I envied him for being such a sound sleeper. He didn’t hear me tossing and turning last night. He didn’t feel the bed shaking as I tried to stifle my sobs. He didn’t even notice when I slipped out of bed and sat in the living room by myself for an hour. He didn’t hear the kettle whistle when I decided sleep wasn’t happening for me and that 4 a.m. is as good a time as any for a hot cup of Darjeeling.
He sleeps so soundly, that he doesn’t even realize how close the end of us is. I can’t do this anymore. I’m tired of pretending we’re happy. We’re not. No, I’m not. He fine. He comes home to a clean house, good meals, very few arguments and good loving. He pays the bills, watches the games, washes the cars, gets the oil changed, smokes with the guys and comes home at night. That’s supposed to be enough to make me happy. Five years together, and that’s what I’m supposed to be happy with.
Last Friday was the final straw for me. We were watching the news while eating dinner. The “good news” story of the night was an elderly couple living at a senior home that decided to tie the knot. His first wife died ten years ago, her first love died in the war when they were young and she never married. I thought the idea of marrying at that age was sweet. He said, “He’s a fool!”
“Why would you say that?”
“He’s 80 and she’s 79. They aren’t going to be able to really enjoy that marriage!”
“Listen, he probably can’t even get it up anymore. They’re both in wheelchairs, they’ll never have any alone time. They can’t travel or do anything other than wheel around the darn nursing home! That’s a waste!”
“How about companionship? They have someone to spend their last days with. It’s not all about sex all the time, you know! Fifty years from now, you might not be able to get it up, and sex just might not be interesting to me at all. Just because the physical parts aren’t functioning like they used to, that’s not a reason to give up on love. At least when they die, they’ll have someone by their side. And for her, she didn’t have a ‘someone’ for so long! Now, she has a love! I think it’s sweet!”
“Look, after a certain point, you just got to hang it up and deal with reality. Marriage isn’t for everyone. 80 years old is too old to be thinking about settling down.”
“So you think there’s an age limit for marriage?”
“Yup,” he said as he shoved the last piece of meatloaf and mashed potatoes into his mouth.
“So what’s the age limit?”
“40 for women, and 45 for men.”
“I guess I’m screwed, then.”
“Why are you screwed? We’re good! We take good care of each other! Besides, in 5 more years, we’ll be common law. We don’t have to worry about the expense of a wedding, or any of that.”
I couldn’t even respond. I was stunned. Five years into this relationship, and he wasn’t even thinking about marriage. I got up and began cleaning the kitchen. He came in behind me.
“Aww, come on, baby! Don’t start sulking! You know I love you! We don’t need to mess up a good thing with paperwork and expensive fanfare! We are going to be together forever!”
“Just leave me alone.”
He said something else, but I tuned him out and continued cleaning up the kitchen. He left for a few hours. I had a cry to myself, and by the time he came home, I was in bed, fast asleep.
On Saturday morning, I woke up, went to the gym, ran a few errands and came home. I had some time to think while I was out and decided to start looking for a place of my own. If this relationship wasn’t going to lead to marriage, I needed to put on my big girl panties and move on. If a 79-year-old woman could get a proposal, then so could I. When I came home, he was there waiting for me.
“We need to talk,” he said.
“Look, I know you’re upset about the marriage thing, so…let’s do it.” The last three words were muffled.
“Let’s get married.”
“What do you mean, ‘no?’ Last night you were sulking about what I said about marriage, now I’m compromising to give you what you want and you say, ‘no?'”
“Wait…that was your proposal to me? ‘Let’s do it?’ That’s how a pubescent boy invites a girl to hop into bed with him! That’s not how a grown man proposes to the woman he claims to want to spend the rest of his life with! I deserve better than that!”
“Look, you know I’m not the romantic type. That ‘get down on one knee’ thing isn’t me. Getting married is important to you, so let’s do it.”
“I’m not asking again!”
