Claire and her three-year old daughter Melanie came over for dinner. Melanie sits in the living room, watching Bambi, which Claire brought for her. The grownups sit in the kitchen drinking wine and chatting.
“This is her fifteenth time watching Bambi; she’s obsessed.”
“You’re not worried that your daughter is obsessed with a movie where the main character’s mom dies”, I ask Claire.
“Do not put Freudian theories and Disney movies together. If you do that you’ll get very disturbing results.”
“This conversation is getting too intellectual for me”, Charlie says. “Why don’t you tell us about your new beau.”
“Well he is a handsome man, and he also happens to be a very successful computer programmer. But he is a bit on the dull side, so I don’t think he’s a keeper.”
“A good looking man with a steady job is a good catch, and if you find a man like that you should grab him and not let go”, Charlie says.
“If you like him so much, why don’t you date him”, I interject.
“I would never steal a boyfriend from Claire.”
“I don’t mind”, Claire adds. “You can have him.”
“Well I would never do anything to make Ann jealous.”
“Don’t worry about me; I am not one to stand in the way of true love.”
“I think we have him cornered”, Claire pronounces.
“No you do not. If I was to change teams and date a man, I would want an unstable one who is a challenge. I’m not interested in someone perfect.”
“I’d advise against that,” Claire states.” That’s how I ended up with my first husband.”
“I once read a very peculiar story in the news”, Charlie declares. “Three men were carrying a huge ball of cheese. I think it was mozzarella cheese but I’m not sure. Well some cracked out woman saw them, and she thought they were carrying a ball of coke.
So she hired a hit man to kill them. Luckily for the cheese lovers, the police found out and intervened, so there were no casualties. But those men would have been killed over cheese. That’s a bit pathetic isn’t it?”
“My mother was French”, Claire says. “And my grandmother would have killed for a good nice slice of Gouda cheese.”
“I’d only kill in self-defense” Charlie proclaims, “or for a cool glass of chardonnay.”
“I once thought about killing my ex husband, but he wouldn’t be worth the jail sentence.”
“I once had a dream I killed somebody”, I add.
“Let’s psychoanalyze Annabelle”, Claire exclaims. “Tell us about your dream, who were you trying to kill and why?”
“Well I was walking in a park at night, and I see this faceless man sitting on a bench. And by faceless I mean that his face resembled a mannequin with no facial features, the type that kind of looks like an alien. Well I walk up to him, and ask him what time it is. As he bends down to check his watch, I take a butcher knife out of my pocket and start stabbing him repeatedly. Than I woke up.”
“You were killing me in your dream, weren’t you,” Charlie asks me.
“No, because you were the person who drove me to the park, so you couldn’t have been the faceless man”, I reply. What I don’t tell Charlie or Claire, is that after I woke up, I stared at Charlie sleeping in bed next to me, and I felt relived that he was alive.
“You were very presumptuous this evening”, I tell Charlie after Claire and Melanie have left.
“How was I ‘Presumptuous’?”
“When you informed Claire that she should continue dating a man she found boring, just because he had a stable job.”
“Are you going to give me a feminist rant? All I meant was that there are so many creeps out there, that if she found a man who is stable, she should give him a chance, even if his banter is bit dry.”
“What about love, and finding your soul mate? What about romance and endless passion?”
“You’re the one who always says how miserable Claire is. How she hates being single, and having to raise her kid by herself. How she’s become so cynical that her jokes, instead of being funny, have become unbearable.”
“And you think the cure for that is to settle for the first decent guy that comes along?”
“Marriage isn’t about undying love. It’s a commitment that takes work, and that work involves very few passionate romantic gestures and passionate conversations. Marriage is about compromise and supporting your spouse.”
“So you don’t think our marriage is based on love?”
“Don’t do that. Don’t relate every conversation we have to our marriage. We have enough problems as it is, without adding new ones.”
“You think we have problems?”
“Yes, but they can be solved.”
“What are they?”
“Tonight is not the night to discuss them; we need something to fight about in the morning.”
I have been unhappy with my marriage for sometime, but I assumed Charlie thought our marital problems had been fixed. Perhaps he felt restless too. Maybe while I was in Auburn he thought of having flings with local business owners. If these thoughts are true; I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the irony.