Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)
TITLE: Perry's Got It Wrong
By Laury Hubrich
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“No problem, Perry, Patty. You’ve never seen me for marital problems before. How long have you been married? Twenty-five years now?”
Twenty-six.” Perry looked down at his scuffed black shoes and then over at his wife.
Patty eyed both men with disdain. “Where’s your wife, Pastor? At home with the newest? Six now, is it?”
Pastor Joe’s chest puffed with pride, as if he did something that qualified him for the Guinness Book.
“You sure do know how to keep her barefoot and pregnant, as the saying goes.” Patty smiled sweetly and Pastor smiled back, not quite sure if that was a complement or snide remark.
“See what I have to live with? She’s constantly like this; has something to say about everything and everyone. She’s always right and I’m never…”
Patty broke into Perry’s soliloquy. “He’s right, about what he was going to say, Pastor. He’s never right. Never. I don’t think I’m always right. I am always right.”
Pastor Joe reached into his drawer; pulled out aspirin; took a handful; swallowed them with a swig of coffee; then, with a quick silent prayer, attempted to stop the argument before it got out of hand.
“Now Patty, you don’t mean that.” The woman looked at him out of the corner of her eye and he recognized what he said was all wrong. “What I meant to say was, Patty, would you like to share anything with us? How is life treating you?”
Perry broke in before she could take a breath. “Life’s treating her just peachy, Pastor. She sits around all day long doing nothing. I see her playing on that there laptop she bought without even asking me if I cared if she bought it.”
“Umm…Darling, it was my birthday money from my parents, remember?”
“And she talks to people that she don’t even know. I come home and she goes right to her room and barely talks to me, her own husband,” Perry went on as if she didn’t say a word in her own defense.
Pastor Joe took a second to breathe in another silent prayer before he went on. He too lived with a woman. He knew when to tread lightly. “Patty, why do you go to your room when Perry comes home?”
“So I don’t strangle him, that’s why.”
“Why would you want to strangle him?”
“Because he leaves his work boots wherever he wants to. I have the house neat and tidy and he tracks in mud. If I say something he gets mad. I think it best if I just leave before we argue.”
Pastor nodded his head. “Sounds smart.”
“Pastor, he follows me into our room, though. He says I’ve checked out of our marriage. I’ve done no such thing. I’m trying to preserve it for years to come. You see, I’ve been to… Bend down here, will you?” Patty whispered and his ears tinged red.
“I see. That does present a problem. Does Perry know this?”
“He won’t go to the doctor with me. He doesn’t want to know anything about ‘woman problems.’ Those are his exact words.”
Pastor Joe turned and looked at the man who wiggled uncomfortably in his chair. “Perry, we must talk about something that you obviously don’t want to hear about. Do you know what perimenopause is?
“Well, sure I do. I went in to see that doctor one day, Patty don’t know it. He sat me down and said, “Perry, this is a mini time in Patty’s life and we will pause while she git through it.” So that’s what I did. I paused for a bit. Now it’s time to get over it.”
“Pastor, when I see those socks he leaves in our room,” Patty followed with a demonstration. She took Perry’s necktie, “I want to wrap them around his scrawny neck and pull…” Perry squirmed out of her firm grip while Pastor Joe tried to get between the two.
“Please, please sit down. I can see now that neither of you want to check out of this marriage. You love each other deeply, like none of the other couples I’ve ever seen walk through my doors.”
They both nodded and smiled at the other.
For now, while Patty’s going through this hard time, just give her a wide berth, why don’t we, okay, Perry, you and I both?
“I think that’s a mighty fine idea, Pastor.”
“First, can we talk about the snoring, Perry?”
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