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"Befores and Afters"

Hammers and Canyons  by foxpamela
My husband. My stupid husband. He’s the kind of husband that looks great on the mantle. He’s clean. His teeth are straight. He’s got great thick, shiny black hair. He’s a decorative piece. But there’s also something gloomy about him. And brutal. Like the bludgeoning hammer used at sacrificial events. At the top of a pyramid in a jungle somewhere south of here, he’d be the glory of his nation. But here in the suburbs, he is impotently poised between the antique vase and the musical snow globe I got from my sister-in-law last Christmas. A relic. I think he fantasizes about bashing my head in regularly. My husband is a tool. But he’s got no practical use.

He won’t bash my head in though because he’s afraid of me. I’m the only one who knows how impotent he is.

He calls me sometimes to tell me that he’s had cocktails with this Nobel laureate or that famous scientist. As if my flippant decision to forfeit my marriage could be so easily overturned if only I knew whose elbows he’s rubbing, who his new drinking buddies were. I’m sure he’ll be very famous someday, at least within his circle. But it means nothing to me. You can hear the hard dry thud as the hammer hits the floor. It doesn’t even hit my foot. He thinks I backed out because it got too hard, because I was just too weak, weaker than him. He thinks that I’m selfish and disgusting. He’s told me so. He says that I abandoned him. I have to laugh every time he says this. He thinks that if I were stronger then we’d still be married and everything would be fine.

I explained to my son that I didn’t just decide one day that it was all too hard and that I didn’t want to do it anymore. It’s still hard. We have no money. There’s not enough to pay the bills and buy food.

“I have you kids by myself most of the time. It’s a lot more work. I didn’t leave because I thought it would be easier.” He agreed that nothing was easy right now.

I explained that I always thought I would be married to his dad and that it broke my heart when I realized that it wasn’t going to happen that way. We had different ideas on what marriage should be like and we were never going to agree.
“I love your dad. I always will,” I lied. “But we will never be the kind of friends that I think married people should be.”

I don’t love him. I don’t miss him. I’m not sorry. There won’t be one last ****, for old time’s sake. I don’t hold a single drop of sentiment for the seven long years we spent avoiding each other. I stayed right up until the last second. I don’t know what was on the other side of that second. I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if I’d stayed. Maybe I would’ve started cutting again. Maybe I would’ve burned down the house. Maybe I would’ve gone to therapy. And maybe it wouldn’t have felt so desperate if my old friend hadn’t shown up with a head of cabbage for me, which was more than I’d gotten from my husband in ages.

Every morning I look out over this seven year canyon and I ask, What the hell happened here? Obviously something ‘cause there’s this giant hole. For seven years, something drove itself through this landscape. And by nightfall, if I’m lucky, I’ve found one more piece of dust to fill it in.

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  'Hammers and Canyons' statistics: (click to read)
Date created: Dec. 17, 2007
Date published: Dec. 20, 2007
Comments: 20
Word Count: 722
Times Read: 2441
Story Length: 3
Children Rank: 2.6/5.0 (12 votes)
Descendant Rank: 0.0/5.0 (22 votes)