassampler.org)

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Old Habits

800px-Fat_cat_sleepingBeatrice heard her stiff joints crackle as she stood up from bed and began to creep across the hardwood floor, its chill not helping the arthritis in her feet. Those old limbs didn’t work near as well as they used to but carried her body across the short distances she needed.

She walked into the living room where she’d sat at opposite ends of the couch from her late husband in virtual silence for the last several years before he finally went home to meet his maker a month prior. How many times had she stared at his unfortunate face from that distance while he loudly solved the puzzle on that t.v. game show he obsessively watched? “Stupid bastard,” the woman mumbled to herself, thinking of Vaughn. “He was never any good at the bonus round either.” Thoughts of him brought bad memories and bile backed up in her throat. It was too early in the morning for such ugly thoughts.

Vaughn hadn’t always been such a schmuck. Some quality besides his hubris and those blue eyes must have originally attracted her to the man. His charm drew her in, but that charisma quickly morphed into plain conceit. A baby soon on the way meant she stayed with her husband and tried the make the best of things. “You’ve got someone to worry with besides yourself now, girl,” her mother told her. Bea knew it was the truth.

Little Leon loved his daddy, and Vaughn likewise doted on him. It was enough to keep Beatrice in the marriage, but her husband paid more attention to the television than he did her. He certainly spent more time at the office than home but more so for the company of his pretty blond co-worker than any task their boss assigned. Vaughn’s hinky actions became easy to read, and Beatrice wasn’t stupid. Heeding Momma’s advice, though, she stayed for the duration.

By the time Vaughn retired, their son was long gone. Leon had his own aspirations, and Beatrice wanted him to live the way she’d wished for herself – to travel, see the Eiffel Tower or those pyramids over in Egypt – to go somewhere besides here. She wondered if she’d stayed with Vaughn just to spite the man or if they simply shared the bad habit of one another.

A thick strand of her once jet black hair fell in front of her eye. It was now coarse and the color of steel but still accented her startling green eyes. Vaughn called them bewitching and once said she’d vexed him. She never believed that to be the case. Instead, truly the opposite. He’d tricked her with his charming ways and made her fall as much in love with him as he was with himself. “That narcissist probably took a hand mirror with him to his coffin,” she reported out loud to nobody in particular.

A big tabby cat was the only one there to listen, and it languished across the armchair, paying her only the slightest attention. “Ya probably learned those ways from him,” she told the feline. “Ya preen yourself all day long, and lay there pretending like ya don’t hear a word I say. Both a ya considered yourselves the center of the universe.” The old cat paid her no mind and closed the one eye it opened only to verify someone else’s presence in the room. It barely noticed Vaughn’s absence either.

“That’s okay,” she said. “Just ignore me. I’m used to it.” Beatrice sniffed derisively and looked out the window. The street view from the sofa where she usually sat pleased her. “I’ll perch right here, thank ya very much.” She half-heartedly chuckled. She normally amused herself that way, wouldn’t depend on anyone else to do it for her, even if it meant watching the world go by from the living room’s confines.

A satisfied smile crossed her wrinkled face, the skin soft but creased from years of sour expressions settling in on it. Hers wasn’t an unhappy existence. She finally had what she wanted — a quiet, peaceful life. She didn’t even have to compete with the television any more to get it.

*writing prompt “hubris/conceit” from Studio 30+ Studio30 (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

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Shoo Fly

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She realized early on her new marriage wasn’t all she hoped it would be. People fall into routines, and life goes takes on a new rhythm following the honeymoon’s afterglow, but she was crestfallen to discover how different her husband was once the newness became old hat.

Granted, they married later than most couples, in their 30s. She had cast his first marriage out of her mind and attributed that divorce to youth and ignorance, but now she was feeling what the first woman probably experienced long before she fell into the same rut. The old saying about people being “stuck in their ways” was too obviously true.

Her husband simply checked out. They rarely talked, didn’t hang out together, and never went on dates. It was if she didn’t exist. His face was stuck in a screen – either the computer’s or his smart phone’s – but never looking at her.

He was still there, but it was if he had just evaporated. His mind was elsewhere, maybe at work or perhaps on another woman. Broaching the subject did no good, as he brushed off her questions like a bothersome fly buzzing in his ear.

She grieved for their lost love but swore she wouldn’t let herself become inconsequential. The spark was gone, and she had to accept it. She scraped what was left of her dignity off the floor and made plans to leave.

