Would You Read This Story Part 2
Based upon tremendous reader feedback here is the sequel toÂ Would You Read This Story
“I Don’t Want To Kiss My Husband Ever Again”
I have a graphic memory. I dream and think in technicolor or maybe I should say high definition. My dreams are full featured spectacles. It is great when I dream about happy things, but not so good if they are sad or disturbing.
As a young boy I used to wonder if there was a way to control my dreams. I figured that it was nothing more than concentrating hard enough. So I spent more than a few nights lying in bed focused upon whatever it was that I was chasing. Some nights it was images of me chasing down fly balls in Dodger Stadium and or hitting the game winning home run. Other times it was me as a different sort of hero.
I suppose that it is fair to say that in many ways not much has changed. The boy grew into a man who still dreams of playing pro ball or of being a hero. All he needs is a chance. Although to be fair the man recognizes that some dreams will have to remain locked inside the vault.
It was the morning after and I was still in bed. It had taken hours to fall asleep. The news that she was single had a bigger impact upon me than I would have guessed it would. I didn’t want to think about it. Didn’t want to play memory lane. I didn’t want to have one of those dreams and wake up to discover that reality was different than I might want it to be.
The meal with my daughter and the girls was grueling. They didn’t understand that some scars don’t heal. They didn’t understand that I much preferred the safety of my own life. Being single wasn’t so bad. I didn’t worry about forgetting special dates. Never had to try and decipher whether a look or a comment meant that I was in trouble again for some other transgression.
In concept it made a lot of sense to me to say goodbye to women. I knew what I needed to know. I had served a life sentence known as marriage. I helped propagate the species. When I was instructed to go forth and multiply I did it.I listened to them.
That is big stuff, my listening. Ask those who know me and you’ll be told that I have an amazing ability to suddenly go deaf. More than one person called it irritating, but me, I called it survival.
All would be perfect, or close to it, were it not for my daughter and the girls. Did I mention that they don’t like it when I call them girls. Sometimes I like to aggravate them by talking about how you can’t trust a broad, not a single one of them.
The thing is, they know me too well. They refused to let me bait them into a different topic. They have an agenda and I am at the top of the list. And people wonder why I say I feel like I have a target on my back.
Midway through our meal Sheri asked me if I remembered what her marriage was like. I smiled and told her that she should have married me. That earned me another one of those withering looks and a sharp rebuke from my daughter.
Great, and to think that I thought that I owned the look and the lecture she gave me. But because I am rarely at a loss for words I told her that I have been inoculated against that sort of thing. She of course didn’t care. Damn, if she isn’t like me. Moments like this make me wonder if I should be proud or frightened of her.
But I digress.
Sheri jumped back into her story and asked me if I knew how she realized that her marriage was over. I was tempted to provide another smart ass remark, but something told me that it was smarter to stay quiet.
“When I realized that I never wanted to kiss my husband again, I knew that it was over.”
“Well, we share that in common. I never want to kiss your husband again either. For that matter I don’t want to sleep with him, he snores far too loudly,” I said.
I know, the smart ass remark didn’t help, but how could I let that one go. Again she ignored me and continued on.”
“When you find the kind of love and relationship that you had you don’t let go.”
That wiped the smile off of my face. I looked at her and thanked her for her opinion. Before anyone could go on I explained that it had been made very clear to me that she was done. It didn’t matter what I wanted, or what I thought. She was done.
My daughter came around the table and hugged me. She told me that she had no idea that my feelings for her were so deep and that I owed it to myself to not just ignore the opportunity.
I was surprised by my anger. I did my best not to bark at her, but I am not sure that I was successful. “This is not reality. This is not some stupid movie where I get to ride up to her ranch, grab her and ride off into the sunset”
“She gave up on us and she gave up on me.”
For a moment there was silence. It took me a moment to realize that both my jaws and fists were clenched. I took a deep breath and thanked them for their thinking about me.
Sheri smiled and told me that she was sorry. In a soft voice she said that I needed to remember that some loves never really die and that we had been victims of bad timing. “Call her. There is a reason why you are being given a second chance.”
I smiled back at her. “I’ll think about it.” And then I said a silent prayer of thanks that none of them knew how hard my heart was pounding.
Once Upon A Time
One of the best parts of my job is that I can do it from almost anywhere. All I need is my cellphone, a laptop and an internet connection and I am good to go. It is one of the perks that come with the position, not to mention the joy of dealing with the most cantankerous editor ever.
He and I have a real love hate relationship going on, and that is putting it mildly. It wouldn’t be fair to say that we love to hate each other. But it would be fair to say that I love to aggravate him. I probably shouldn’t. It is a bit unfair to always press his buttons, but I have issues with authority. So does he.