And that was it. He didn’t bring it up again, and neither did I. But it broke me down. He really thought I was desperate enough to jump at the on that “proposal.” He didn’t even have a ring for me. That’s when it dawned on me. This wasn’t love. It was an arrangement that was working largely in his favor. He got all the benefits of a wife, and I got the satisfaction of having a long-term boyfriend. The sad thing is, I saw the signs a while ago. I thought doing wifely things would make him want to marry me. I accepted the nickname, “Wifey” but didn’t make clear that I wanted the official title. Well, never again. In just 5 short days, I found a place to live, signed the lease and got some basic furniture. The lease on this place is in his name. He can have it and all the furniture, too. I don’t want anything that reminds me of not being appreciated. Most of my clothes were already packed. I’ll let him know I’m leaving when he wakes up.
In my heart of hearts, I don’t want to leave, but compromise isn’t a reason to stay together. I guess I was the one who was sleeping all these years. But I’m awake now. Yeah. I’m awake now.
Good Morrow and Happy Love Day, Citizens!
In all the activity surrounding romance today, make sure you take some time to love yourself. You’re totally worth it!
But since today is about love, here are three of my favorite original pieces on romance and affection. Enjoy! ❤
Here’s a little mood music for you as a bonus! 😀
Happy #TBT everyone! Here is a romantic piece from 2014’s #AtoZChallenge for your reading pleasure! Enjoy! 😀
Here is another poem from my archives. This should cover the letter ‘I’ for the A to Z Blog Challenge! Enjoy!
I want to reach into you
and touch that part of your heart
that is scarred
and make it smooth again.
I want to be your healer.
I want to take that part of your heart
that is cold from lack of real love
and hold it next to mine.
I want to be your lover.
I want to take that piece of your mind
that is calculating every impossibility
of never loving again
and give it a safe place to rest.
I want to give you peace.
I want to wipe your eyes clear
of morning mist and late night tears
that flow in secret
so you can clearly see me standing before you
with arms out stretched, waiting for…
View original post 33 more words
Dear Future Husband,
I know that you are out there
Praying for me, your Future Wife.
I know you are strong and smart,
A provider and protector.
You will not bruise my body
Or leave my heart shattered.
You will see my worth
And celebrate it, cherish it.
My beloved Future Husband,
I pray for you daily.
I will care for your heart
Like it is my own.
I won’t just hear you,
I’ll listen to you.
I will not harm you
Or allow harm to come to you.
I will stand by your side.
I’ll hold you up when you feel weak
And be a safe and gentle place
When you are wary.
You are special to me, even now,
Before we ever meet.
Together, we will be unbreakable,
We will have each other’s back.
We will be faithful and loyal to each other.
We will be an example to our children
Of what a marriage with God at the center
Dear Future Husband,
I’m waiting for you.
Instead of posting the usual #FlashFictionFriday piece, I’ve decided to post a poem for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This piece is a continuation of the #WhyIStayed hashtag discussion that was started on Twitter last month. You can read my piece “Why I Stayed,” here.
Why I Left
Because I was tired of being controlled and manipulated
Because I was tired being told I was crazy
Because I was tired of being told I didn’t measure up
Because he wouldn’t, didn’t protect my heart
Because being alone in the world no longer mattered,
Especially since I was so alone in my relationship.
Because the love was clearly one-sided.
Because I learned how to love myself more.
Because my child didn’t need to witness another fight.
Because I caught a glimpse of my strength
And his weakness was exposed.
Because it was time for me to go.
If you are a victim of Domestic Violence or know someone who needs help, visit http://www.thehotline.org/ or call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
Here is piece I found while digging in my archives. I wrote this piece when I was with a group called SP2. (Good times, gooooood times!)
What I’d Give For Love
I heard you
when you said you love me.
When you said
I don’t have to be afraid
to put this bruised
and broken heart in your hands
and you promised to mend it
and nurse it back to wholeness.
I know you meant it.
My heart began to heal
at that moment.
Your love is a treasure.
I want to savor
the feeling of pure love.
I’ve known love unrequited
and neglected love.
We are familiar acquaintances
running a well-worn
path of sadness and isolation.
They are the hopeless brood
that bid me good morning each day,
and haunt my forlorn dreams each night.
My heart received your offering
of unconditional love,
but my mind has counted the cost
and potential loss,
and placed a lock on my lips
every time those words attempted
to travel across my tongue,
towards your patiently waiting ears.
I want you to hear
what burdens my heart
I don’t want to lose any more.
