DINOSAURS & CHERRY STEMS
Susan Jean Ricci
Intense emotion, leading to prose or poetry, cannot be described in any other fashion…
I’ve been rendered a dinosaur, a relic…
I’m sitting in the theater where my grandson’s rehearsing his spring band concert and darling hubby just texted me, “We should separate.”
“Oh, Glen, that’s so you,” I whisper. In the twenty years I’ve known him, Glen always finds a way to sneak out the back door.
It’s not his motive that’s the shocker. Glen and I have been communicating via sarcasm since our first anniversary three years back. Arguments evolved--how we spend our down time, his and my adult kids’ snafus, even our new bedspread, for Christ’s sake.
He had his picture taken without me the last time we traveled, six months ago (using the word vacationed implies an enjoyable event). I later found his photo posted on a social network he joined. In the relationship section, he’d written it’s complicated.
I’ve even kept my mouth shut about the way we’ve been stagnant as a couple, thinking it would be better for both of us to let the situation ride for a while.
Several weeks ago, Ella Stuart, a woman I know socially, phoned and inadvertently cleared up those rumors I’d been hearing about hubby’s slick trespassing.
“We thought you and Glen might like to join us for a house party we’re having next Friday night,” she’d said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve all gotten together.”
I was confused. Ella’s husband, Bill, and Glen are tight, childhood friends and they’d gone to an attorney seminar together just the week before. I thought for sure, since they’re so close, Glen must’ve told him our marriage was in the morgue.
“Didn’t Glen tell Bill at that seminar last week about our personal situation? That our marriage is not going so great?” I ask.
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t know and I don’t think Bill knows either because he didn’t mention it. As a matter of fact, he hasn’t seen Glen since last winter. I had a hell of a time tracking your phone number and finally called information. The last number Glen gave Bill, well, something’s not right about it. I tried calling it several times, and some woman kept answering, but when I asked for you or Glen, she’d hang up.”
“What’s the number?”
Ella gave me the number, and as I copy it I’m thinking, you bet your ass something’s not right, because I don’t recognize this.
“Glen told me he went to a seminar last week with Bill, the one in New York when they stayed over,” I said again. “Are you saying Bill didn’t go?”
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying. Bill has been home after work every night the past month. He hasn’t gone to any over night seminars in a long time.”
“What about that baseball game they went to last month?” I ask. “It’s hard for me to believe Glen didn’t say anything to Bill about us. I’ve never seen a man love to gossip more than he does.” I try to laugh, but the noise coming out of me sounds more like ARRGH.
Ella sighed. “I’m sorry, but Bill hasn’t been to any ball games this season, either, Cindy. Bill hasn’t seen Glen since the winter.”
“Are you absolutely sure?” The pleading in my voice makes me almost as sick as this conversation.
“Yes, I’m really sure. Again, I’m sorry.” Click.
I lean over my desk to put the phone back in the charger, but my hand trembles and it drops.
I bury my face in my hands. Yep, not only am I a dinosaur, I’m a throwaway…and so humiliated I have those cramps people get when they’re in urgent need of the bathroom, but there’s no time. Glen will be home soon and I want to call the woman who kept hanging up on Ella.
When she hangs up on me, I’m not a bit surprised.
What transpired afterward is muzzy, but what remains with me is the sudden crash at the window during Glen’s lively denials after I confront him.
Diverted from our shouting match, we’d hurried over and saw a bird, lying in the garden below. Even as we watched, it soon gathered its wits and flew away.
As we withdrew to our separate regions in the house, my self-esteem questioned: How many slams into the window of surprises do I need before I fly this marital coop?
I once heard about some celebrity who sent his wife a fax saying he wanted to divorce, but texting such a message is un-fucking-believable, even for Glen. My hands flex with the urge to choke him as I recall how he kept checking his cell during my mother’s wake last spring.
Take deep breaths, I tell myself. Focus on the stage and Jesse’s drum solo.
The pounding drums mimic my heartbeat, but I know until this rehearsal is over and Jesse’s safely home, I must stay calm. There’s forty miles of driving on a freeway loaded with wild weekenders to cope with, and it’s a definite my grandson’s going to want to stop and eat since it’s past lunchtime, and we always do that anyway.
I pinch my fingers on the bridge of my nose to keep the angry tears at bay. I want to text him back, continue the battle, but the situation will only escalate if I do, because Glen never loses his wars.
Instead of retreating, I text him anyway, and ask if we can talk about this when I get home.
He responds he’s busy for the rest of the weekend, and won’t be there.
Christ, today’s only Saturday. What’s supposed to happen on Monday, when we have to go to work in the same office?
Where he’s my boss…