Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Way it Is

A friend from work was over yesterday with a bunch of other folks from church and we made HUGE progress on the house! This project is actually going to get done!!!

My friend asked me if I had seen his wallet; he thought he might have left it at my place.

So, since my lunch and my preparation time are next to each other, giving me a tad more than an hour, I ran home to look for it.

A knock at the door.

It was Brenda.

Wednesdays are her day off.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Are you OK? Is there anything wrong?”

“Everything’s fine. Dxxx Gxxxxx lost his wallet and I’m here looking for it. What are you doing here?”

“I was just driving by and I saw the van and I thought there might be a problem, so I stopped to see if I can help.”

“No. It’s OK. I can handle it.”

She looked upset.

“Is there any mail for me? Is there anything you would like me to do?”

“There’s a zillion things that need doing, but I’ve got a handle on it. Don’t worry about it.”

“But I do worry. I know this has got to be really hard and I want to help if I can.”

“No, I’m fine. It’s a challenge, but I’m figuring it out.”

“Well, I feel guilty. It isn’t fair that you have to do so much.”

“You’re right. It isn’t fair. But that is the way it is. I’ll manage.”

She looked more upset.

She saw the pile of mail. Some of it opened, set aside for bills to be paid from my next check. More of it still unopened, unsorted.

“I can help you with those. I can sort them for you, help you figure it out.”

“I know it’s a bit of a mess. I’ve been busy. But I have a couple of weeks until I get paid, and so it isn’t a priority right now. Don’t worry about it.”

“But I can help.”

“I know you want to help. But, this is the way it is. It’s my responsibility. You made a choice.”

“I think I made a mistake.”

“Yes, you did.”

Uncomfortable pause.

“Well, I can just look these over and see if I can help sort them.”

I didn’t say anything.

If she looked them over she would once again see a small part of the mess she has left behind.

She started shuffling through the papers. I didn’t say anything. She took it as tacit approval.

As she went through it her hands trembled, her face reddened, her eyes grew moist.

“This isn’t fair, that you have to handle all of this. I will help if you want.”

I didn’t say anything. I stood there, arms folded. I did my best to wear a small, friendly smile that said: “I care about you, but I’m not budging on this.”

“I was thinking of coming over this afternoon after school.”

“Why? To go over the divorce papers? Is there something I need to do? Something that needs my signature?”

“No. Just to see the boys.”

“Well, today wouldn’t be good. I have a meeting right after school, and then I am rushing home to get Jeremiah because there is a meeting for him I want to attend in Oregon City.”

She shuffled through the papers, efficiently sorting bills from junk, pulling out things I might be interested in. The papers trembled in her hands.

“I shouldn’t have done this to you.”

“No. You shouldn’t have.”

“I’m sorry I did this.”

“I am too. I’m also sorry for you. You are really going to regret this someday.”

She nodded.

I continued.

“This will wear off...” (she nodded) “...and you’ll be stuck with the choices you made.”

“I shouldn’t have.”

“No. You shouldn’t have flirted with another man. You shouldn’t have started this affair. You shouldn’t have continued to deceive me when I was willing to forgive you, help you. You shouldn’t have convinced yourself that this was love so you would feel less guilty.

“You are more intelligent than he is. You will have little to talk about. He is willing to place the blame on you for his mistakes, and that character flaw is going to show up in many ways. One day you will see you have very little in common with him... aside from the sex.”

“I should go.”

“Yeah, you probably should. I have to eat lunch and get back to work.”

She left quickly.

I feel a little sorry for her.

Just not sorry enough to sacrifice myself or my family.


Marvin the Martian said...

I'm going to start calling you Iron Will. ;-) VERY impressive! Good job, holding your own. The whims and feelings and vacillations of an alcoholic cannot be allowed to affect your course. The alcoholic will suffer regardless, but you don't have to.


Anonymous said...

listen to Marvin....

stay strong to your choices. This is sick talk - don't fall into it. Perhaps you need to file.

Aphra said...

I know it wasn't the point of the post, but did you find the wallet?

curious servant said...

Ha! I forgot that part! I went and used that little search as a "hook" for the post to hang on, and didn't reveal the denoument.

Searched all over. no wallet.

Went back to work. Told my friend it wasn't at my house.

"You went home and looked?! I didn't mean to make you do that."

"No big deal. Sorry I didn't find it though."

"My wife called, said she found it at home."

So... happy ending, and my search for the wallet only revealed how confused my wife is.

Amrita said...

Thru everything Brenda 's really trying to be helpful.

I wish I had someone to help me out with the messy work in my day. Come over here Brenda LOL