Prompt from Writer’s Digest :
When a Man takes lunch to his wife’s office, he’s told that she hasn’t worked there in weeks.
“Ta da! Finished!” said James out loud, but only the cat was there to hear him and you know what they say about cats. True to type, Pickles continued to clean himself. “Thanks Pickles” muttered James, “I really needed to see your nether regions right now!”
Standing up and stretching, James shuffled across the kitchen in his slippers and clicked the kettle on. Whilst waiting, he rummaged through cupboards and the fridge. Minutes later, he’d cut some fresh bread, had cheese and ham out of the fridge, some of Sarah’s homemade pickle from the larder and he’d assembled a great doorstep of a sandwich. Later, after finishing his excellent sandwich and whilst sipping his tea, he remembered that for weeks now Sarah had come home ravenous. When he’d raised his eyebrows and looked accusingly at her waistline she’d gone: “No, no, no … It’s just been crazy busy at work and I’ve not had time.”
Looking at the clock, James realised he could make Sarah a sandwich and take it to her office. It might help with the whole him being a thoughtless, self-absorbed bastard thing which they’d been arguing about recently. Twenty minutes later, he walked into Reception. Julie was on the phone, so James waved to her and waited. “James!” said Julie, looking at him a tad oddly, “what can I do for you?” “I don’t need to see Sarah, I know she’s busy and I don’t want to disturb her. But do you think you could let her know that I’ve dropped this off for her” James held out tupperware. Julie was flushed a shade of red and couldn’t meet his eyes: “erm, hold on …” Picking up her phone again, she punched a button and murmured: “Marion, James is in reception to drop something off for Sarah. Could you come and see him please?” Trying not to sound alarmed, James asked “What’s up?” “Please take a seat in the side office James and wait for Marion” was all Julie managed to get out, still unable to meet his eyes.
“James, I’m sorry, this is a bit awkward,” started Marion “but Sarah’s not here. She left us weeks ago.” “W-w-what?” James stuttered “where is she?” “Well, she’s gone to work for our major client, he wants her to set up a new branch for him in LA. I thought you knew.” James jumped up and punched the wall. Unfortunately it didn’t go quite how he’d imagined and he ended up looking like a prize idiot when Marion had to take him to A&E for an x-ray.
When Sarah came in that evening, he was sat at his desk as usual. Well, except for the strapping on his hand that is. He’d left the box containing her sandwich beside the kettle and after saying “hi darling” he heard her “oooo” of pleasure on coming across it. Soon she was chomping away and asking him “how’d you get on today? Any nearer finishing?” “I finished this morning” he replied coldly holding up his hand, “luckily before my enforced visit to A&E”. Sarah rushed across “what happened babe, are you OK?” but James pushed her away with his left hand and asked, his voice dripping with sarcasm: “got any news you might need to tell me?”
Sarah flushed, even redder than Julie had that morning “Oh …” She sat down beside him and started to cry. Only this time James didn’t do what he usually did, this time he walked out of the room, calling over his shoulder “come and talk to me when you’ve finished that.” Sarah followed him into the sitting room, still sniffing until he said: “I mean it, I’m not interested in your tears. You’ve been lying to me for bloody weeks and now you’ve made a fool out of me in front of your entire office.”
Sarah ran to the bedroom and cried pitifully, but James came nowhere near her. She began to realise that this was going to be bloody. She blew her nose and went back into the living room and sat down opposite him. He ignored her and went on watching the news. Knowing better than to interrupt, she waited until the news finished and he switched off the TV, saying: “so …?”
“It’s an amazing opportunity James, but I knew you wouldn’t want to leave and go to LA. So … I thought I’d go alone and you could visit me.” “Right, so you just decided and assumed that I’d follow along like some little obedient lap dog?” “No James, it’s not like that. You can be so bloody difficult when you want to be and I knew you’d find a way of making sure I didn’t accept the offer and … well, I wanted to, it’s the best chance I’m going to get … and the seniority means I could get away with taking a career break when I’ve done this.” “Oh not again” groaned James, “we agreed, no children!” “No James, you decided on no children” said Sarah, “and you just assumed that I’d agreed.” “I’m too selfish to be a father, Sarah” James shouted back “and I’m a writer and I won’t have anything get in the way of that. Surely I made that clear when we first met. What on earth made you think I was going to change my mind on the subject?” Sarah whispered her reply: “I just hoped once you knew how much it meant to me …”
A month later James walked out of his publishers with a contract in his hand. He liked the sound of that – his publishers. Smiling, he decided to call Sarah in LA later with the news. The courier met him at the frontdoor with a big envelope. Signing, he didn’t open it till he’d made tea. Visibly recoiling, he read that Sarah was suing him for divorce. Rubbing his eyes, he read it again. Sarah’s covering note explained she’d used her signing bonus to clear what remained of the mortgage on their house and was offering to split the proceeds of the sale 50-50. She also asked him to engage an estate agent he could work with, as its sale would likely take place before she returned. Her closing words were “I’m sorry, I should’ve heard you and respected your wishes.”
“Aargh no!” groaned James before pulling his mobile from his pocket. Hearing Sarah’s sleepy voice grumbling: “it’s the middle of the bloody night James”, he interrupted “but I’ve got a publishing contract, now we can have a baby!”
© 2016 Debra Carey