As soon as I’ve turned the lamp on, I hear someone walking up my steps to my apartment and I am instantly filled with dread. Charles has arrived. For the past few days, since I had discovered that he was gone, I could wallow in my own self pity without having to listen to placed blame, excuses, or Charles’s “reasons” for leaving. I fear what he has to say to me. I don’t know why, but criticism has always been extremely difficult for me to take. Though I don’t think most people are much different than me in this regard. For me, I try so hard to please, to be liked, and when someone says something to me that reflects on me negatively at all, it devastates me. This is a known flaw of mine, one that has lead to avoidance of things that I know I should talk about or deal with. Well, as I hear a rap on my door, I know that that’s something that I am going to have to remedy right now.
I get up and walk to the door, trying to think through what I am going to say, and preparing myself for how I am going to feel and react when I see Charles for the first time since I came home to see that all of his belongings were gone.
“Hey,” he says when I open the door.
“Hi,” I respond while crossing my arms as I move to the side to let him come inside.
He walks over and sits down on the couch, so comfortable and relaxed. There is no sign of sadness or remorse in his face or body language whatsoever. I want to scream at him, yell, hit the bastard. Instead, I just ask him why.
“It just doesn’t work,” he says simply and shrugs.
“It doesn’t work? That’s all you’re going to say? What doesn’t work, and why have you not talked to me … why do I have to come home to see your stuff packed … gone …” I say while gesturing around me to the half empty apartment.
“You’re lazy,” he spits out, “I can’t stand it. You DO nothing. You’d never be a good mother, you don’t even take care of yourself.”
“I can’t believe you just said that,” I sputter, “Are you totally ignorant? Out of the, what, almost five years that I’ve know you I’ve worked—not only have I worked one, if not two jobs, I’ve gone to school. What have you done, Mr. Starbucks?”
Perhaps I’ve gone too far, but the man has royally pissed me off? Lazy? I’ve worked my butt off getting through college and making sure that I have always had a job while doing so. While Charles has worked at Starbucks throughout the whole course of our relationship, always talking about what he’s GOING to do but never actually DOING anything except for talking.
He snorts, “You didn’t work for two months. All you did was lay around and sleep.”
“Oh, you’re saying I’m lazy because I had PNEUMONIA! Did you forget that I had a temperature of 107 degrees, and that I asked the doctor to give me a note to excuse me from work, for YOU!”
“Whatever,” is his smart reply, “people don’t need that long off of work from pneumonia. You could have gone back sooner, you CHOSE not to go.”
“I went back to work as soon as the doctor cleared me to return and how can you say that I wouldn’t be a good mom—I’m a teacher for crying out loud.”
“You don’t even clean up around here, how are you ever going to be able to clean up after a kid.”
I am seeing red. This man has royally pissed me off. How can he see me this way? This man that I’ve know for almost five years. How can he have no idea who I am.
“What, because I don’t clean up after you? Do you need me to be your mother? Sorry, I didn’t know that that was my job—I THOUGHT I was your wife, partner.”
He rolls his eyes and stands up, “I have to go. I just need to grab the rest of my stuff. My cousin wants us to go to counseling. He recommended a gal and I gave her a call, we have an appointment on Wednesday at four. I’ll meet you there.”
“Why? Why are you bothering? You don’t care anymore, you’re already done.”
He turns to look at me, “Because my cousin wants me to go, so I’ll go.”
“I could be better,” I hear myself say as I plop down on the couch my head falling into my hands, “I could try harder.”
My voice sounds far away, so do his steps as he moves around the apartment gathering up his things. I can’t help but wonder why, why does he want to pretend to try when clearly he’s done with me and doesn’t want me anymore. How can he know so very little about me?