Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Blessed( 10/11/12)
The Perfect Marriage
By Michael Throne
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"I don't want to live like this anymore," he says. "We're always angry."
"It's not my fault," she says. "I'm not the one who keeps picking. First, you don't like my roast. Then my green beans are too done!"
"I didn't say that I didn't like the roast."
"You said it was dry! It was embarrassing."
"I guess I do I like my beans to snap a little. Honestly, how hard would it be to cook them a little less?"
"Well, why don't you cook the next time we have company?
"Maybe I will."
He pauses. "See, this is exactly what I'm talking about."
"I didn't start it."
"It doesn't matter who started it. It's got to end. Especially with the baby coming."
"So stop complaining about the things I do!"
"Like you don't complain about me?"
"I don't," she says, angrily. "Not like this."
"Yeah? What about the cable bill?"
"Well, of course, I'm upset about that. We're way behind on our bills, but we're spending over three hundred dollars a month on every sports and movie package they offer!"
"It's calming to watch a game after work. It relieves my stress."
"So if it's something I want, we can't afford it! But what about all that new stuff? Did we really need an entire room full of Newman Marcus baby furniture?"
"Yes, we did! It's for our baby. I didn't want a bunch of junk!"
"So you paid top dollar...."
"Stop it! You were there with me!"
"To try to keep you in line."
"So how about all that ski equipment? That's over a thousand dollars we're still paying off!"
"Skiing is peaceful."
"But we could have rented them!"
"Buying's cheaper in the long run."
"You're always so good at rationalizing."
"I am not."
"And the BMW? We can't afford that and this house payment!"
"Sure we can. We just need to make a little effort to be thrifty. Like grocery shopping, for instance."
"Grocery Shopping? How about all that home theatre equipment?"
"It's cheaper than paying ten bucks each to see a movie."
"And that's not rationalizing?"
"No, it's not. It's thinking things through."
"Then why are we always broke? Why are we so far behind on our bills? Rick and Janet earn half of what we do, but they don't have money problems."
He pauses. "I knew it was a mistake to have them over."
"Why? Why is it their fault, all of a sudden?"
"It's not. I just get tired of their 'perfect marriage.'"
"I never said they were perfect."
"You imply it."
"Well, they do seem happy."
"And we're not?"
"Sometimes. Not always."
"Yeah. Not always."
"I don't know. I guess I get a little envious."
"Yeah." He puts a plate in the dishwasher. "Honestly, I get envious, too. I look at them and wonder what we're doing wrong."
"And now we're bringing a baby into this," she says.
"We have to figure this out."
He puts his hands in his pockets. "So what are they doing different?"
"Besides not fighting?"
"Yeah. Besides not fighting."
"I don't know. It's like, they actually care about each other."
"I care about you."
"Yeah, and I care about you, too. But they, I don't know, they have something, a peacefulness." She lowers her voice. "Janet mentioned their church again."
"So now you want to start going to church?"
"No, of course not! I'm just saying that it seems to calm them somehow, keeps them a little more mellow...."
"The opiate of the masses."
"Yeah." She shrugs. "Some marriages are just naturally blessed, I guess."
"But maybe," he concedes, "maybe there is something there. Maybe we should start taking walks in the woods, getting more in touch with our spiritual side."
"I don't know. Remember how we tried trail riding for a while? We were suppose to 'get back to nature,' isn't that what you said? All we did was blow a couple grand on some bikes that we never rode after the first few weeks."
"So we need to stick with it."
"Honestly, I don't see how that's going to help."
"Of course, it is. Come on, we have to do something. We have a baby coming."
"Yeah, we do."
"I don't know."
"It's worth a try."
She looks at him thoughtfully. "You really think it will help?"
"Well, I could use some new hiking boots, I guess."
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