The Answer

The Answer

In my own marriage, sometimes I feel like I’m in unfamiliar territory. My wife, a corporate planner, applies that same work ethic to our relationship. She exceeds efficiency, every day is orderly beyond calendar means and there seems to be a plan when chaos or disorder evolves. She scrawls detailed lists in her business organizer, crossing items off vigorously, even on weekends.

And it’s only gotten worse. Last Sunday, I suggested a drive to the Kettle Moraine just to see the leaves changing color. She looked at me as if I’d requested we ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

I’m the complete opposite: a disaster waiting to happen. I’m chronically late, which drives Tabitha insane. I’m sloppy, despite her pleas for self-grooming, or pre-made appointments for endless services that I avoid: hair, nails, massage; there’s a whole world of them. I slouch, no matter how hard I try to stand up straight. And I’m fairly inept, socially. Would rather just stand in a corner and drink.

I was late for our wedding. It wasn’t entirely my fault. Is it ever? This time I’d depended upon my best man, Carlos, for a ride to the chapel. Yeah, it was Tabitha’s idea to get married in a freaking chapel, and not just any random one. The Frank Lloyd Wright Chapel in Palos Verdes. Cost a fucking fortune. We paid for most of it with family money.

Um, her family money.

Okay, there’s the biggest difference. She makes two bills a year. That’s 200 thou. I’m a school teacher. Spanish. I barely know the language. It’s been so long since I’ve read anything in Spanish other than our required text book, I can’t remember when I did. Pathetic. And Carlos Castenada doesn’t count, Carlos tells me.

Even the sex, which used to be good (was it? Maybe more frequent) has become perfunctory. I wonder if she’s keeping records of this, too. Would she categorize notes by position? Duration? Success?

Often, I wonder, how did we end up together?

The unsolvable question.

She’d have the answer, no doubt. Yup, she’d know.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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9 Responses to The Answer

  1. Andrea says:

    Excellent use of words.

  2. Angie says:

    I love the character descriptions, especially the dichotomy of their relationship. I want to hear the rest of this story.

  3. Dez says:

    Great exploration into marriage, and this character seems like many friends I have: sure about the girl before the wedding, then what happens next? The only thing I might suggest is a little more physical descriptions. I had a hard time visualizing Tabitha more than the protagonist. And you are so great with dialogue, it would be fun to “hear” them interact. Do you plan to take this further?

  4. david says:

    to quote a recently received e-mail: “meet cheating housewives, doing filthy things…”

  5. Shari says:

    This made me want to read more, more, more…I liked it very much. I am so happy that you have a daily blog. It breaks my day up with these moments of wonderful words. Thanks.

  6. Tom Froehlich says:

    Nice contrast. What I find most interesting and humorous is he seems to have no remorse regarding his unkempt life and demeanor. In my experience it’s always the slob who can’t see the value in order. He’s yet another one!

  7. Don says:

    Digging this one, Robert. Nice disparity between husband and wife. I seem to fall a little closer to the hubby in this case.

  8. Angela says:

    Were you in Miami recently? OX@

  9. david says:

    I think I read this?? or is this deja vu??

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