dontravis.com blog post #604
Momentum (Part 1 of 3 Parts)
Well, we all know how Kenny misused his condom last week, don’t we. For some reason readership is up substantially, thanks to a host of readers from Singapore. Welcome, friends. Hope you keep coming back.
This week is the first of three installments. Hope you enjoy.
Let’s face it. I’m a fraud. Nothing else to call it. So is Francine, my wife. To be more accurate, Francine and Chuck Bellweather are a fraud. Note the singular? That’s because as individuals, I guess we’re pretty straightforward. But as a married unit, we’re frauds.
Our social world knows us as a loving couple, a normal, successful man and wife team who raised two great kids, earned a good living, and mixed well socially. All that’s true.
It’s when we’re alone at home that the fraud rears its ugly head. I don’t remember exactly when romance turned to placidity, nor when placidity morphed into acrimony. But over the last twenty-five years, that’s precisely what’s happened.
Why? Not certain. Perhaps we’re not compatible. Why did we stay together? Probably because the kids came so fast. Paul arrived nine months after the wedding vows were exchanged, and Nadine some ten months behind him. After that, it was a struggle to raise the kids and prosper. We did both tasks well. Paul’s a banker in far off Boston, and Nadine’s a tech with a Silicon Valley computer firm. Both married with two kids each.
Although the really bad years happened after they left for school, I’m certain the kids are aware of our situation. They keep in contact, but seldom visit. Nice to talk to, but shy away from acting as sounding boards for either of us.
Even the next-door neighbors don’t know the state of our marriage. Our house is icy, not heated. We express our disdain by withdrawing, not by shouting matches. Why do we keep it up? Habit. Fear of change. Inertia. Momentum. Take you pick, and you’d probably be at least partially right, because all apply. Then, of course, we’re a successful economic unit, and that’s hard to break.
Like my son, I’m a banker. Got into it by accident—I was recruited out of college, lured by the prospect of big bucks and prestige—and although I’m good at it… I hate it. It was okay, fun even, when I was going through the program learning the behind the scene jobs, but when I was promoted and went out on the floor as a commercial loan officer, things changed. I’m basically an introvert, and that’s no job for an introvert. Once banking hours were over, I usually went home, cleaned up, changed clothes, and collected Francine to attend a party, a meeting, a social event… all obligatory. Hated it! Francine at it up. Looking back, I wonder if that wasn’t the first divergence, the first split in interests.
Of course, Francine being so gregarious led to other social invitations and deeper resentment on my part. Was that the root of our problems? Francine was so good with people she was responsible for my progress up the ladder at the bank?
Of course, not. Well, that wasn’t the totality of it, for sure.
Francine started getting jealous about a year ago. No reason for it. My work habits didn’t change. Go to the bank at seven, come home at six and change for whatever after-hours affair we had to attend. Weekend golf. That was it.
Her accusations started getting serious three months ago. We were at a party where we were accompanied by a young man in our training program and assigned to me for mentorship. James Mentholzen by name, he was an army vet—discharged at the rank of captain at age twenty eight—who was going places. Unmarried, he arrived at our house in his vintage Thunderbird and accompanied us to a party given by one of the bank’s biggest customers.
Throughout the evening, I kept an eye on the young man as he moved easily among the party crowd, leaving smiles in his wake. He would go far, young Mr. Mentholzen. I noted his stunning good looks, the way his physique was put together and his easy manipulation of the crowd. We’d played golf together one or two times, and I knew he was a natural athlete. If he stayed at the bank, I would one day probably work for him.
Once we were home from the party and James had taken his leave, Francine started in on me.
“Well, that was a shameless display of lust.”
I blinked. “What do you mean?”
“You practically slobbered over James all evening. Couldn’t keep your eyes off him. Hardly kept your hands to yourself.”
“What are you talking about? I mentor James. Train him. Give reports on his progress. Of course, I kept my eye on him in a social situation. Part of the way I evaluate him.”
Her smirk was almost more than I could stand. Oh, yes. It was all business. Try not to slobber next time you’re evaluating your protégé.”
“I’ll swear, Francine, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you honestly think I’m hot for a guy?”
“Well, you’re getting to the age where the women don’t give you a second look. Maybe you’re desperate.”
I slammed off to bed, and she retired to the guest bedroom, which had virtually become her own.
The next day, I looked at James through new eyes. For the first time, I really noticed how handsome he was. Took note of the way his gym work had built biceps and pecs. He was a very attractive young man. I consciously tried to look at him the way Francine suggested I did, but couldn’t quite bring it off.
I hope you don’t recall any days like that from your past. Not sure how I’d have handled them. Next week, maybe things will get better for Chuck. Tune in and see.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:
My personal links:
See you next Thursday.
New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.