Mark sits on his couch as he waits for Liz to come over. She was supposed to come over last Sunday, but at the last minute she canceled. He wonders what she wants to tell him. Maybe Liz decided that she wants to stop the divorce and remain married to him. He laughs at this thought. Liz had been quite adamant about wanting the divorce.
Mark finds it ironic that all his friends and relatives think that the divorce had been Mark’s idea. After all had it not been Mark who had constantly complained about Liz, and who used to call her the old ball and chain (and afterwards would explain to the listener that he was not joking). Had it not been Mark who had the “I am finally free” party after they officially announced their intention to divorce. Yes, their marriage had been an unhappy one, but Mark was perfectly content living in misery. It was Liz, who pulling at her hair one morning screamed “I can’t live like this anymore”, and it was Liz who ruined an amazing football game that he was watching on TV, by shoving divorce papers in his face during half-time. However, all their joint friends give Liz sympathetic smiles and hugs, while they shake their heads with disappointment at Mark, and ask him if there is still a chance him and Liz might get back together.
Mark has a horrible thought. What if Liz is pregnant? No, she cannot be pregnant, they had always been very careful, but he can’t seem to get rid of that fear. He imagines his life if he decides to stay together with Liz because of a baby. He sees them loudly arguing, having to scream over the baby’s crying. He imagines them divorcing when their child is ten. He envisions their child sitting in jail, and telling the reporter on TV that he turned to a life of crime after his parents divorced. No, Liz cannot be pregnant. For the first time in many years he looks forward to seeing his wife, because at the moment she is the only one who can put his fears to rest.
The doorbell rings and Mark opens the door. Before Liz even has a chance to enter the apartment, Mark blurts out “are you pregnant?”
“I’m glad you asked that,” Liz replies. Then she chuckles to herself and sits on the couch. Mark always hated the way Liz likes to bring suspense to situations. “So, are you pregnant?” he repeats.
“No,” she replies. “That would have been awful. That is why I’m glad you asked that question, because compared to my being pregnant, what I’m about to tell you won’t seem that bad. I got fired last week from my job, well not fired, laid off. I don’t really have enough money saved up to continue with this divorce; you know its going to end up being very expensive, because we are going to need a lot of mediation. Do not misunderstand; I don’t want to be married to you. But I was thinking, what if we put the divorce on hold for a few months, until I find another job. Would that be okay with you?”
Mark cannot imagine a worse idea. He had viewed the divorce as an atrocious journey he must go through to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. He had convinced himself that once the divorce is finalized, he will transform himself from a pitiful divorcé to a charismatic bachelor. He will be able to go on dates without feeling guilty, and he will not have to lie to potential partners about his relationship status. Also his friends will stop harassing him with questions about Liz. The idea of stalling the finalization of the divorce makes him want to pour acid in his eyes; however, something about the pitiful expression on the face of the woman to whom he had been married to for five years, makes him say, “If it’s only for a few months, I don’t mind. We can put the divorce on hold.”