Arrears

weddingring_arrears.jpg

arrears

  1. the state of being behind or late, especially inthe fulfillment of a duty, promise, obligation, or the like: Many homeowners have fallen into arrears.

Rachael entered the penthouse suite checking the latest round of messages that had just been sent to her. She was thrilled about the upcoming acquisition her company was making, but all the messages were starting to wear away at her. The stress was starting to get to her. Rachael dropped her purse on the glass dinner table that seated 12 and headed toward the kitchen. She was so engrossed in her lawyer’s last two messages that she didn’t see her husband at the dinner table until she came back with some water. She started to remove her stilettos when Michael cleared his throat purposefully to get her attention.

“Have you been there this whole time?”

Rachael started to laugh at her inability to concentrate on two things at once. She was a savvy business woman, but extremely poor at multitasking.

“Yes…”

His tone was serious, too serious for Rachael’s taste. She was usually the serious one.

He had something to say.

“I’m leaving.”

The smile seemed stuck as shock and confusion filled her mind and poured onto her face.

She didn’t understand what he was saying, and even thought she was one of the few CEOs who ran a company and wrote all of her speeches, she couldn’t find the words to communicate her confusion.

Michael looked completely calm. Maybe she misunderstood him.

“Wha–”

“Leaving, Rachael. Leaving you, leaving this life. I can’t do it anymore.”

No, she understood him. Her mind raced, frantic. She hadn’t realized their relationship was in such arrears.

“What are you saying?” Her voice was quieter than she’d ever remembered it being. “You can’t be serious.”

Subconsciously she wondered why denial was always her first response. When things didn’t go her way, she always found the bargaining chip, the weak point that caused someone else to acquiesce. Everyone always had a price or a vice and she always found it. But right now she had no idea what would make her husband stay. Fear of loneliness? A life without her? No. His honor?

“You promised,” Rachael said, feeling more confident. “We made vows.”

Michael looked away. He hated reneging on his word.

“And I meant them…but I can’t do this. I’m tired and I’m done waiting for you to have enough. I promised to love you and you promised to love me, but you love your job. That’s what you’ve been married to–loving day in and day out–not me. I see that now.”

Rachael wanted to deny it, but she couldn’t.

Tears filled both of their eyes.

“You said you’d always love me, Mikey” she said, her voice breaking.

“I did… and I still do… but I realized I’m not enough for you…and loving you is killing me.”

Rachael covered her mouth and looked away. For some reason she wanted to still look strong in front of her husband. She didn’t want to seem weak. But it was too late. Her body shook with silent sobs.

“Mikey… don’t…” She couldn’t keep the pleading from her voice.

Michael picked up a small leather bag from the floor and put the strap across his body, resting the bag on his lap. It was hard for him to look at Rachael like this. Her tears had always hurt him. He pushed his wheelchair back from the table and wheeled to his wife’s side. He took her right hand and kissed it, the way he had on their first date, when he was being silly and she was nervous to be with someone so ambitious and accomplished. That was before the accident, the business, the miscarriages, or real life had landed on them like Dorothy’s house in the Wizard of Oz. Back when they were happy.

This time, when Michael took her hand, one of his tears rolled onto the back of her hand. And when their eyes met, there was no sparkle, but a charred field of pain and devastation.

“I’ll have the rest of my things picked up later.”

Michael wheeled toward the door.

“I would never do this to you!”

“Ray, you left a long time ago. Life got too hard and you never came home… and I never blamed you for that…and I still don’t blame you now.”

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