Flash Fiction: Out of Time

I can’t say how it happened. One day I was willing to stay and the next I wasn’t. No big bells and whistles. Not even the infamous toothpaste cap out-of-place. Just done. All the juice drained from the relationship like a lemon accidentally left in the car for too long in a hot summer. Desiccated is the word that comes to mind: all dried up.

My husband was shocked. “What are you talking about? We have plans to go to the movies tonight with John and Mary.”

“You go,” I said. “I’ll be gone by then.”

I know it sounds cold – frozen, no doubt – but I have been patient in this marriage. Fifteen years and five jobs for my husband while I’ve plodded along at the bank, rising from teller to officer. That is not the primary reason for this drying up, but it certainly didn’t help any. That, or his quick temper or tendency towards depression. All of these pulled my time and attention away from anything I was excited about and towards ‘helping’ my husband cope with his less than perfect life. I knew, of course, what he was like before I married him. We courted for five years and there was no question in my mind on my wedding day that I was not marrying the stable doctor or lawyer that my Jewish mother had hoped for. But at that point Jacob’s creativity had pulled me in and I found it a welcome relief from the stodgy thinking of all the more suitable men I knew. And I would still feel that way about his creativity if he, in fact, ever displayed any these days. Instead, he’s gotten more and more conservative and worried about money and job stability and all those things that he scoffed at back so many years ago.

But Jacob is not the only one who has changed; so have I. In fact, I am a different person than when we married. I, always the more serious one, have come to realize that fun is something not to be taken for granted. It can disappear like mist in the morning sun. It is not a basic of life, but a wonderful adjunct and one that has been sorely missing from my life for far too long.

I think that’s how everything got the life sucked out of it – no fun.

So, call me a cold, unfeeling wife. Call me whatever you like. I’m going to shift my life to what will make it worth living – good ole merrymaking with laughter thrown in for good measure. And if that makes me a villain, then so be it. At least I’ll be a happy one.

And who knows? Maybe Jacob will smile again once I’m gone. I hope so anyway.

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