How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


The Anniversary Gift

I heard a story today about a friend’s sister whose husband, out of the blue, laid the I want a divorce card on the table. She thought their marriage was good. Now this. I thought I’d play with that idea.

~ * ~

“So, what do you think Joe? Shall we go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary next Saturday or what?”

Joe stared at his dinner plate. He’d been quieter than usual for weeks. Pat could see no apparent reason for this.

“Come on, Joe, it’s obvious something’s bothering you. What is it?”

No response.

He looked like a lost garden statue, she thought.

Pat closed her eyes and crossed her arms in a hugging manner. Joe had never been much of a talker but she didn’t know how much more cold silence she could take. It was hell living with a shell of a man who ignored her. He ate, slept and went to work. What was going on in that head of his? Maybe there were problems at the Xerox Lab where he worked? Everybody was cutting back these days. Maybe Joe was on the pink list.

“Joe, for the love of God, I can’t take this silent treatment anymore. Is it work or are you sick or what?” Pat hit the table with the palm of her hand just a bit harder than she’d intended.

Joe finally looked up. Pat almost cried with relief. He looked her straight in the eye and took a deep breath.

“Go on Joe. We’ve been married twenty-two years. There’s nothing we can’t talk about. Tell me. Let’s get it out in the open.”

“Are you quite sure about that, Pat? Can we talk about anything?” At first his voice was a whisper but as he continued, it grew stronger, more confident.

“I’ve been trying to figure out a way to let you down easy-like but as usual, you push and push at everything. He pointed a long finger at her across the table. You aren’t going to tell me what to do or how to do it anymore.”

Pat’s eyes blinked. She gasped and gripped the table. What was going on here? She’d never heard Joe so much as raise his voice in all the time she’d known him.

“Pat I want a divorce and I want it now. You can go celebrate your anniversary with your bossy mother or do any damn thing you want. I’m finished. Done.” Joe pushed back his chair and let it fall backwards with a clatter. He headed towards the front door. A hard slam reverberated like an exclamation point. A hush filled the air.

Pat slid down in her chair. She heard a girlish giggle. The little turd had finally found some balls. She wasn’t even shocked as much as relieved. Real peace at last.