For some reason he finds it necessary to try and tell me what to do and how to do it. This usually inspires me to do the opposite. Somewhere out there my mother is shaking her head about this. She told me many times that it is better to get along with people, that I don’t always have to be such a pain-in-the-ass. I love you mom, but you know that it is not going to happen, so why keep trying.
“Big Ed”, the editor, that is what I call him, likes to have regular meetings with me. He says that they are not serious, just an easy way to communicate. The thing is that I prefer to communicate by email or telephone and he likes face to face.
“Big Ed” doesn’t like being called “Big Ed.” His real name is Harold but if you call him Harry he gets upset. It probably has something to do with having virtually none on his head. You also can’t refer to him as “Harold, the Hairy, the Regent of Rogaine” because he doesn’t like that either.
Truth is that I can’t say that I really like it. It is not particularly funny, but it gets a reaction from him and that I do like. Did I mention that he is very particular about where things go on his desk. I like to move his stapler around. Again, it is not funny and it is quite juvenile. But it tends to help him come to the proper conclusion that Jack and office visits are not a good mix.
With that sort of introduction you might wonder why the “balding behemoth” doesn’t release me from his tender mercies. The answer is that I am that good and so is he. Together we have found a recipe that works and both of us have been around long enough to recognize that you don’t mess with something like this.
It also doesn’t hurt that Harold went through his own divorce and was sensitive to my situation. He made a point of approaching me more than once to offer a friendly ear. I was grateful and appreciative of it. I made a point to thank him and then told him that if brought up a “friendly ear” to me again I would sue for sexual harrassment.
He quickly apologized and changed the subject at which time I threatened to sue him for not making a pass at me. You should have seen how red his face got with that remark. Poor Harold didn’t know what to do. I almost felt bad for him because I knew the feeling.
Getting divorced was sad and exciting. Even though I knew that it was the right thing to do it was hard to accept that something that had seemed so right was over. I need to qualify that. I think that at one time it felt that way. I mean, I wouldn’t have gotten married if it didn’t seem right.
That was something that I just wasn’t sure of. I couldn’t decide if I really had felt that way or if I had convinced myself that at one time I had. None of it really mattered. I had checked out of the marriage long before the divorce, I just hadn’t realized it.
For a long time I had thought that the problems were all related to external influences. When the kids are young they suck the life out of you. It doesn’t mean that you don’t love them or have a single regret because they are amazing. They make you better people.
But they also make you crazy people. They take and take and take. And then they takes some more. During the week there is the daily grind of getting them to school, helping them with their homework and all of the extracurricular activities.
Weekends weren’t any less busy. There are birthday parties, soccer games, ballet and when they get older reports for school.
And did I mention the challenges posed by preteen and teenage romance. I almost killed half the boys in my daughter’s middle school. As far as I know she didn’t date any of them, but she and her friends swooned and cried about them more times than I can count.
In fact I intend to kick the crap out of some kid named Jason for the simple reason of just because. Just because translates into you dated my daughter for two years in high school. Two years of pretending to be Eddie Haskell. Two years of trying to bullshit me into believing that you weren’t trying to get into her pants every day.
Stupid prick forgets that I used to be him. I know every line and trick for making a girl think that you think she is special. You are not unique. And yes I know that other boys did it too. And yes I know about karma and all that kind of crap. But you just rubbed me the wrong way and now I want you to give me an excuse.
The thing is that even though they have long since broken up if anything happened I would still be the bad guy. She doesn’t love him anymore, or so she says, but I know my girl. Actually maybe it is because I know my girl that I don’t need to do anything to him.
Scratch that, my fragile male ego can’t accept it. I am ordering one ass kicking off of the menu of life. One righteous ass kicking so that I can wipe that stupid smirk off of his lips. One day….
I had planned on working at the beach today, right next to lifeguard station number six. The car was loaded with my gear and I was just about to leave when Harold called to ask what time I was going to come in. I tried to pretend that the connection was bad but he was ready and asked me if I had checked my email.
He had forwarded an email that I had sent him two weeks prior. In the email I had told him that I would be delighted to meet with him to discuss my latest assignment. I hate when I screw up like that. I silently cursed my own stupidity and made a note to remind myself never to commit to anything in writing.
I told him that I would see him soon and hung up the phone. I made a quick trip out to the car to grab my gear and switch it with the business stuff. One of these days I have to win the lottery or invent something because this working stuff is getting old.
A short time later I was in the car and headed towards the office. Talk radio and the sounds of traffic filled the silence and I found myself lost in thought.
BetsyKCross September 18, 2011 at 1:07 am
@TheJackB No worries. I don’t throw things. Sounded fun though, huh?
SocialMediaDDS September 17, 2011 at 1:49 pm
@Leon Ha ha…I love this! Leon it sounds like you’ve got your priorities straight in life ;-). And the Woody Allen quote…priceless. Thanks for a good laugh!
