Won top ten in contest held by www.virtualbookworm.com,
then to be included in their e-book, "A Potpouri of Creativity"
Home Sweet Home
a story by Lauren Knapp
My name is Sam Leigh, and I found out the hard way marriage is not for me. As
they say here in Texas, that dog don't hunt. At least, not for me. I got out,
just in the nick of time.
My "woman", as I so affectionately and commonly used to refer to
her, was quite the piece. She could take a perfectly sunny and breezy day and in
two blinks of an eye turn it into a simultaneous setting for history's worst
tidal wave, earthquake, and hurricane. She was trim and "spunky" when
we first got together seven years ago. I even thought she was kind of cute with
her wild hair and bull by the horns attitude. At our wedding I chuckled and
rolled my eyes when she mooned all the bridesmaids instead of throwing the
bouquet. One month into our marriage when she took my leather address book, set
it out in the middle of the driveway, and exploded it with my twelve gauge
because it contained two unidentifiable female’s numbers, I started to wonder.
After that it was all downhill, but I persevered, because MY marriage was going
I always thought the fact that she could never get pregnant was a blessing
from God, kind of a compensation for the mess I was in. I pictured some little
soul up there shaking in his boots for fear of being born to this woman. The
harder she tried, the more frustrated she'd get, the more hell I'd get. For
about a year she thought it was all my fault. She started out nicely; it was
oysters, sweet potatoes, protein drinks, and fistfuls of vitamins in my lunch
every day. She'd call up work to verify that I had eaten every bit, varying the
victims of her interrogations. She didn't care what anyone thought, especially
me. Once I got fed up, chucked my homemade "lunch" in the trash, and
bolted for Burger King. Two hours later my ears were ringing from her screeches
in the earpiece of the phone. I never found out who told her where I went, but
somehow, probably through brute force and threats, she attained an inside source
at B & T Paint & Body.
As if my nauseating diet wasn't enough, after all that she started insulting
my genes, sexual performance, and my, well, you know. Well that kind of put a
real damper on everything, to say the least. We couldn't go anywhere, see
anyone, do anything without a nasty reference to my "bad chromosomes".
I thought maybe this was a phase; kind of a little valley before a great peak,
but it just got worse.
She started waking up before me and banging pots and pans in the kitchen. I
wore earplugs but she just got louder. I'd drag myself to work with dark circles
and the guys would just look at me with this sad look, like I had some terminal
illness. Then I'd come home exhausted, on my last leg. This was the part when
she liked to become an anchor woman, loudly informing me of the latest medical
research on male infertility, specifically on the relevant hazards of exposure
to automotive chemicals. Sometimes I'd find myself drifting off with her
trailing words on chemicals, envisioning myself prostrate on the floor with a
bottle of brake cleaner in my hand. Just down the whole thing, I would think.
Just end it now and escape that guttural squawking and her now very large
presence. It was almost like she decided that if she wasn't pregnant well then
she would at least look like it. Once when she was immodestly undressing for bed
I did a double take and just stared. No, it wasn't one of those kind of stares a
man has when his girl is sensuously slipping off those delicate spaghetti
straps, letting that silky piece float to the floor, opening his arms to her
beautiful body that pervades the room and his soul like forest fire. Let's just
say that night I had BIG nightmares.
She was getting to me. But the more repulsed I became, the more she would
charge at me, like a wild bull. She started showing up at work and badgering me
there, in front of everyone. With her arms crossed and feet spread in "cop
stance" the barrage of questions, accusations, and insults would begin. I'd
be working on a car, and she would follow me around like a huge overstuffed
bumble bee. I guess she deduced that because I wouldn't touch her or even get
near her anymore that I was having an affair. To tell the truth, all I wanted
was peace. Just quiet and peace and solitude.
It's bedtime now. I yawn as the clang of metal bars slams in front me. It's a
pretty, kind of discord, a triumphant noise for the end of the day. I smile and
thank God for the beautiful opportunity that presented itself to me one day just
four months ago: a speeding ticket. All day it had been cloudy and raining. The
roads were slick, but I didn't care. I decided to be extra reckless and sped up
to hydroplane. The slow hand of the police officer moved across his little book,
his head bent down and eyes squinting at my drivers license information. A
sudden flash of inspiration, like the freedom and ultimate love of heaven
overwhelmed me and sent tendrils of warmth throughout me. It couldn't be more
perfect; well it was almost suicide with a Texas officer. I shoved the car door
open, flinging the heavyset man to the ground. By the time he reached for his
gun I was just past my car, in full apparent flight of the law. Fortunately I
had picked the wrong man to mess with.
They say I'll be here for quite some time, and I can forget about hanging
onto anything. Even my wife.