I wrote this about two years ago with an idea from a friend. I’m actually pretty happy with it. Maybe I’ll take it further. If you enjoy it and you’d like to see more of this, let me know in the comments.
I suppose I noticed early on that something was different about her. In hindsight, I don’t understand how I could go so long without confronting it. She was so distant. It was like she was there, physically, but somewhere completely different mentally and spiritually. I loved her, and because I loved her, I guess I subconsciously neglected the problem, hoping that it would correct itself in time. But, then it never did. Eventually, everyone else caught on. She was rude and uncaring. She became more and more egocentric. She wasn’t herself. She treated me and others in bizarre ways, as if her entire moral consciousness was wiped clean and replaced with one of some pre-axial human being, unaware that there was any soul beyond itself. Some of the things she said left a bad taste in my own mouth. But, I was scared to tell her how much she had changed, how warped she was. I didn’t want to tell her that, with the way she was, I just didn’t love her anymore.
Seven months and twenty-six days. That’s the time it took before anyone realized that Marcie Jacobs was consciously living in a world completely outside of the real, physical world of which she was a member. Once the rest of us realized it, she was already deeply rooted into her separate universe. So much so that it would be nearly impossible to coax her out of her trance and bring her back to the world she belonged in.
“Babe, can you do me a favor and grab that green mug from the top shelf. It’s too high up and I really need to finish painting it or it’ll never get done,” Marcie called to me from the sitting room.
“Is it the one with the Celtic knotwork on the handle?” I asked. She was silent. “Marcie, knotwork? Yes? No?” She said nothing. “If you don’t tell me, I’ll never know,” I said with a tinge of annoyance in my voice.
I grabbed the mug and walked down the hall into the sitting room. Marcie was sitting on the window seat, staring out into the front lawn and humming. I sat down beside her and dropped the mug in her lap. “Babe, I’m not trying to be rude or anything, but, are you deaf? I asked you if this was the right mug, twice.” Still, she didn’t respond. I’ll admit it – I was getting a little aggravated and I think I overreacted. “Marcie!” This time, I shouted.
She screamed. She sprung to her feet, obviously startled. I watched as the mug jumped out of her lap, crashing onto the hardwood floor. “God damn it, Ray! What the hell is wrong with you? There was no need for you to scream like that! Now look at this mess –” she cried.
She was shaking, partially from the scare I’d given her and partially from how perfectly irate she was. She stood there, surveying the sight for a moment, and then scuffled off down the hall to the broom closet, cursing the entire way.
Feeling terrible, I stood there. I didn’t know whether I should try to help or just leave the room and let her cool off. I decided on the former. I moved swiftly down the hall to meet her before she got back into the room.
Taking the broom and dustpan from her, I stopped her in mid-stride and said, “Let me take care of it, babe. It was my fault; I’ve got this.” She glared at me, snatched the dustpan and broom back from me and shoved me aside, cursing under her breath again.
Rather than try my hand at being helpful again, I walked into the kitchen. From there, I heard her muttering to herself.
“’Let me take care of it, babe.’ Yeah, right. He can’t take care of shit. What the hell does he do around here anyway? He sits around, watching his football games and playing his fantasy sports. What do I do? I cook; I clean; I do his fucking laundry. Now, he goes and ruins the one thing that I want to do with my free time between work and taking care of his lazy ass. Perfect. Give the guy a goddamn medal.”
I was fuming just listening to her. She was the one that wouldn’t answer my question and she was the one that wasn’t paying attention. This really wasn’t my fault. I grabbed my wallet and car keys and started heading towards the front door. I heard behind me the crash of the ceramic pieces as they dropped into the bottom of a wastebasket and the thumps of the broom and dustpan as they hit the wall. Then, I heard her voice.
“While you’re out, do you want to grab me some honey butter from the grocery store. Honey butter on wheat sounds heavenly right now, don’t you think?”
I stopped and turned around. I could see her at the other end of the hall, sitting on the window seat, humming. I wasn’t sure whether to freak out about her radical mood swing or to be happy and skip to the store for her honey butter.
“I love you, Ray!”
I left. I went through the front door, got in my car, and drove to the store. I went straight for her honey butter, then down a few aisles for my favorite whiskey.
The dull hum of the sedan’s engine buzzed in my ear. I made the drive home almost subconsciously, unable to focus on the cracked, pothole-ridden road in front of me and simply going through the motions. I replayed the scene at home over and over in my head.
Marcie had always been a little strange. She had a way of changing moods at an unreasonably quick pace and sometimes I had trouble keeping up with her admittedly one-sided conversations with me. I used to think it was cute, the way she would completely dominate a conversation with all that she had to say. She’s so intelligent. That’s what originally made her so attractive. But, after five years of marriage, it stopped being cute and started irritating me. I could have even initiated the conversation, telling her about traffic on the way home from work or the data rush at the end of the week, and she would still find a way to cut me out. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a talker, but her constant struggle with me to take the lead every time we exchanged words had become so out of hand that, eventually, I just stopped fighting it.
I only spoke when spoken to, and for the first few months, my tactic worked. But, Marcie was smart and she caught on. When she confronted me about it, we fought. I vented my frustrations and she proceeded to yelling.