I have just enough heart left
to survive one more attempt at love
or die trying to obtain it.
So, if you promise
to be tender
and patient with me,
I will give you the key
to my heart.
I will let you in.
I will reach out to you.
I will let you hold me
and sacrifice fear
for the possibility
of enduring love.
Nike Binger Marshall ©2009
I’m trying to pick up where I left off with the A to Z Challenge, but a few of my short stories are taking on a life of their own, which is good and bad. I’m trying to post daily not weekly! 😀 So, below you will find my very touching “L day” submission. Grab some Kleenex. Happy reading! ❤
April 15, 2014
It’s been a while since we’ve been able to spend any quality time together, our lives being so busy and all. You have classes to teach and children to manage on your own, while taking care of your parents. I have my children and their after school activities, my ailing parents and my own health challenges to worry about. We both put so much time into our respective households that there isn’t much room left for us. You would think that as single parents we’d find a way to balance each other out, support each other. Other couples do it all the time, but they aren’t us. Our circumstances are unique and extremely challenging.
I’m glad you responded to my email today and filled me in on what’s going on with you. I wish we could have had the discussion face to face or by phone. I needed to hear your voice, but I guess our conflicting schedules make things difficult to coordinate.
There never is a really good time or a good way to end a relationship, especially when two people genuinely love each other. I know you love me, and I love you, but I have to agree with you, we have too much on our plates to have a functional, healthy relationship. There aren’t enough hours in the day to meet the needs of our respective families and have something left to offer each other.
It breaks my heart that we had to end things. I’m trying not to cry. I’m trying to be ok with it, but it still hurts so much. Sometimes, the most loving thing you can do for a person is let them go. I consider this breakup a loving gesture.
I hope the road forward for you smooths out and the drama dies down. You deserve peace and happiness.
I will always love you. Always,
Image credit: Photo5_Red_Ribbon by Julie Edgley
I watched out of the corner of my eye as he walked into study hall and casually approached the teacher. He was late. He had an easy-going manner, a suaveness that made me nervous when I was around him. Zander Bloodworth was roughly six feet tall, muscular, but not bulky. He had shoulder length dread locs, and skin the color of dark chocolate. His eyes were bright, as was his smile. He must floss religiously. His teeth were white and even. Zander leaned against Mrs. Drake’s desk and said something softly that elicited a school-girl giggle from her. He was a skilled flirt. He offered her a charming smile and a wink and turned towards the class to find a seat.
Every female student looked up, eagerly willing him to make eye contact with her. Every male in the classroom watched the Master and took notes. They wanted to be like him when they grew up. Who would be today’s arm piece? I continued to do my research, pretending not to notice him. I wasn’t concerned about him looking my way. No one looked my way. I was ‘the queen nerd.’ I was ok to talk to, seek out for tutoring, and to be pitied for being smart instead physically appealing. I wasn’t arm-candy material. I was Plain Jane in comparison to Lainey Clifton, the school diva. I didn’t have to worry about him sitting with me. I finished my trigonometry homework and leaned down to place my books in my bag. I pulled out my copy of Pride and Prejudice and prepared to ride out the rest of the period engrossed in the story. When I sat up, Zander was sitting beside me, his coco brown eyes sparkling. The boys roared with laughter and began giving each other high-fives, while the girls sucked their teeth and rolled their eyes in my direction. Mrs. Drake hollered, “Detention anyone?” She held up a pack of detention slips and the class settled down a bit. My face was hot and I could feel beads of sweat forming on my scalp and top lip.
“Hey,” he said, softly. His voice was deep.
“Hi,” I said. It sounded more like a question than a greeting. He laughed.
“I didn’t mean to startle you. There weren’t any other good seats in the class.” I looked over to the table where most of the guys in the class sat, watching our every move. There were three open seats at that table, and four other seats among the girls that were still throwing me dirty looks and quietly plotting my death. I looked back at him.
“I see,” I said and looked at him pointedly. He ignored my expression.
“Your name is Sharalyn, right?
“And your name is Zander.” He cleared his throat. Was I making him nervous? Interesting. I decided to take advantage of his vulnerable moment. “Why didn’t you sit with your friends or one of the thirsty girls?” He looked surprised by my question and stuttered his response.