TheJackB September 17, 2011 at 1:45 pm
@Leon Selfishness is most definitely an underrated virtue which is why I intend to go catch some ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzz, makes Saturday afternoon much more enjoyable I say.
I am with you regarding fun, in fact I am an advocate for it. One can never have too much of it.
TheJackB September 17, 2011 at 1:44 pm
@bdorman264 I’ll let you know when something exciting is about to happen, maybe shout “Roll Tide” or something similar.
I love my children equally but I admit that I think that my son will be easier to deal with dating wise than my daughter. I know too much about how boys think. 😉
Leon September 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm
Good ‘evens Jack!
I thought I’d tuned into “Start Your Novel” by mistake. Had that been the case, here’s how I would have ended the story.
“I started unloading the car. Then I thought ‘Bugger this.’ I reloaded by beach stuff. Sometimes you’ve just gotta do what’s right for you. There are times when selfishness is a much underrated virtue. And I wont contact Livefyre about Leon Noone either. Dumb bloody Aussie: bet he doesn’t get as many comments as I do! At my first sight of the beach, I knew I’d done the right thing.”
I would’ve done that Jack. But I remembered what Woody Allen said about death; ” I know what’s going to happen. I just don’t want to be there when it does.”
Dunno about you: but I’m having fun.
bdorman264 September 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm
What a tangled web we weave. It’s certainly well written and interesting and as I have said before, just let me know when I’m supposed to be paying attention. Sometimes I’m the one who needs to be knocked upside the head to ‘get it’.
I had boys, not girls so their dates only had to pass muster with mama. There were a couple of ‘party’ girls in there but most got the stamp of approval.
TheJackB September 17, 2011 at 8:43 am
@BetsyKCross There will be no throwing of books, computers, notebooks or anything not definitively marked as a water balloon. ;
TheJackB September 17, 2011 at 8:42 am
@Julie | A Clear Sign Part one has an awful lot of fiction in it that sounds more real than it is.
I think that a disconnect in any relationship creates holes and dissent that don’t necessarily go away. Sort of like the thread on a sweater that is coming apart. Sometimes it is relatively easy to fix but if you pull on it a bit the whole damn thing comes apart in your hands.
TheJackB September 17, 2011 at 8:39 am
@SocialMediaDDS There is a lot of material there. Even for me, sifting through Fragments of Fiction can take a lot of time.
Georgie is very definitely a character.
SocialMediaDDS September 17, 2011 at 5:41 am
@TheJackB I’ve decided that one would have to quit their day job to sit down and read all of the amazing words that you have painted across time.
..This story in particular has SO much material… http://www.thejackb.com/2011/04/28/how-i-got-to-be-who-i-am/
..and Georgie strikes me as an alter ego…
..and some of Buck could be the character in Would You Read This Story Part 2… ..lots to wrap my head around…
BetsyKCross September 17, 2011 at 4:53 am
AGGHHH! I’m totally enjoying this, but please tell me where is the line between reality and fiction? You’re messing with my head Jack! If this was a book and If I was in a mood, I’d throw the book against the wall! It’s the same feeling when my 14-yr-old creeps up behind me and scares me (every day) and destroys my peace! I guess that means you’re a pretty good writer.LOL! The thing is , I think you’re getting a big chuckle out of this!
Okay. Good job.
Julie September 17, 2011 at 3:59 am
The compelling part is you leave people wanting to know which part is you and which part is fiction. It was more obvious in part one, less so here. Also interesting is the part about how the children changed the relationship. I believe most women assume that the man will stick around, because after all they created these children together and should want the best for them, together. Yet, men from the get go say, hello…what about me? Interesting that you are showing this from the other side. You imply but don’t say that this disconnect started the unraveling.
KDillabough September 16, 2011 at 5:45 pm
@TheJackB Wow is the BEST thing:)
TheJackB September 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm
@SocialMediaDDS I have seen this story acted out so many times I have come to know it pretty well which makes it easy to write. I have to admit that I really enjoy blurring the lines, there is something interesting about it to me.
This is a couple years old already, but I think that I have another thousand words or so. Probably could integrate some of the stuff from (http://www.thejackb.com/category/fragments-of-fiction/) into this.
TheJackB September 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm
@KDillabough Is wow a good thing?
KDillabough September 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm
Wow. Just wow.
SocialMediaDDS September 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Hi, it’s me 😉
1.) although it was awhile ago, I’ve been here…and, while I bat for the other team, the feelings are not at all dissimilar….that’s probably why this appeals to so many.
2.) your ability to blur that line between reality and fiction makes this all the more compelling
3.) I learned that I really liked being by myself when newly single…and more importantly, I learned to like myself…
4.) that being said…there ain’t nothing like the real thing, baby….
5.) let me know when the story continues…