This game of chance they were playing never seemed to pay off

‘Whatever!’  Megan shrugged her shoulders and trudged off down the hallway.  She had just about had it with Mike.  The guy just didn’t get it.  He spent at least nine hours a day in front of that screen at the office, then when he came home he was either on his phone, maybe with more work, or on his social media apps.  It just never ended.

Slipping into bed, even though it was only 8:37, she wondered how or where their paths seemed to diverge.  Some element of the guy she once knew was either missing in action or dead altogether.

He had always been a gunner, she knew that going in.  Mike was first in his class at South Central High, captain of the basketball team and even had the lead in the winter play when he was a sophomore.  She hadn’t known him until college but over the years it was clear his college successes weren’t a fluke.  In college though, he seemed to have a warmer, less-driven side than the guy on the couch in the next room.

Sure, he was Dean’s List and academic honor society material, but he also knew how to have a good time.  She remembered the fun they had at the Rose and Rose’ party the first night they met and who could forget their formal senior year?  He really knew how to show a girl a good time.  Maybe that was more of the perfectionist, “winner,” side of his personality where he seemed to spend all his time these days.  Had she just been another task to complete, another box to be checked in his quest for world domination?  And having accomplished that, had he simply just moved on to World Domination.  She couldn’t help but smile.  Mike used to joke about it when they talked about the future.

She remembered long heart to hearts after they’d made love in his crummy apartment their senior year.  He did have a lot of plans, a lot of ambitions, but she was always part of them, “And then, Meg, we’re going to buy a beach house and I’ll consult while you take our 2.4 children to soccer and viola lessons.”  They weren’t on the beach yet, not that their rambler was anything to pooh-pooh, but they had been at this for a little over six years.  And there sure weren’t 2.4 children wandering around, they hadn’t even managed the .4.

Whenever the subject of children came up (and they both said they wanted them) Mike would have some logical, well-thought-out, reason why now “wasn’t the best time.”  He was in the throes of a big move at work, trying to attain that next tier on the salary scale and he wouldn’t be able to be as engaged or involved with the kids as he would like and didn’t she want him to be present?  She had to admit she did.  Heck, she would settle for him being present with her at this point.  She slipped out of bed to peek around the corner.  Back to her, head down, the glow of his phone screen illuminating the sides of his neck, he sat on the couch reading…something.  What it might be, she didn’t know.  She’d wondered, once even out loud, if he was interested in someone else; if he’d found another quest.

She’d thrown the possibility or fear or whatever you might call it out in a heated fight.  “How do I know you don’t have someone you’re seeing on the side!?  How do I know those nights at work are actually nights at work!?”  She knew it was ludicrous really even before she said it but it was an attempt to explain away why she apparently wasn’t enough.  His response was what she expected.

“How can you even say that, Meg?  You know I’m working on the Jones merger right now!  You know I’m busting my ass to get us to a better life!  You can’t really think I’d cheat, do you?”  She had to admit she couldn’t.  Their sex life wasn’t much to write home about but he didn’t even look at other women, she’d watched him at parties.  She wasn’t particularly proud.

On more than one occasion she had excused herself to go to the ladies room and then hid and watched him from afar.  There were some stunning young women in his office and at these business functions they were done up to the nines, yet his head never turned.  Even the two or three who clearly flirted with him were dealt with politely, professionally and Mike remained every bit the gentleman.  She knew this, she had been on the receiving end of the Mike Jensen “press” before.  His friends told her so.  They even joked about how he’d thrown the full court (a reference to his tenacity on the hardwoods at a younger age) at her from the moment he saw her.  There was none of this with these women.  There was none of it with her any more either.  She’d tried to get inside his head, figure out what he was thinking, where he was coming from and where he thought he was going to before, all to no avail.

Her probing questions were met with polite smiles and short answers.  Her weak attempts to draw him into conversation or lead him in some Aristotelian way into a self-examined life fell flat.  She knew the results, she just couldn’t quite resolve herself to the man sitting silently on the couch as she turned back to the bedroom shaking her head slightly.  Where was it all going to end?  Or was it?  She shook her head more definitively now as she eased back into bed.  No, splitting up wasn’t in the cards, and why would she?

Mike provided a great life for her and he was never demanding or cruel.  He never chided her about the several extra pounds she’d put on since their marriage.  He didn’t drink to excess, didn’t smoke and he’d never once shouted at her.  Sure, there had been some harsh words but mostly provoked by her own and never in an offensive way.  Mostly he just played defense in their arguments.  Sometimes she wondered if she was trying to provoke him, trying to get him mad enough to say something hurtful to finally blurt out why he kept her at a distance so much.  Those words never came.

She’d probably overthought it but she’d considered leaving even though it seemed ridiculous.  People who had left marriages because they weren’t “fulfilled” or weren’t “being fed” or just plain weren’t happy had always been subjects of derision by both of them.  Really, what kind of lame reason was that?  She rolled over in bed hugging her pillow as her mind rolled questions around like crazy ping pong balls in a bingo cage with no opening to let them fall out.  Like all the other nights there would be no resolution.

There would be no shouts of “Bingo!”

No one ever said marriage was easy but at least in this case, at this time it’s also not full of answers or reasons.  Sometimes all you can do is just hang in there.  Who knows when your numbers will finally come up?

I write about life stuff each week.  Some of it’s uplifting and honestly some of it is about stuff that’s just hard.  If you would like to read more (I promise there’s some feel-good ones there) click this to go to my blog’s home page.  If you like what you read I hope you’ll subscribe.  Subscribing is free and means you’ll receive an email on Sundays with links to the week’s posts.  Nothing more or less as I never sell or share emails.  Click here to subscribe or do so at the blog.