Part 15: Tony and Mark

Tony is sitting on Mark’s couch, drinking a beer, and watching TV. Ever since he had told his brother that he was planning to propose to Jill, his brother had looked at him strangely. He figures Mark probably thinks anybody who gets married is a fool, and that is why he has that strange expression on his face. Tony knows his brother thinks long and hard before he says anything too negative, and he decides that Mark is probably debating whether he should call him a moron. Still, Mark’s piercing gaze is annoying, and Tony decides to distract his brother. “ So do you think you and Liz will get back together ?”

“Definitely not!”

Tony smiles and says, “then why are you prolonging the divorce?”

“I already explained it to you. Liz is having financial problems, and it’s the right thing to do.”

“I think a part of you is hoping this divorce will be prolonged forever. You must have forgotten that I witnessed you jumping up and screaming, ‘I’m free, I can finally get out of hell’, the day after you hired your divorce lawyer. That person would not have agreed to put their divorce on hold.”

“I’m saying this for the last time; I do not want to stay married to Liz. She does not want to stay married to me. We had a miserable marriage. However, she was part of my life for five years, longer if you count the time we were dating. You can’t turn feelings on and off like a switch. In honor of our marriage, I want to conduct this divorce with dignity. I’m doing her this favor, for the same reason boxers shake hands before they beat the crap out of each other. It’s a classy way of handling a barbaric ritual. You would act the same way if you were divorcing Jill.”

“No I wouldn’t,” Tony replies, but then he imagines Jill being sad, broke, and sitting in the dark because she cannot pay her electricity bill, so he adds, “I might loan her some money, but I would still continue with the divorce.”

Tony starts watching TV again, and Mark starts watching Tony. Since this morning, when Tony asked if he could stop by, Mark has debated whether he should tell his brother that he saw Jill with another man. Mark hopes he misunderstood what he saw. Perhaps Jill was just going to the hotel with a client, or maybe Tony and Jill had an open relationship. Perhaps Tony was waiting in the hotel room, so that they could have a threesome, and Mark certainly does not want to embarrass his brother by forcing him to explain. However, deep down, Mark knows he witnessed something that should not have been happening.

While Mark is deciding if he should tell his brother about his suspicions, Tony announces that he is going propose to Jill. At that moment Mark decides that he is not going to be the cause of his brother’s unhappiness. Mark has disappointed so many people by deciding to get a divorce, he is not about to add ruining Tony’s life to his list of sins. However, Mark feels that doing nothing is also wrong, so he decides that he will confront Jill about what he saw. He does not want Tony to start talking about Liz again so he asks, “What made you decide to propose?”

“It just feels right. I mean I have all my other ducks in a row, might as well add the last duck.”

“Mom will be so happy when she finds out. When I told her about the divorce, she said to me, ‘Just don’t make marriage sound too negative in front or your brother, I don’t want him getting cold feet.’”

“Are you anti-marriage now?”

“I’m only anti marriage if it concerns Liz. You are not marrying her, so I can support your decision!”

“Do you think Jill will be surprised when I propose?”

Mark does not enjoy lying to his brother, so he says; “she won’t know what hit her.”

Tony again feels apprehensive about proposing to Jill, because Mark had used that exact same phrase when he described how their dad would react, after he found out they had totaled his car.

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