He would tell me how gorgeous I was and how sorry he was. Sometimes I would take him back, but other times I would tell him I was sorry….”
by amy corbin
When Marc left, I felt sick to my stomach all the time. Food just didn’t look appetizing. I would try to eat, but I would end up taking one bite and throwing the rest out. Nothing tasted good. The pounds started to come off and everyone said how good I looked. I would spend my meal time imagining Marc coming back to me. He would tell me how gorgeous I was and how sorry he was. Sometimes I would take him back, but other times I would tell him I was sorry. I told him how I understood his wanderings and I didn’t blame him, but I just didn’t feel the same way.
Sometimes Marc came back to me. He watched movies with me and laughed at my jokes. One night we watched “Charlie Wilson’s War” together. I got it for him as he always liked those war movies. I’m generally not a fan of combat movies, but this one was different, more of a behind the scenes look. Marc loved it. He didn’t usually like Tom Hanks, but he thought he was fantastic. We didn’t normally fight, but I did get my back up when he told me he didn’t like the bathroom color. It wasn’t pink it was a shade of beige. But of course, he went on and on about how he wasn’t a fan of pink.
One time, he came back for the whole weekend. The kids were at my mom’s and Marc and I had the greatest weekend together. We didn’t do much. We read books, watched movies, and laughed a lot. Everything was going great until he found the packages in my closet.
“Why do you have to spend so much money? You don’t need all this stuff. For the love of God Jennifer, you’re going to shop us into poverty.”
“I work. I used my money from my job to buy those things. At least I don’t fool around. If the worst thing I do is shop I’m still better than you.”
“Why do you think I fool around? If you weren’t such a nag I wouldn’t have to look elsewhere.”
Such nasty bitter words-Marc could be so cruel. After this fight he didn’t come back for a while.
The next time he came I was looking at myself naked in the mirror. He told me I was pretty, but still too heavy and I needed to exercise.
I would just sit on the couch sometimes and miss Marc and then he’d just appear. Sometimes I had a feeling he was coming, but other times it caught me off guard. He would wake me up in the middle of the night or get in the shower with me. He was always so sweet and then he’d morph into a nasty creature telling me I was lazy or stupid or he would shake me and say I was useless. One time he even threw an ashtray at me, but I ducked and it smashed against the wall.
One evening I was wrapping presents and Marc came over to talk. He said he missed us. I didn’t bring up Sandy. What would be the point? He said he was sorry and wanted to try again. My therapist said he might do this. The holidays make people feel nostalgic. I didn’t say anything; guess I wanted to let it sink in. Then he turned on me like a dog gone wild.
“Why do you buy the kids so much stuff? They’re not going to be more grateful. All this stuff just makes them act all bratty,” he barked.
“Do what? Try to make a nice life for my kids. Try to have a nice holiday despite the fact that their daddy took up with some tramp. Was I really such a crappy wife that you needed to fool around? What does Sandy do that I didn’t? Tell me?”
Marc just sat there, all smug and superior.
“You need to go. Please don’t come back again. You’re not welcome here!” I yelled. It felt so good to finally yell. And right then and there Marc vanished into thin air.
The next morning, I filled a garbage bag with my old clothes. Things I didn’t want, itchy sweaters, uncomfortable dresses, and shoes that gave me blisters.
Then, I woke up Josh and Ali for school and made pancakes.
“Mmm pancakes,” said Ali.
“They do smell good don’t they,” I said as I set three plates on the table.
(illustration: dee sunshine)
Amy Corbin has had her work published in Filling Station, The Cynic, Ascent Aspirations, Shine, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Haruah: A Breath of Heaven, Ignavia Press, Flask and Pen, The Battered Suitcase, Flashes in the Dark, Short Story Library, Smokebox, Wanderings, Writers’ Stories, The New Flesh, Concise Delight, Calliope Nerve, Boston Literary Magazine, and The Smoking Poet. She was an honoree in the 2011 Binnacle Competition for her story, “Dear Mr. Barlow” and won third place in The Shine Journal’s 2011 poetry contest for her poem, “Close Your Eyes”. More stories from Amy can be found in the Vault of Smoke.