The Secret Exploits of a SAHM – Chapter Three – The Dark One

27 Jun

THE DARK ONE

By D.M. Wright

 

“When is Daddy coming home from his business trip?”

I frown. “He’s not on a business trip.”

“Oh. I thought he was. I haven’t seen him in a few days.” He looks down at his hands. A lone tear falls down his face.

“Hey there,” I whisper. “What’s the matter?” I brush his hair out of his eyes. My oldest son is very sensitive. He takes things very heavily to heart.

“Why doesn’t he want to spend time with us?” He mumbles.

“That’s not true. He loves you guys. He just has to work. A lot. Especially now that I don’t have a job. He has to do the work for us both.” I try to comfort him. He sees through my lies.

“What about when you were working? He just doesn’t want to be with us.” His face crumples.

I hug him, tears springing to my eyes. Family should come first, of course. But work often takes top priority. Why is this? Not just to my  husband, I know. There are others.

“Sweetie, sometimes there is a lot of pressure on you when you have a job. You have to get projects done in a certain amount of time. You have a boss that yells at you if you don’t. Kind of like at one of your games. Your coaches expect you to play your position correctly, right? And when you don’t, what happens?”

“They yell. I let the team down. We might lose the game.” He sniffs.

“It’s the same way in a job, buddy. Everyone needs to do their part or the boss will get upset.” I’m not sure how to explain the truth; why his father would rather work than come home to his family. And then when he does come home, he yells at everyone. I would much rather have him stay at work. Unfortunately, I have seen him every day. But not until very late at night. Most nights he gets home between 9-10. Well after the boys have gone to bed. I’ve often thought there was someone else. And since he is so mean when he does get home, I think, she can have him! Good riddance.

Even when I was working, he didn’t come home. I’d work a full day, get the kids from wherever they might have been, feed them dinner, read, bathe and put them to bed. Then I’d realize I was exhausted and go to bed myself. In those days I rarely saw him, but I was too tired to notice. Now, the stay-at-home thing has really brought this to light.

I must have bumped into him at some point because we have this baby now. Sometimes I think he did it on purpose so I would be distracted with something to do. It takes the attention off of him. Sometimes it works exactly like that. Until your children shock you with the realization that nothing gets by them.

The baby starts crying, awake from his nap.

“Can I get him?” My sweet son wipes away his tears.

“Of course.” I smile and kiss him on the forehead.

Later that evening, I sit listening to the peaceful melody that is silence. The boys are all asleep and tucked away for the night. The house has been cleaned up from dinner and all toys have been put away. I am caught up on laundry for the moment. Even the bathroom is in pretty good shape. This is my reward. A moment or two of silence and nothing on my plate that absolutely has to get done.

I smile, eyes closed. Then my husband arrives home from work. He is saying wonderful things. How nice it is to come home to a clean house. How appreciative he is that there is dinner waiting for him. How sorry he is for being late yet again. How beautiful I look in just my “Harvest Vegetable” covered t-shirt and shorts. How he loves my hair best in that sloppy ponytail. How even after a hard day of work, he is truly blessed to come home and have a hard-working, loving wife waiting for him.

“Wake up! At least you could listen to me when I am talking to you!” He yells.

I open my eyes, tears threatening to fall again from the effort to block out the words that were really being said. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. “It’s been a long day.”

“Oh, you’ve had a long day? What, did you drop one of your bon-bons after your nap?!” He snarls. “You don’t know what a long day is. I would love to stay at home and do nothing all day.” He throws his wallet and keys at the couch next to where I am sitting.

I jump, startled. “I’m sorry. Do nothing all day? Is that really what you think I do?”

He turns and glares at me. “You don’t have it half as bad as I do.” He growls.

“Maybe not, but I don’t do ‘nothing’ all day.” I stand to leave the room. “There is dinner on the stove for you.”

“Why don’t you heat it up for me then?” He pushes past me to go into the bathroom and slams the door.

I flinch and I am bristling with anger. Why didn’t I just go to bed? He usually leaves me alone if I’m sleeping. Do I heat up his dinner? Do I hawk up a big loogie and add to it as well? I just never know how angry he will get. He has never hit me, but he has thrown things in my general direction. I truly think he wants to throw them at me.

I sigh. I go heat up his dinner. What happened to this man? To us? I used to want to spend every waking moment with him. Now I dread when he comes home. My children miss their daddy, but I doubt that they would miss this one.

He comes out of the bathroom and stomps into the kitchen.

“Would you like a beer with that?” I ask sweetly.

“What do you think?” He growls, grabs his plate and stomps into the living room.

I grab a beer out of the fridge and open it for him. “Your son was asking about you. He misses you.” I hand him the beer. “He thought you were on a business trip.”

“And?”

“And?” I ask incredulously. “And maybe you should put in appearance and tell him you are still here and that you love and miss all of them. Maybe a hug or a kind word would be nice?”

Be nasty to me all you want. I can take it. But don’t you dare hurt my children.

“A kind word, huh?” He takes a swig of his beer. “How about ‘Your Dad works hard for you, kid. So you can have a roof over your head, food to eat, clothes on your back and toys to play with’? How’s that? Or how about ‘Don’t be a pussy and get all mushy with your feelings’? ‘Get your head out of your ass or you’ll end up like your flighty Mother’?” He grins, but not nicely. It is more like a leer. An evil leer.

“You’re an ass.” I scowl at him. “Why do you bother coming home? I don’t want you here. And clearly you don’t want to be here.” I turn to go down the hall. “Have a nice night on the couch.” I slam the bedroom door and lock it.

I don’t know whether to bust out into tears or stay angry. Tears are usually my thing. But I am pissed. And I should probably stay angry in case he comes after me.

I wait for a long time. He never comes.

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