She cooked his favorite supper and waited for him to get home from work. Six o’clock turned into seven, so she called to see what kept him. When he didn’t answer she left a voice mail.
Are you working late? Are you on your way home?
After a half hour, she tried again, tamping down her suspicions, quieting her imagination. She schooled her voice to cover her concern.
I made your favorite supper. Should I go ahead and eat without you?
At nine o’clock, she put away the food, her hunger replaced with anger and disappointment.
The cycle was starting again. She knew what to expect next.
He started coming home later and later each day. At first, he blamed work, and instead of six, the norm became ten or eleven at night. She stopped asking for an explanation, because when she did, he yelled at her; he accused her of nagging.
Her silence gave him license to do whatever he pleased, but even when she dared to utter a protest, he turned the blame on her.
Are you gaining weight again? Look how you dress. Can’t you do something with your hair?
He never hit her but his words felt like fists, pounding away at her insecurities and shielding his infidelities.
She stopped liking him long before she stopped loving him, so when there was nothing left between them, she demanded he leave.
Insulted, he packed the tiny bit of him that remained in the house and left.
She changed the locks and the bank accounts. She called a lawyer and got divorced. His love affairs never lasted long, so she knew he would call wanting a “home” again. He listed all the same lame promises she had heard before many times, but when he started naming what she needed to change, she hung up on him.
He was nothing to her. He had no right to insult her any more.
When his voice mails got fewer and fewer, she knew his nonsense lived elsewhere. He had found someone else to own.
She, on the other hand, lived wonderfully, ecstatically, happily ever after.