on “March 3rd”
… Part 1.
When Carmen enters the bedroom with a mug full of steaming liquid, you shake your head and mutter something about it having taken forever.
“Do you know what today is?” your wife asks as she sits down next to you on the bed.
Your face reddens, and it is not because of the warm coffee.
“Can’t she just leave me alone? It’s the weekend, for crying out loud,” you think to yourself, and place the coffee mug on your nightstand.
“Of course! It’s Saturday!” you exclaim and cross your arms.
“Yes… It’s Saturday… It’s also March the 3rd…” Carmen tries to lead you on.
“Just tell me!” you scream out as you get out of bed. “Is it our anniversary?” you ask as you pace across the room.
“No,” Carmen replies and sighs heavily.
“Your mother’s birthday or some crap like that?” you ask, getting tired of the guessing game. “You either tell me, or you don’t. I could care less.”
“Couldn’t,” she says softly.
“What?” you ask, and curse under your breath. The coffee is still scorching hot.
“You couldn’t care less. By saying you could care less -“
“We’re done here,” you interrupt and head towards the door.
“Today is when my book hits the shelves. The book signing is today. At Barnes and Noble. 3 p.m.” Carmen says with a gleam in her eyes.
“Oh,” you say as you give a clenched half-smile. “Congratulations,” you add, realizing the expectations. You assure your wife that the book signing will go great and that many people will show up. She looks like she is eating it up, all smiles and giggles. But you know better. There is no way anyone other than her agent will show up unless by accident. Your wife is not a writer. But she had always had pipe dreams.
“Have you thought of what you’re going to wear?” Carmen asks, standing up and walking to the closet.
“Ummm… clothes?” you ask with a smirk.
As Carmen talks about what she plans to wear while browsing through your clothes, you realize she expects you to go with her. “As if,” you think to yourself. Not listening to anything your wife is saying, you leave the room to go relieve yourself. You chuckle as you make a bet with yourself that Carmen will still be browsing through clothes and chattering when you return from the bathroom.
Just like you expected, you find your wife looking at two shirts hanging side by side, and talking about patterns. Without skipping a beat, she turns around and hands you one of the shirts. It’s a navy short-sleeve with colorful dots all over. It reminds you of the galaxy.
“Hold it up to your chest,” Carmen directs you, and you follow her instructions just to entertain her.
“Alright. Now, this one,” she says, taking the navy shirt away from you and handing you a green one.
The pattern reminds you of nothing. It’s a bunch of squares and squiggly lines. For a moment, you wonder where this ridiculous shirt came from but then realize that, most likely, it came from the same place as 99% of the other shirts – Carmen. She insists on dressing you, and you let her. While you have control of everything else in your lives, you feel comfortable granting her that one thing. “Let her feel important,” you remind yourself.
“Yes. Definitely that one,” she says, pointing to the green monstrosity you are still holding against your chest.
“You know I won’t be able to go with you, right?” you ask, tired of the charade.
For a minute or two, you go back and forth, explaining to your wife why you will not be able to accompany her to her silly book signing. In response, she tells you how she already cleared it with your boss and that she will not take ‘no’ for an answer.
You consider storming off, but she kneels down in front of you and cups your groin. Your bulge hardens, and you close your eyes, ready for some loving. This morning has been unnecessarily negative so far. It was time for things to get better.
When you open your eyes, you see Carmen looking at you with a smile. She licks her lips and stands up.
“Wear the green shirt and a pair of black jeans. Be ready by 2.30 p.m.,” she says before walking out of the room.
After what this woman had just done for you, you decide to reward her and go to that damned book signing. “It can’t be that long,” you think to yourself as you lay down for a small nap.
When you wake up, it’s almost noon, and your stomach rumbles. You listen out for Carmen in the kitchen but hear nothing, so you get out of bed to go find her.
“It’s lunchtime!” you announce as you enter the empty kitchen.
After a quick search of the two-bedroom apartment, you come to the conclusion that your wife is not home, which means you have to fend for yourself.
Back in the kitchen, you spot a note on the counter.
I had some last-minute errands to run.
A driver will pick you up at 2.30 sharp.
I’ll meet you there.
“A driver?” you wonder, tilting your head to the side.
The noises your stomach makes remind you that you need food. Thankfully, the freezer holds a personal pepperoni pizza. You pull it out of the box, set the temperature, and toss the pie onto the rack without waiting for the oven to preheat. You think preheating is a waste of time.
Carmen likes to go out to dinner on special occasions, and today is definitely a special one. She is now a published author. You think about letting her pay for dinner. “It will make her feel more accomplished,” you tell yourself.
At 2.29 p.m., you look out the window and see a black limo parked right in front of your door. The driver, wearing a uniform, stands next to the back door. He tips his hat as he notices you watching him, and opens the door. You have no choice but to make your way outside.
Once you confirm with the driver that he is indeed there for you, you get inside of the limo and sink into the comfy leather seat. Before closing the door, the driver informs you about the fully-stocked bar to your left and you grin.
“The bookstore is unusually crowded,” you think at first, but quickly realize that it is Saturday afternoon, which makes it probably for the busiest of times. People are about done running their errands, so they stop at a bookstore to grab something to read with their Sunday morning coffee. You chuckle to yourself as you think of a housewife reading a picture book.
“I could be a writer if I wanted to,” you conclude, as you make your way towards the back corner of the store where most people are gathered.
It takes you a moment to recognize the woman as Carmen. The last time she was so dolled up was probably your wedding day. Her hair is dyed a perfect shade of raven black and now sits in a bun at the nape of her back. You notice her smokey eyes but what attracts your attention the most are her blood-red lips. It matches the dress she’s wearing.
“She needs to start caring for herself, again,” you decide. Your wife is not unattractive, but sometimes it’s hard to see past the oversized T-shirt and sweats.
Carmen is moving her lips. You guess that she is reading an excerpt from her book. A book you don’t even know what it’s about, but you don’t really care. You assume it’s a chick-flick. As you draw near, you validate your assumptions. You can hear Carmen talk about a girl falling for a boy. Blah, blah, blah…
She lifts up her eyes and looks straight at you. It makes you wonder if she knew you would be at that exact spot in that exact moment or if it was just a lucky coincidence. You can see the corners of her mouth lift slightly, and you smile. Such a supportive husband you are.
“This book is dedicated to my husband – Trent,” Carmen says.
“He was my inspiration for this novel,” she continues, and you lift up your chin.
Carmen turns her eyes back to the words on the pages of her book.
“Joe arrived at home to a porch covered in suitcases. ‘What is this?’ he asked out loud, pulling papers out of a large envelope which rested atop of one of the suitcases. ‘Divorce papers?’ he asks, bewildered. ‘Yes, Joe. I want divorce,’ announces Jane from the doorway,” Carmen reads and you roll your eyes.
“Such a cliche,” you think.
“I want divorce,” Carmen adds, looking straight at you.
The crowd applauds.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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