Chapter 1 What’s A Marriage

Chapter 1

“Bill,” Julie groaned as the alarm blared in her ear.  It is time to get up! As she rolled over, she realized that the covers were still in place from the night before.  Frantically she jumped out of bed to check to see if her husband had even made it home. There was no sign that he had come home and her mind wandered in so many different places.  Was he in a car accident, maybe he was stuck in traffic, or maybe he had been with having an affair with another woman. Ok, ok let’s not even think of that. Off to the left was the kitchen; she peeped her head to look and noticed the light flashing on the answering machine.  She grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down to hear the voice message “Hey Julie, sorry I did not call sooner but my flight was late and I stayed overnight at the airport so I should be home by mid-afternoon. I love you”. “I love you; she laughed, since when does he leave me that kind of message”? She put her robe on and walked out to the living room. Everything seemed to be in place.

At least I know he is safe and doesn’t have to worry that something happened to him. Well, living the life of being married to a business executive is not all it is cracked up to be even though we have just about everything we could ever want in life, including a big beautiful mahogany wood home in the middle of nowhere, or so it feels that way. It takes about fifteen minutes to get to the local grocery mart and another ten to get to work.  Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a small town but not when you cannot share the little things in life with the one you love, It makes very little sense to have it all. Bill is away on business approximately three weeks out of the month, and so the week he is here he is at the office closing deals. By the time I get a chance to see him he is off and ready for his next three-week adventure. It is not the fairytale I envisioned it would be for us.  Unfortunately, because of his job we have had to move away from my family and friends. My mom and I were very close, but since Bill and I moved to Vermont and because she lives so far away, we barely have time to see one another. I have an older brother, who is actively deployed right now in Sudan. Unfortunately, my father passed away from complications due to diabetes. Bill has a massively big family, most of which I do not get along with due to the fact my family was not filthy rich and they felt I was not good enough for their son, so we keep our distance. Even though we are very friendly with each other around the holidays, I mostly stay to myself. My best friend Wendy and I both work at a coffee shop downtown. She has been such a rock for me and has seen me at my very worst, but she does not know all the dark secrets I had about my marriage. I guess it is a fear of hearing what I may already know but don’t want to face   My husband, and I do not need the money. Working is just something I do for myself in order to stay sane. Trying to keep Bill happy takes work, he comes home grumpy and tired, so I make him as comfortable as possible and don’t bother him with my daily struggles, that is if I had any for the day. If I am going, to be honest with myself, Bill and I have not made love in months. He seems very distracted by everything around him, so sometimes I wonder if he even notices us anymore. “Poor me?” she cried out. I am always at the helm of someone else, always feeling alone and no one to share with what I am feeling and how miserable things are, I try so hard to keep it together and to keep things interesting. I would love to go back to school and get a degree in Psychology or maybe even have a couple of children. What I want is to have my partner back and feel the way we once did before he got this executive position. Complaining I guess won’t do any good so I will keep pushing forward hoping things will improve. So I guess it will start with me tonight.

She decided that tonight she was going to romance her husband with his favorite meal and dress up for him like she used to do.  She went to the store, with a list in hand she headed off inside to the MerryMart. She picked up Bill’s favorite, watermelon and headed off to the vegetable section to pick up some fresh lettuce, cucumbers, and carrots.  She tried to decide whether she was going to pick up a roast or a chicken breast. Both were his favorites, but she did not have hours to cook it, so she finally went with the chicken breast and held off on the roast for a later time.

“Julie is that you?”, she swiftly turned to see who was calling out her name.

“James, oh my gosh I have not seen you since we graduated. They embraced.

“How are you doing?” James asked

“I am doing pretty good, just getting dinner for my husband and me.”

“ I see, well I do not want to hold you up. It was good to see you again.” He turned to walk away.

“James wait” Julie called out.” Look I realize we have not spoken in many years but please forgive me, I never meant to hurt you.

“Oh you mean since Bill was such a good catch and you decided to walk away from me just because I did not have money.

“Not true,” Julie snarled. I loved you James, but things just got to be too overwhelming, I was trying to put myself through school and at the time my father was very sick.”

“And good ole William promised to be your knight in shining armor and whisked you away. So tell me, Julie, how is that working for you?”

Julie glared hard at James, “ who the hell do you think you are? Questioning my relationship with my husband, we could not be happier, so maybe you should mind your own business”!

“Oh Julie you do not hide misery very well, but I will let you keep believing that. Have a good night.”

Just like that, he was gone. She pulled herself together and paid for the items in her cart. She turned on the radio in the car only to hear “I just called to say I love you,” what is with this day she shouted! Her mind starting thinking back to the conversation with James and that he was right in everything he said and she felt he was one of the very few people to understand her, but Bill had come between them and it was not something she was proud of either but what could she do? It was so long ago, and there wasn’t anything she could do to change it. She was curious why James in her small town.  As she had heard, he was a travel agent and spent most of his time out of the country. Rrrrring

“Hey, sweetheart it is me.”

“I knew it was you honey, so I decided to stop at the store and grab us some dinner.t should be done by the time you get home this afternoon.”