“Well, I ,ummm. Wow! You’re direct! I wasn’t expecting that!”
“What were you expecting?”
“Well, you’re so to yourself, I thought you were shy. I thought you’d be easy to talk to.” He had expectations? That meant he had plans to approach me. I got angry. I don’t care how cute he was, or how many dreams I may have had of one day marrying him and having his children, I was NOT going to be his plaything! I turned back to my book and opened it. I bit my lip to keep from snapping at him.
“Oh, you needed homework help? Tutoring?”
“No,” he laughed nervously, “But if that’s what I need to do to get to know you better,” he trailed off. I put my book down and looked at him, confused.
“What are you talking about?”
Across the room, the boys began to pound on their desks and softly chanted, “Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!” Mrs. Drake held up the detention slips and cleared her throat to get their attention. The girls were creating a list of ways to torment me.
“Well, I’ve been watching you for a while and I think you’re cool and I wanted to know if we could, umm, you know. Could we hang out and stuff.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t know what to say. My crush was asking me out. Did he mean it? His body language said he was really nervous about my response. I’d been watching him, too, and knew this is not how he usually acted around girls. He was pretty confident and direct in his approach. He was mister “charm their socks off.” He couldn’t be interested in me.
“How long, what,” he asked.
“How long have you been watching me…stalker.”
“Since last year,” he smiled.
“I don’t know. You have a reputation for playing with hearts. I don’t want to end up being another notch on your belt.”
“Don’t believe everything you hear. Tell you what, let’s meet after school, my treat. We can go Island Buffet and just talk. You can ask me anything and I will give you the honest truth.”
“Ok, but I’m paying my own way.”
“I see you are going to be hard-headed. You are supposed to let the man pay,” he said. The bell rang and we stood to go to our next class.
“You aren’t my man. You are in the ‘Friend Zone’ until I decide whether or not you are worthy of my time. I pay my own way,” I said it with a smile. He smiled back and shook his head.
“Ok, ‘friend,’” he said, “we’ll do it your way. See you after school.” He left with his friends yapping at his ankles like a pack of terriers, and begging for the details of our conversation. The girls ran out the room to put their dastardly plots into action and stir up the rumor mill.
I left the classroom with a silly smirk on my face. Who knew? My crush was crushing on me, too.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
My Wedding Day, 8:00 AM
Everyone will be here 9 o’clock, and the process of getting me down the aisle with begin. I’m so nervous, and it almost doesn’t make sense! Cash and I have been together for seven years. We’ve lived together for the last year and a half. We know each other well, so I don’t think I should feel so nervous. I guess I feel this way because that walk down the aisle is a long, public walk into a new life. My feelings, the love, excitement, jitters, the eagerness, are going to be exposed. It’s going to show on my face and his. I’m going to be walking into a new life. I am going to be a WIFE! I’m going to be Cash Harrington’s wife! I won’t be a “girlfriend,” or “fiancé” anymore. Today, I get my promotion! I get a new title! Technically, our living arrangement won’t change, but we will. We both will walk in as unmarried individuals, but we will walk out, together, hand in hand, as a new family unit. We will be Mr. And Mrs. Harrington. Wow! I wonder how much that will change us?
In spite of my nerves, I’m excited! I can’t wait to see him. That man of mine, when dressed in a suit, is FINE!!! He hasn’t seen the dress yes, but I hope he loves it. There were a few traditional women in the family that had very strict rules about what kind of dress I should or should not wear. Popular opinion was, I should not wear white, since Cash and I were cohabitating before marriage. Cream, or Off-white were acceptable for me to wear. My arms and shoulders are also supposed to be covered, because anything else might cause the earth to open up and swallow me whole on my wedding day. They wanted to go shopping with me, but I did’t allow that to happen. I went with my bridesmaids and my mother. I chose a strapless, cream-colored dress with red embroidery on the bodice and skirt, and red satin trim at the waist line. It’s beautiful. They will have plenty to talk about. (That’s my gift to them!)
Well, I better put down this pen and start getting ready. I don’t want to be late for the wedding. I can’t wait to see my HUSBAND!
~Gabby Wilson, Soon-to-be Mrs. Cash Harrington
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall