Just Another Love Story

The sheet is tangled like a noose. I can’t break free of it. I twist and turn
only to become more enmeshed. He is cocooned in not just his share of the
sheets but mine as well. The steady hum of snoring like a washing machine
drones on. I will smother him, should my arms ever claw their way out of this six
hundred-thread count sarcophagus. With zero mercy, I kick my legs free, flip on
to my side and I am out, our marital bed still vibrating from the violent prison

How does he do that? He remains asleep on his back, still like a corpse,
except for that low and slow hum. I give my adoring husband a malevolent look
of disgust before slipping out of the room. I could have stomped out of the
bedroom, bleating out a loud and horrible version of Wagner’s Flight of the
Bumblebees, and Greg would still be off in dreamland. It’s not fair.

So little is.

I shiver as I wrap myself in what may be our dog Lucifer’s blanket. A stack
of unread books sits on a side table. I want nothing more than to immerse myself
but I must get some sleep or I might become even more murderous.
I am tossing and turning. That dam sleep will not come. He has smothered
me for years. I am broken. No longer young. No longer desirable in the eyes of
others. We are both paralyzed. Like pigeons on the ledge waiting for the same
scraps, that’s what it is to be old. Fighting for the crumbs of bread that some
young pigeon will snap from right under our dulled beaks.
Our time was yesterday. It is today. That shock wore off years ago as our
invisibility cloaks became visible.

In a moment of survival, I decide to become the fittest. I find a trainer. He
is warm, charming, complimentary. He sees hope in me. I see rippling muscles
and a great smile and I feel lust. I had forgotten what that feeling was like. It’s
the best motivator. I want to please him. I want… I want… I work out to his
drumbeat. His deep blue eyes staring into mine. I push myself harder. My
stomach muscles are exhausted, but my fantasy is the driver. I push even
harder. He seems pleased. I do jumping jacks until my knees begin to buckle.
He is sooo proud of me. I Venmo him for another dozen sessions. My girlfriends
begin to notice the changes in my body. My husband doesn’t. He is too busy
puttering in the woodshed. There is never a visible end-product to all this
puttering. Perhaps he is simply out there enjoying one of his not-so-secret naps.
I know he is not watching porn. Sex doesn’t interest him. My lasagna does!
Wanting to kill him is visceral but not on the table. My fantasies on how I
would do it are. Of course, the simplest would be to simply pick up my duck-down
pillow and hold it over his face. At least the snoring would stop. It would almost
be peaceful for both of us. The deal breaker in our marriage has been in effect almost since the beginning; that he could keep the hard, foam blocks he likens to
pillows but I get to keep my down dream-weavers. But knowing him, he would of
course start hacking in a coughing fit as he is allergic to feathers. He’d wake up –
gasping — but he’d be awake.

New plan.

His eyesight is terrible. He refuses to wear his glasses, mostly because he
has no idea where he left them. It would be easy. The braided beige silk tie from
our curtains stretched across the stairs. He’d never see it. He would trip and fall
headfirst to his death. Easy. Clean. Ties back on the drapes. The ambulance is
called. I, the grieving widow can barely speak from shock and grief. But what if
he just broke his legs and was confined to a wheelchair that I would then have to
push. Clorox in his coffee? No, the scent would be too potent. Hmmm…
Still thinking.

Perhaps I could make him a beautiful dinner — the main feature, grilled
mushrooms. He loves mushrooms. I just need to access some of the really
poisonous kind. I do a little research. “Ah ha! Perhaps the deadliest of all
mushrooms, the Death Cap, which is found throughout Europe and closely
resembles edible straw mushrooms. Its heat-stable amatoxins withstand cooking
temperatures. Within 6 to 12 hours, signs of severe involvement of the liver,
kidneys, and central nervous system. This condition leads to coma and death in
more than 50 percent of the incidents.” It does sound overly cruel.
I wonder if Amazon delivers.

Now that I’m fit enough. I like to hike our beautiful escarpment with its
gorgeous views seen from rugged, rocky outcroppings. He loves eagles. I could
point out a nest high up in one of the sentry-like lodgepole pines. He would step
to the edge and follow where my finger points. One shove and I could be back on
the market. A hot looking senior. Then I am reminded how slim the pickings are.
My hunky trainer only looks at me with warm smiles and twinkling eyes because I
am his paycheck.

I am comfortably jogging up what was once, not so long ago, the dreaded
hill that leads from our home to town. A deep cough overtakes me. Oh my God,
Is it COPD? I used to smoke. They were menthol for God’s sake! Isn’t that like
cough candies? It was just an affectation to make me appear more sophisticated
in my twenties. Is this IT catching up to me. What was I thinking? Being fit –
what’s it really going to get me? Yeah. Longer life… but still married to the man
who is stuck deep in complacency. Thankfully the coughing stops.
I turn the corner. Something is off. There is a large truck in our driveway.
Oh my God! Has he had enough of my nonsense? Have I pushed him away?

Have I talked in my sleep? I begin to jog faster and faster. Is this a moving truck?
No! I love my husband. He annoys the crap out of me sometimes, but he is a
good man. A kind man. What have I done?

I open our front door, breathless, afraid. I let out a sigh. Everything looks
as it should. No packing boxes. The furniture looks as always – other than my
husband is not in his leather lounger, remote in hand. It’s very quiet. Too quiet.
Loud music snaps me to attention. It’s coming from the garage. Frank Sinatra
belting – “Can’t Take My Eyes off you…” I make my way towards the music. The
door to the garage is open. I am speechless. The entire garage has been
converted into a gym, filled with state-of-the art equipment.

My husband, looking somewhat smug but with a mischievous smile, opens
his arms wide. “If you can’t beat them. (And I know that’s illegal.) You might as
well join them. You look so beautiful! So fit. I gotta say, it scared me a bit. I gotta
get off that couch. I would like us to do this fitness stuff together. What do you

Because I am in such great shape, I throw myself at him… Perhaps a bit
too enthusiastically. I knock him and me to the ground.
The rest of this story is really none of your business.



For Speaking engagements: Contact: Catherine McCartney @ 647.856.6280