Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't Ask, Dont Tell (One)

I have never been a morning person. I roll over and pull the sheets over my head when the first rays of the sun creep over the horizon and give birth to the rosy fingers of dawn. Call me bitter if you like. I hate the morning. It’s just a grim reminder that I have to look my husband in the face another day. Which means he’s still alive.
I used to love
Jackson, once upon a time. He used to love me. We had a fairy-tale romance, a fairy-tale wedding, a fairy-tale honeymoon and a fairy-tale marriage. I used to think he was so talented, so smart. He was amazing in bed. I’m blushing just thinking about it. Jackson was the only man who ever made my legs shake. He did things to my body that were inexplicable. Now, I don’t even remember the last time we had a good romp.
He’d never given me a reason why our love cooled off. Partly because I never asked. We just seemed to let it go. I never asked him where he was going or when he’d be back. Vice versa. We came and went as we pleased; the only common courtesies we bestowed upon each other were the simple pleasantries: Good morning. Want some coffee? Please. Thank you. Excuse me. How was your day? Goodnight. Our conversations rarely went any further than that. Neither of us had reached for the divorce papers yet. I don’t know what we were waiting for. Maybe inside we were hoping something better would come along and we could go back to the way things used to be.
I hear Jackson pull up in front of our house. He always slams the front door. In a moment, he’ll come up the stairs with a beer. I’m already in bed. He comes into the bedroom, his suit jacket and briefcase in one arm and his Heineken in the other. I have my face buried in a book and I pretend not to be watching him. He sets his briefcase down.
“Evenin, Ivy.”
“Hello, Jackson.”
“Whatcha got there?”
“Any good?”
That was that. He changed his clothes then, never in front of me, always in the closet. We used to take each other’s clothes off and leave them in piles at the foot of the bed. Those were the good old days. He came out in his boxers, pulling his sheet back and turning on the television. He drank his beer, watching Letterman and giving a half-hearted laugh every once in a while. It went off and he flicked off his light.
“Night Ivy.”
“Goodnight Jackson.”

I could smell, very faintly, the odor of a woman’s perfume. And so it began.

Ivy could be such a bitch. I love her, or at least I think I do. When I met her, she took me by surprise. She made me love her. I had never been hit as hard or as fast as I was when I found out I loved her. That feeling has long since passed. I hate to say it but she makes me regret the day I said I do. It’s not a good feeling, being unattached from your wife. You didn’t get married to fall out of love.
It seemed like the seconds between us have stretched into minutes. Then into hours and days and weeks and as far as I remember, it’s been at least a year since she and I had a really good conversation. Or even really good sex. Everyone I know said the sex was awful once they got married. Not with Ivy, it wasn’t. That woman’s body made me thank God I was a man. But it seems as of late I can’t remember what she looks like naked.
Everything just died between us. First, we stopped doing little things together, holding hands in public, going out to dinner. She stopped reading to me at night. I stopped running my fingers through her hair. We stopped talking. Then the sex stopped. We got separate cars, separate lives. I thought it would be a matter of time before we got separate bedrooms, but she seemed content to stay the way we were.

I met Karinna some time ago. To be honest, I don’t know how it happened. She just sort of stumbled into my life. I needed a secretary and she needed job. Karinna filled the void that Ivy left. No one knew me better than my wife, but since I didn’t really know Ivy anymore, Karinna was the next best thing. I didn’t love Karinna; it was more of a really strong like. She was just something that kept me stable for the moment. I hated leading her on, but I needed what Karinna gave me. Gentle security.
She’s so cold now, and so am I. We were just going through the motions until one of us decided to sign the papers. I don’t even know if she wants the divorce. Or if she’s just toying with me, hoping I’ll be miserable until I die. I came home tonight and I could feel her eyes boring a hole into my back. The air was tight with what we were never going to say. I hated it. I don’t know how she felt on the inside, but on the outside, she was frozen solid. Almost as if none of this had any effect on her. That’s what made me so mad. Nothing seemed to faze her. She seemed fine with the thick silent hot air between us.
I couldn’t find it, but I know there was some part of me that still loved Ivy. At least I think so.

(c) 2006 Jacki Simmons
All rights reserved.
Note: Violators will be subject to a serious Harlem beatdown if plagiarism is suspected.


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Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take and may this song play all the way, through. And if it skip a beat, hit repeat, this the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. If it skip a beat, hit repeat, This the realest shit I ever wrote, this is me. -Juelz Sanatana, This Is Me, What The Game's Been Missing