“James, will you please listen to me? I am trying to tell you that when I went down to the store this morning, Mavis told me th-“
“Damn-it Helen, why on earth would I care what that old windbag and you talked about this morning? Every time you go to that store, you two gossip for over an hour. It’s a wonder either one of you get anything done at all. I want to sit here enjoy my chips, beer, watch the game and enjoy myself. Is that too much to ask from you? Just go in the kitchen and read one of those love books you like, after you cook dinner.”
Helen was fuming. She had endured the interruption with grace, the gossip remark had started her anger, but harping on her books… after all, only an idiot thought Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” series was a love book. “Fine, enjoy yourself.” Helen left the room.
Hours later, the Dallas Cowboys won their game and James was a happy man. James swallowed the last of his beer from the six-pack that he had in the cooler. He looked at his watch and realized that it was after ten at night and Helen had never even told him dinner was ready. Now that he thought about it, he had not heard a sound coming from the kitchen, nor had he smelled food cooking the entire time he watched the game.
The kitchen was dark, as he walked into the room; James flipped the light on and saw nothing of dinner. The room was as spotless as if no one had ever prepared a meal there.
The room had an odd cold feel to it, similar to the feeling of emptiness and the loneliness of being deserted and unloved. James could not leave the room quick enough.
“That’s the way of a woman. Punish a man just because he would rather watch a ball game instead of listening to her prattle on for hours about all the gossip she heard that day
and the other rubbish women want to harp on all the time.” James muttered under his breath as he searched the house for Helen. He could not find her anywhere.
After searching everywhere, even the tool shed and garage, James stepped out front to see if Helen’s car was in the driveway. It was gone. James was satisfied with his thoughts of a vindictive wife. “Well we will just see about that. If Helen thinks I am going to worry about her and search all over the place for her, she had better think again. A man’s home is his castle and no one, not even a wife has the right to keep him from relaxing and enjoying it.” Ranting to himself all the way to the kitchen, James decided to see what there was in the refrigerator to eat.
The food he thought he had smelled cooking when he first came home from work was non-existing. James settled for a ham sandwich with the last slice of cheese he found in the bottom of the produce drawer.
After angrily slathering entirely too much mayo and mustard on his sandwich, James grabbed a glass and fixed himself a glass of tea. He then went back into the living room, sloshing tea from the glass, as he plopped down on the couch and stabbed at the remote controls trying to find something to watch on television.
Finding a movie that he had seen many times before, James tried to watch it. Between wiping the blobs of mustard and mayo of his shirt and pants, glancing at the clock every five minutes and ranting about the injustice of a wife who was insensitive to his needs or wants, James never saw the movie he had chosen to watch.
Two hours later the movie was over and Helen was still not home. James turned the television off and paced the floors. He did not know whether he should be angry or worried, so he alternated between the two.
At two o’clock in the morning, James saw lights from a car turn into the driveway. Thank God, Helen was safe, James thought, and then he promptly became angry. He heard
Helen’s keys in the kitchen door as she unlocked it. He heard the door close
and then the sound of Helen locking the door..
James could not stand it any longer. He jumped up off the couch and stomped into the kitchen. There was Helen putting all kinds of covered dishes into the once empty
refrigerator. If possible, James became angrier than he already was. “Where have you been?” Without waiting for an answer, he continued. Is this how you decide to punish me?”
“Punish you, where would you get an idea like that? I simply did as you asked. Such a fuss over getting what you asked for in the first place.”
James sighed. “Helen please just tell me.”
“It is too late now James.”
“Are you saying that you are leaving me? Honey, I am sorry, I should not have been so hateful. I promise not to act that way again.”
“I am not leaving you, James. What I was trying to tell you earlier was that Mavis told me about a contest the radio station was having. I entered and won. So, I spent my
evening in the box seats at the Cowboy Stadium, then afterwards I went to the Ranch and had barbecue with the Dallas Cowboys and their friends and families. It was an exciting evening. The signed football and food I brought home, is from them to you. I guess they felt sorry for you.” Helen kissed a speechless James, told him goodnight and went upstairs to bed.
James felt worse than ever, but that night he knew he had received what he deserved. Head hanging, shoulders slumped, he picked up the signed football, shook his head,
turned out the light and headed for bed.