“Uh about that I actually won’t be home until Friday, the boss called about a last-minute deal.”

“Damn it Bill cannot we ever just have a normal week or even a normal life”?

We could take a two-day getaway anywhere you want to go! I think we need to talk anyway so that would be the perfect time to do it so. Let me know where you want to go and send me an email or voicemail.”

“Are you kidding me right now? I feel like I am making a business deal with you instead of a husband and wife getaway but whatever you want”.

“Thank you, dear and I will see you in 2 days”.  

God this man is unbelievable she said to herself. She pulled into the driveway and went inside to put away the groceries that she had just purchased for nothing. She decided she was not going to sit at home tonight all by herself so she called Wendy to see if she would like to meet for dinner.

“Hello, hey Wendy are you busy tonight?”

“I am doing absolutely nothing. What were you thinking, dinner and a movie or just some take out and hang out at my place?”

“Oh both sound enticing, but I think just dinner would be good. I do not think a movie is in order for me tonight unless it is a horror show.” Julie laughed out loud.

“Oh wow, rough night huh?”

“We can talk later. Thanks, Wendy. I will meet you at five o’ clock  at Betty’s Dinner.”

“Ok, see you then.”

She sat down on her bed feeling sorry for herself not knowing from one day to the next whether things would work itself out or it was going just to come crumbling down all at once.  Looking out the back patio, all Julie could see was the beautiful leaves that started falling off the trees, her favorite time of year. There was a little bit of time before she needed to get ready for dinner, so she decided to take a walk. She needed to clear her mind because there was so much going through it. How could this marriage have fallen apart so quickly? He started out being the best husband anyone could ask for, but when he got his promotion, it is like his desire turned directly to work, and our lives started becoming less involved.  Before they moved in together but she did not have much of anything, other than her clothes and some money she had saved from a previous job. She had never been on her own, so she had undoubtedly dreamed of being independent and not always relying on someone else to take care of her. Bill did not want her working or doing much of anything except doing wifely duties such as cleaning the house, going for groceries, cooking dinner every night and paying some of the bills. Bill only allowed me to see the household bills because he had his expenses that didn’t entail me getting involved, so I stay out of it.  I need to search myself and decide what’s best for me because I feel at my wit’s end.

After a nice walk, she returned home and hopped in the shower and grabbed one of her cute cocktail dresses. She put on some heels and a touch of perfume. Julie had autumn colored hair that flowed down to her waistline and had a slim figure. She swiped her keys and headed to the car like a girl on a mission. She pulls up to Betty’s Dinner, and Wendy’s car was already there, so she stepped inside to meet her friend. As she scoured around the room, she spotted Wendy and went to sit down.

“Hey girl,” give me hugs! How’s my girl doing today?” Wendy chuckled.

“Well I am doing ok you know the usual,” Julie said with a smirk on her face.”

“Ok, Jules something is going on, what’s up?”

Julie hesitated for a moment, then asked for a cigarette.

“ That bad huh?”

“ My marriage is falling apart, and I do not know how to fix the situation! Every time I turn around Bill goes on another business trip, and then I do not get to see or talk to him very much. I do not talk about his needs, my needs or anything. I want to have kids and make a career for myself. I love working at the coffee shop, but it is not enough.”

Wendy just looked at me in awe. “Julie you have everything you could have possibly ever wanted no money worries, not wondering where your next meal is coming from, you have such a beautiful house.”

“I am sorry I should not have said that!”

“ Nah it is okay, I guess you are right.”

Julie and Wendy both laughed at the sarcasm.

“So really what are you going to do?”

 “I guess I will continue to deal with it. What other choice do I have? Without Bill, I would have nothing. I know my family would be there to help me, but they do not even know half of what I go through. My mom has enough to worry about without me adding to her stress”.  

“Good evening ladies my name is Cindy, as she walked up to the table.  I will be your server tonight. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

“Go ahead Julie, you first.”

“I will have a root beer float with a glass of water.”

“And for you dear?”

“I will have a raspberry lemonade.”

“Anything else for you right now?”

“ No  I think we are good for now, thank you,” Wendy said

As they continued to talk and have their dinner, Julie noticed a man sitting at the on the other side of the diner and she really couldn’t see who it was but from a distance, it looked like James, and he was with someone.  

“Wendy, look I think James is here!”

“ Wait, what?” James from school she blurted out loudly.

“ Shhhh don’t bring attention to our table. I ran into him today at the market!”

“Oh, and how did that go?”

“I think James is still harboring old feelings because I chose to be with Bill instead.”

“And are you regretting that decision?”, Wendy snickered.

“I have not forgotten James. He was one of my best friends and lovers, but somehow Bill came in and swept me off my feet and I never looked back. If I could go back and change things…well I guess we will not ever really know that out because I am married and as it appears James is also taken so spending another minute wishing is not going to do me any good.”

Sadness washed over her face, as she sighed.

“Thank you, my dear friend, for coming here to meet with me for dinner, but I am starting not to feel well and need to go home and rest. Bill will be coming home in a few days and I should probably get the house taken care of. It is starting to look like a pig’s pen. She was able to blurt out a laugh.  

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