dontravis.com blog post #619
So at the end of our last story, it turned out that rape wasn’t rape, at all. It was merely fun and games. Make sure you know the difference, guys.
This week, another short story. Here goes.
My wife is a harpy, a shrew, harridan, nag… they all fit her personality. Privately, I refer to her as Hell Cat Helen. Don’t get me wrong. Visually, she’s a vision. Honey-gold hair with a hint of red. Hazel irises that sparkle. Clara Bow mouth. All the accoutrements that perfectly describe the ideal public wife. And that’s what she is, the perfect public wife but a lousy private one.
That, in fact, is likely why I married her. We met in college when the ambition to be a successful lawyer held Johnson Lamely—that’s me—firmly in its grip. I distinctly remember thinking she would make an ideal corporate wife the first time I met her in a sophomore economics class. And looking back on it, I believe my naked ambition was what drew her to me. Whatever it was, we were going steady before the semester was over, engaged by our junior year, and married in our senior. All our friends—we gravitated toward others with raging ambition—said we were the perfect couple.
In the twenty years since then, that has been proven true… in the corporate sense. And if I’m honest, our personal life was decent—if not good—for the first ten years. We began to have meaningful differences when it came to educating our children. Helen, whose high goals never wavered, wanted them in private schools. I, who was living in the business world and seeing it for the sham it can sometimes be, wanted them to attend public schools, at least in their pre-college careers. I saw the value of moving in the normal world. She disdained the common.
Both our son and daughter were bright kids and excelled early. I successfully held out for the public schools until high school, and then succumbed to her wishes by sending them to the most expensive private academy, one—I must admit—with a superb reputation that did well for both of them.
Disagreements over the kids were just the tip of the iceberg. I was able to handle things until I made senior partner in our prestigious law firm. That’s when she started plotting my professional life. I liked being a successful attorney, welcome in the courtrooms, the boardrooms, the country club, and the exclusive Petroleum Club. But the ambition lamp was beginning to dim. Not much, but a tad.
Even so, I allowed her to cajole me into running for a seat in the state legislature, which I easily won. Without bragging, it was safe to say I was a popular fellow who spoke well and was comfortable in both public and private settings. I did back-to-back two-year terms and decided I’d had enough.
But Hell Cat Helen was already dropping hints I was running for the state senate. Woe be to me, I allowed her to bully me into successfully running for that branch of the legislature. One four-year term was enough. Helping run a large law firm and helping run a state took more energy than I was willing to give. My kids were old enough now to need more of my attention. And Helen certainly didn’t attend them. She was too busy volunteering for this and going to that.
The years passed without either of us bothering to do anything definitive about our situation. Like a host of others, we just floated with the tide, made do with the status quo by means of frequent grudging compromises. Until last year.
I’m not certain when or why I began to suspect Helen was having an affair. It could have been going on for years, of course, as I was so disinterested in our life together. Nonetheless, when the suspicions came, I reacted strongly… at least internally. How could she betray me with another man? Through all the hell of the past twenty years I’d never touched another woman. Not out of personal fealty, but in a sense of right and wrong for the institution of marriage.
As a result of my suspicions, I took up with another woman, a friend of a secretary in our office. Very quickly, I learned that I liked this sort of long-distance arrangement. She went her way; I went mine. Pleasant.
Of course, Helen found out about my affair and exploded. Never mind that she had a torrid arrangement with one of the trainers in her pricy gym class. Good-looking, buff son-of-a-bitch, I must admit. However, my “side” was no slouch either. Pretty, slender, tennis-court athletic.
All of those sorts of things, we more or less handled without too much animosity, but when Jonson Jr. wanted to take the summer off and wander Europe for a few months, we had a serious parting of the ways. Helen put her foot down and said a loud, resounding no. What with terrorists wandering all over the place and Americans unwelcome in so many countries, this was no time to leave the borders of the good old US of A.
I, on the other hand, thought it would be an excellent learning experience. Not only would he be exposed to different cultures, he’d have to learn to judge his fellow man lest he find himself in hot water.
“Too young for that!”
“Perfect time to learn it. Serve him well as a lawyer.”
“He’s not going to be a lawyer.”
“He’ll decide that.”
And so it went. Except I could see this blow up exposed a darker side to my wife. And with that realization, I’d had enough. The end. Finis. Divorce time.
Except… I didn’t want that bitch to get half of everything I’d worked so hard to accumulate. That was for my kids when the time came, not so Helen could live like a queen bee to spread stories about her philandering ex-husband to the world. And she’d do exactly that.
So I made my move and filed the papers, offering a settlement I felt was reasonable… generous, in fact. Her attorney, a fellow I’d crossed swords with several times over the years, came back with a counter. We went at it hammer and tongs for six months before taking the case to the court. I knew what that meant… split right straight down the middle. Not acceptable. I tried every trick I new as an attorney, but her legal beagle countered every one.
I needed to do something… but what? The idea that came to mind stunned me.
So Johnson’s in a pickle. Wonder if he goes by Jon to familiars? Depends upon how strait-laced he is, I guess. Now Johnson Jr. undoubtedly uses the familiar. But the old man… who knows?
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
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See you next Thursday.
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