Few of their scant furnishings belonged to her, so she had little to pack. Sadly, there was more left in the house than in their marriage when she walked out the door. Sniffing back a tear before pulling out of the driveway, she wondered if her husband might miss her.

He was meanwhile engrossed in something on the computer, as usual, and didn’t see her leave. Maybe he’d notice when a text from the phone company informed him she hadn’t paid the bill.

– photo Wiechert-Visser Creative Commons Studio30

*Studio 30+ prompt “…he had just evaporated…” from the original post He Confessed Everything.

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A Secret Locked Away

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It took 50 years for me to find out who I had married. He failed to inform me that he was a polygamist. The other two wives on opposite ends of  the country were as clueless as me about his other families. I only knew him to be a sales manager who worked for a nebulous privately-owned company that supposedly required him to travel several states and be home very little over the course of a year.

I imagine the other women were told a similar version of his long line of lies and just as dumbfounded when they received a phone call requesting someone claim his body in a Cincinnati morgue. The airport there was a connecting hub for his travels, and a security agent found his body slumped in a chair. Apparently he was waiting for a flight, but I don’t know which family he was en route to see. In retrospect, I don’t care. This fatal layover represented poetic justice.

This triple-life must have kept Jacob on his toes and exhausted most of the time. A busy schedule and his web of deceit surely precipitated his ultimate heart attack.

The wife in Utah was the only one who found it in her heart to pick up his worthless remains in Ohio. I considered not going to the memorial service out in Salt Lake City but wanted to meet the women who’d also been duped by Jacob. Come to find out, he had several children with Mrs. Utah, but she was nowhere near as upset about his duplicity (triplicity?) as me or the wife in New Hampshire. Maybe it had something to do with being Mormon, that whole sister-wife thing.

His grown children had kids of their own, although none of them minded the discovery of multiple families much. Just another fact of life for them. I suppose they thought ‘the more the merrier.’

Not so with me or my east coast counterpart. We were livid to find out the years we’d spent as Jacob’s wives were not as they appeared. If it wasn’t bad enough I’d spent days and months on end wondering whether my spouse was safe in the city where he claimed to be working (cell phones were not his thing), the times he was home were just as circumspect. His freshly laundered clothes and pressed boxer shorts never ceased to amaze me.

At the risk of making such a sexist judgement, no man — especially one continuously on the road — could be that neat. Early on I speculated, much like Jerry Seinfeld claimed people used to assume about him, whether my husband was gay. Since he was both thin and neat, I thought he must be gay. While I was glad to not have done his chores, it struck me how he spent so much money at the professional laundry. Little did I know the wife in Utah kept him in clean clothes.

His lies were only uncovered much later after his dilapidated body was retrieved from the Midwest and taken to the Great Salt Flats. Jacob deserved to be buried out there in nothingness. Maybe his Mormon wife would visit his desert grave, but not me. I was suspicious of him then and despised him now – would despise him for eternity. Maybe Joseph Smith would’ve approved of his earthly behavior, but not me.

My resentment followed me all the way out West to attend his service, and I went only out of a morbid curiosity as to what those other wives were like. Meeting them might quell the insatiable rage inside me at having fallen for such a blatant misrepresentation of what I thought constituted my 50-year marriage. Such a fool I’d been!

The one from New Hampshire felt much the same as me, realized upon our commiseration at the funeral home in a nice Salt Lake City suburb. She also felt betrayed, but we set aside our shame in deference to the Utah wife who arranged the memorial. She was gracious enough to pay for Jacob’s burial, so we conceded to not make a scene and embarrass her in front of her religious community. We sat in the back row and bit our tongues, wishing to not raise any awareness of our relationship to the deceased.

I felt a smug pride in being able to rise above the circumstances and keep my mouth shut. Jacob had to explain his misgivings in life to his maker, not the wives he’d wronged. It wasn’t my place to punish him for eternity, as much as he deserved to pay.

A man dressed all in black arrived and sashayed to the front of the chapel, his exaggerated wails echoing throughout the sanctuary. Every eye in the room turned to watch the demonstrous display as the gentleman approached the casket. He was thin, as neat as a pin in his seer-sucker suit, and he choked back mournful sobs and pulled a silk handkerchief from the front jacket pocket to staunch a great flow of tears. He was clearly in mourning, and anyone who didn’t know better would think he had also just lost his spouse.

*This fictional post was prompted by #GetYourWriteOn at Indie Chick Lit.

Your husband/wife (that you secretly hated) of 50 years has just passed away. Write the funeral scene.

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