“So if you knew about her three months ago, why didn’t you say something, then. Why wait until four weeks ago?” Chris asked me.
“Say what? Would anything have made a difference?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. I don’t know. It just kind of happened. At the reception for the Waterman Apartments, she put her hand on my arm. I noticed she put her hands on me every chance she got. She smiled at me. Winked at me. Paid attention. You spent the entire reception schmoozing with Waterman and his wife. I could have fallen in a hole and you wouldn’t have known.”
“Chris, the only reason I was schmoozing was because you didn’t. You had just won a huge contract and it was your job to welcome Mr. Waterman and company, but instead of that, you invariably hid in a corner or behind a bush. Just like always.”
“You know I don’t do well in those situations. Forced socializing. I never know what to say.”
“Which is why Ben and I always had to do the schmoozing. Now, you are saying that’s the reason you and Kathy Skank got together, because I paid attention to your client just like you wanted me to do.”
“You always had something else to do. You took Lily to dance classes, you worked in your store, you did the shopping, the cooking. You never paid attention to me.” Did he really just say that?
I attacked. “You seemed to think if you brought a paycheck home once a week you did everything necessary to contribute to a happy home. Things had to get done and waiting for you to do anything is impossible. If I didn’t ride herd on the lawn service, the grass would be tall enough to hid a car. If I didn’t cook, you and Lily would starve. You don’t even take out the trash. Your sins of omission are piled as high as the ceiling. I refuse to take responsibility for your indiscretions. Kathy in your bed is not my fault.” Maybe if I said it often enough, I would start to believe it.
“So you’re saying it’s my fault?”
“Of course, it’s your fault. I am not sleeping with Kathy Skank.”
“Don’t call her that.”
“Kathy Skank. Kathy Skank. Kathy Skank.”
“That’s real mature,” he accused.
“I was the mature one for our entire marriage. You have never taken responsibility for anything that went wrong. You ran out of gas in your car, a car I never, ever drive and you came home, foaming at the mouth because somehow I didn’t put gas in it. You remember that? You left the blueprints for the Benson project on your desk in your office and went off to the meeting without them. You called me an hour later and yelled at me for ten minutes because the blueprints were in your office. I had nothing to do with that, but you blamed me all the same.”
“Well, you’re no prize to live with. You’re always too tired for sex. Most of the time, you go to bed before me and if I try to wake you up, you yell at me.”
“Did it ever occur that I fell asleep so early was because I was doing my job and yours? Did you ever think that maybe I was really tired?”
“Still, once in a while wouldn’t be too much to ask.”
My fury rose higher and higher. This conversation wasn’t productive, but maybe we were getting some of the buried stuff out in the open.
“You know what? You’re absolutely right. What was I thinking? Your massive-three-minute-in-the-sex-department effort wouldn’t have been too much to ask.”
“Kathy never complains,” he said, defensively.
“She wants something from you and you are too stupid to see it.”
“What could she want from me?”
“Let me see. She is twenty with a receptionist’s job and you have a stable career, a nice car, a nice house, credit cards, a swimming pool, a boat, vacations in the Caribbean. In one instant she can achieve the American Dream: Cars, cash, credit cards, maybe a condo.”
“She is twenty-three,” he said.
“You are impossible. Absolutely impossible,” I said and turned my head to watch the pine trees out of the window at my shoulder.
During all of our sniping, neither of us realized we missed the real reason we were at odds. It all had to do with Trip, our son who died two years, previously. Neither one of us had dealt with that death and suddenly, we had Lillian’s death to deal with, too.
Once again, Chris pulled the Cayenne over and we took the selfie of the Welcome to Georgia sign. Snow peed on Chris’s foot, which made me giggle. He looked down at his soggy sneaker and said called Snow a very ugly name. And he said I am immature.