By Rachael Abrams
The doorbell rings. I run down the stairs in my robe, stumbling as my ankle decides to twist below me. “Not now,” I think to myself. I had completely forgotten that the plumber was due around this hour. Fuck.
I try to compose my klutzy self as I take a deep breath and open the door. The man standing before me is obviously the plumber, but not the one I had imagined. He is huge and built like a stallion; his arm muscles look deliciously solid and throbbing through his company polo. He smiles at me, a devilish grin that could only mean one thing. “Can I clean your pipes?”
The idiotic one-liner has never sounded so good. He rips off my robe and with one, swift, fluid motion, I am standing before him, naked. He picks me up in his gigantic arms and carries me upstairs to the bedroom.
I am rudely awakened from my apparently deep sleep to the sensation of my golden lab licking the bottom of my foot. I yell at Buster to go away, I was having a good dream. It means nothing to him. He’s a dog.
I groan and stretch out, knowing that Buster never wakes me up unless he’s hungry. He is a god dog. Although I wish we’d named something better. Buster is one of those names that a guy names his dog without thought. Like Buddy. Or Pal. Or Spark. Or Buster. Ugh.
I guess it’s all his fault. As I’m stretching, my foot hits his calf and he kicks me. Hard. I silently scream out in pain. He has kicked the bruise on my leg, which he’d previously formed when he’d kicked me Thursday. Or was it Friday…? Eh, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same.
I look over at the man lying next to me. He is occupied with whatever dream he is having in the deep slumber that continuously turns him into a monster every morning. I think I live with this man, although he doesn’t seem to be around much. I stopped asking questions a long time ago. Hell, I don’t even know what day it is. Most days I can only tell the day by whatever my Yaz package tells me. If I ‘m popping the Monday pill, it’s Monday.
The stranger in my bed is someone I think I used to know. He keeps showing up, night after night. He doesn’t touch me, and I’m glad, because the last thing I need is for a stranger to grab me and try to kiss me. “Don’t touch me,” I think. “I don’t know you. “But I do know the man. He is my husband. I squirm from his grasp and get up to feed Buster. The man grumbles and continues to snore.
When all of the Snausages are gone and Buster is happily chomping away on what I wish I could feed the man in my bed, I gather my things and head to the shower. I turn the water on. Hot. The only way I can manage to take a shower these days. Scalding. Almost as hot as the mail man. I wish he could just deliver me his package one day. I can’t handle this. It’s too much.
The days have become a blur now. For the past four years, it seems like I do everything the same. Every day. I know I used to have variety. The fun of life. It left a while ago.
As the hot water runs down my body I think about how I got here. This house I live in is nice. Big, too. Definitely big enough for me to avoid this man. He could chase me all he wanted and never catch me. I guess it’s not so bad. But it didn’t used to be like this… his high school reunion was fun. So many people gathered around to admire him and his new trophy wife. I stood there and took in the appreciation in the sparkly new dress he bought me. What a fun night. That’s the only time he’s danced with me since our wedding a few months before.
It wasn’t a big wedding. More like a private thing. I found it odd when he told me not to invite my friends or family, though. “I’d prefer if we kept it small,” he told me. But… smaller than just my parents? I don’t understand. But I guess I never will.
The reception was barely anything. He’d promised me my dream wedding. That wasn’t it, let me tell you. He told me he just wanted to get married and he’ll give me my dream reception one day. But it’s been six years and I still have yet to see this reception.
My mind wanders back to the mail man. He is just so perfect. My god. I wish he were here right now, in the shower with me. I’m sure he’d scrub me down real good. But he’s not here right now. He never will be. I don’t have it in me to cheat. ….. You know what? Maybe I do. Maybe if Josh came to deliver something else from Best Buy and asked where Mr. Andrews was, I could say something sexy, like, oh, I don’t know, “He’s not here right now… but MRS. Andrews is so lonely.” And I’d give him that sexy smile that won the guy in my bed over. Ugh. If only that shit didn’t happen in the bar.
I guess the way we met, I was asking for it. I don’t remember the exact details (we were of course a bit tipsy at the time), but I do remember him keeping me there until way after the restaurant was closed. He was the bartender, and seemed to love the low neck line on my dress. He’d waited until everyone had left and he gave me that look. You know the look. Everyone with a kid knows the look. He sauntered over to my side of the bar and cleared off the countertop. I knew what would happen next. He lifted me up and sat me on the bar, spreading my legs and making me feel like a character in a Barry White song. I loved it back then. A man with all that power…
The man knocks on the door. “You’ve been in there for a goddamn hour! Get the hell out!”
His enthusiasm doesn’t surprise me. Or, lack of it. He doesn’t get excited about much. I don’t like to argue though. So I get out. “Sorry babe. Lost track of time.” And I run to the next room where he won’t find me in time. He might try to catch me while I’m in my towel. I don’t want him to, though. Part of me is praying that he’ll take too long in the bathroom and I’ll be dressed by the time he comes looking for me. I gave up on a kid about a year ago. He’s still trying, though. But I can’t, not with him. He doesn’t even know that I’ve been on the pill. He thinks it’s just me. Or him. No, not him. Nothing could possibly be wrong with him. He’s perfect.
I walk around the huge house in search of an imaginary something when I decide that I’ve spent enough time dwelling on this. What’s the point in thinking about it? It’s like I can change anything. I’m just me. The trophy wife. I have no power. I wander over to my garden window where I stare at the clouds that they pass by. If I wanted my life to change, I probably would have done something about it a long time ago. That’s the thing he told me a long time ago. Maybe he’s right. If I was really that unhappy with my life I would have probably done something about it a long time ago. Maybe. Buster runs over to me and nuzzles his head on my knees. At least I know he’s not going anywhere, even if I do. That’s what I want, I guess. Stability. But then it doesn’t make any sense; the man in my bed is stable. He’s been the same for the past four years. Things don’t change around here.
Neither does my day. I’m feeling a bit ill at the moment. I walk back over to my bed and slump down on the comforter. It doesn’t take long for my eyes to get heavy and soon I am gone.
I wake up once again to the feeling of a chunky, overweight man next to me. He is speaking in a language that can’t even be described as snoring. It sounds like grunting and some form of Hebrew. The man next to me is not my husband. He is once again a stranger who just happens to live here and kick me out of the shower. But I don’t know him, so he won’t bother me, right?
This man can’t be my husband.
Rachael is a self-hating freelance writer that can bite through most things. She likes comedy writing, is an HBO enthusiast, and master of making inappropriate remarks seemingly on cue. She hates the heat and would probably live in an igloo if it were cold enough. You can find her on most social media, including her Twitter here.