One Ring:Suncoast Society

By: Tymber Dalton

“Perfect. I’ll ask around tonight and get a crew put together. We’ll shoot for Wednesday.”

“I can’t believe I’ll have to go back and sleep in the same house with him.” She shuddered. “I can’t believe a couple of weeks ago I was trying to get him to touch me. Now I can barely stand the sight of him.”

“You did what you had to do. If you hadn’t, you might have been second-guessing yourself later. At least this way you know there wasn’t any other option. You gave it your best try.”

“He is really convinced that I’m the one with the problem.”

“Let me play devil’s advocate,” Marcia said. “Not to say he’s right, because he’s not. He’s not meeting you halfway, here. But what if the situation was reversed, and you were perfectly happy, for years, and suddenly he came out of the blue and told you he wasn’t?”

She thought about it. “I’d feel pretty shitty.”

“I’m not trying to make you change your mind,” Marcia emphasized. “And I’m not trying to make you feel guilty. I’m also not saying you handled things wrong. All I’m saying is that communication broke down a long time ago between you two. So when you’re dealing with him, keep in mind he’s painting you to be the bad guy for his own skewed reasons. He also might not want to admit he’s wrong. Or any number of things.”

“Now I’m even more confused. Should I stay and keep trying to work things out?”

“Not what I’m saying. I’m trying to give you perspective to help you combat your anger. Because anger will eat you alive, if you let it. I’ve seen it happen before. When you deal with him, try to do it with compassion, no matter how much of a raging doucheball asshole he’s being.”

That finally made her smile. “Raging doucheball asshole?”

“People react badly, sometimes, when their perfectly constructed fantasy is shattered. Are you absolutely sure he’s not cheating on you?”

“Positive. I doubt he’d have the willpower to follow through. He’s got a routine. He does his forty hours at work, punches his timeclock, comes home, does his chores, and sacks out in front of the TV. That’s the sum of his happy little universe. That is his greatest aspiration, to have TV time.”

“And he wasn’t like that when you met him?”

“No. Were we wild and crazy? No. Hell, if he’d not stopped wanting to make love to me, I could have dealt with the boring. But I can’t even get him to cuddle with me anymore. I cannot remember the last time I had an orgasm I didn’t have to give to myself.”

“What about him?”

“What about him? I don’t think the man masturbates, unless he does it in the shower. And I doubt he is. He just has no desire.”

“I really wish he’d go to the doctor,” Marcia said.

“So do I, but he got almost as angry at that suggestion as he did when I asked about counselling. If he’s not willing to try, I’m done with the one-sided war. The fact that he refuses to admit there’s a problem, and is putting it all on me, that I’m the one with the problem, only seals the deal. It’s time for me to leave before I’m so angry with him that I hate his guts.”

“Which is exactly what I was warning you about.”

Once Mel got herself pulled together, Marcia led her back to the guest room that would be her temporary digs. She’d have to find out how much the divorce would set her back, get her paycheck set up for direct deposit into a different bank account…

So much to do.

“We haven’t even talked about rent,” Mel said. “How much do you want me to pay?”

“Nothing. Chip in for groceries, if you’d like. Help out with chores. I’m guessing you won’t be here more than a couple of months before you figure out your next move. I know you. You are a take-charge kind of person who doesn’t like leaving things up in the air. And you like your freedom too much.”

“Yeah, that is true. I’ve felt anything but free lately. Which is stupid.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because here I thought by staying home with him, it might fix things. I thought that by limiting what I did, it’d bring us closer. All it did was cut me off from people I never should have distanced myself from. He couldn’t give a shit where I go or what I do. Hell, he’d prefer it if I just went and did things and not ask him to go with me. I stopped being me somewhere along the way and tried to be half of a broken marriage.”

“That never works.”

“Boy, I learned that the hard way.”

* * * *

Mel still wasn’t sure how to get out of going home tomorrow night. She might just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Maybe steal a page from Mike’s playbook and fall asleep on the sofa, spend the night out there, and claim oopsies.

Her back probably wouldn’t tolerate her doing that more than two nights in a row before it started protesting, though.

She grabbed a shower and changed into the black and purple dress she’d brought with her to wear tonight. She’d originally bought it on a whim a couple of years earlier, thinking it was pretty and had a flirty kind of vibe.

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