The Scene Change

In “Anecdotal Tales”, stories will be told. Some will be fun, some will not. Some will be great, some will be less so. Some stories are true, some are merely possible. This is one of them.

The Scene Change

Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.” -Phyllis McGinley

“Do we really need to have this fight now?”

“Well if we don’t talk now, then when?  You’re going to crash and I have to get up for work long before you get up.”

“Okay, but I’m tired, you’re tired; can’t we just go to bed?”  Denise had gone through this conversation with Joel before.  She could tell that if they picked up the discussion tonight it would probably turn into a squabble.

“Never let the sun set on an argument”, Joel quoted.

“All right”, Denise said as she tried to adopt a cooperative attitude.  She kicked off her shoes and walked towards a specific chair in the kitchen.  Instead of immediately sitting down, she waited.  Over the years Denise and Joel had gone through their share of “discussions”.  They thought it was a good idea to start their talks sitting close to each other so they could remember that they both wanted a happy ending for the both of them.

Per their custom, Joel sat down on the chair and put his hand on the small of Denise’s back, which she took as her cue to sit on his lap in a more or less sideways position.  She laid her head on his shoulder and he leaned his head on hers.  Denise breathed in the familiar smell of her husband and realized that she was probably getting her stage makeup on him.  Joel was used to waking up with brown smudges on his face and clothing by now.

Denise was happy like this.  She wanted to simply rest in her husband’s arms and drift off to sleep.  If there was anything that Denise appreciated about Joel, it was how comfortable she made him feel.  The same man who had a hard time sharing her excitement was also the one who took deep and slow inhalations.  Joel was almost always calm, even when he was upset with Denise.

Knowing that Joel was letting her rest and recuperate, Denise lifted her head.  She looked at her husband’s face and saw the light creases that had recently increased around the edges of his eyes.  They matched the prematurely gray eyebrows that he had acquired in the last few years rather nicely.  Denise had to admit that she had plucked a few hairs herself this year.  There were still people that commented on how she looked like she was in her early twenties and not her thirties, but those remarks were coming less and less frequently.  She was still young enough to have her pick of roles, so that contented her for now.  Also Joel was constantly telling her how beautiful she was; inside and out.  The world appreciated her beauty, her friends liked her for her spirit, but it was Joel who loved every part of her, body and soul.

“Hi”, she said with a quiet smile as she leaned in and kissed Joel.  It was a slow kiss, and a light one, but their method of kissing was better than any that she shared on stage.

“Hey”, Joel replied soothingly.

“Do you know how much I love you?”

“I think so”, Joel said as the creases near his eyes deepened with happiness.  “And I hope you know how incredible I think you are.”

“I do”, she said as she put her hand on his chest.

“Good”, Joel said as he let his hand trace the line of her chin.

“But?”

“But”, Joel replied.  His voice changed from reassuring to serious. He didn’t change his affectionate demeanor, though he was clearly ready to get down to business.

“What’s going on?”

“I miss you”, he said.

“I miss you too”, she replied.  “But you know how musicals are.  There’re the lines, the choreography, and I’ve told you how hard the singing is.  And honey, I’m the supporting female lead.  I need to be at my best.”

“I know all of that”, Joel said.  “I still would like to see you once in a while.”

“I was home all Monday”, Denise offered.

“I had to work”, Joel countered.  “And when I came home at six you were already fast asleep.”

“I was tired.  Do you know how exhausting it is to be on sixteen hours a day, six days a week?”

“Denise”, he said with a pause that meant he was considering how best to present his case.  “I’m not upset at you for being dedicated.  I appreciate how much work it takes to be as good as you are, even with all your talent.  I also want you around the house.  That’s all I’m saying.”

“What do you want me to do, quit?”  Denise was done sitting down and behaving calmly.  “This is my career.  I have an entire cast depending on me.  Do you think the rest of them don’t want to clock off at six and go home to their families?”

“I don’t care about them.  I only care about you.”  Denise didn’t know how to react to that, so she brought in their go-to source of discord.

“Is this about the bikini again?”

Joel blinked.  Then he blinked again.  In his understated way of expressing himself, it was as if the man were screaming.  “We’re going to back to that?  I thought we agreed to let it stay in the past.”

“Well, the past informs the present”, Denise replied.  She was already regretting bringing up that play.  Joel had been a good sport for their entire dating relationship and the first two years of their marriage.  However one single play almost sent him packing.

Denise was a very attractive woman and Joel’s friends had no qualms about reminding him of that fact.  “If you want to sleep well at night, don’t have an attractive wife”, his friends would joke.  Joel often felt other men checking out Denise when they were out in public, but the gym was the worst.  Denise was friendly and she had a matching set of long legs and a nice chest.  Many men found that to be grounds for familiarity.  Joel had tried his best to let it roll of the shoulders, but then that one play had come along and pushed him too far.

The play itself wasn’t the problem; it was the on-stage scene change.  Denise was a debutante at a luxury getaway.  She was playing a woman who was talking with her best friend about how much fun they were having and how she never wanted to sleep again.  Then she proceeded to change, with very strategic scenery blocking her, from a sexy evening gown to a barely-there bikini.  Joel had gone to opening night, as he always did.  Denise had told him about the on-stage display and he thought he understood what it entailed.  What he hadn’t considered before he had sat in his theatre seat was the commotion all the men around him would make.  To this day, that was the only time Denise had ever seen Joel truly yell.  She had promised to try to avoid roles that might make him feel disrespected.  If she were to tell the whole truth, her age meant that Denise was offered those roles less often each year.

“That play is a sore spot for me”, Joel replied after a long pause.  “It probably always will be.  But that’s not what’s upsetting me.   I’m only stating how much I would like to see you and how I hope that we can make time for each other soon.”

“Okay”, Denise said as she tried to regain her calm.  “But what about the pre-party?”

“The what?”  Joel was caught off guard.

“Right after I was cast, there was that big gathering.  Remember, I told you how the appetizers were stale and Jeremy balanced that plate on his nose like a seal?”

“I guess.”

“That was the pre-party.  I wanted to show you off to my friends and my new cast mates.  Instead, you went on a fishing trip with your pals.”

“Oh”, Joel said as he hung his head an almost imperceptible amount.  “That party.”  The quiet in the air remained.  Joel finally stood up and walked to the other side of the kitchen.  “You know those things really aren’t for me.”

“I know”, Denise said.  “That’s why I don’t ask you to come very often.  I don’t even go that much anymore.  When I do go, though, I would like you there with me.  I like having you with me.  It’s important to me.  So I feel upset that you’re saying I should make time for you when you’d rather spend three days outside than with me.”

Denise could see the Joel’s jaw clench and the few muscles that Joel had in his arms tense as he pulled at the countertop.  Her husband was going into defense-mode.  Denise had learned long ago that all she could do was wait this phase out.  Anything she might try to do to diffuse his anger would only bring it out faster.

A minute passed without speaking.  Then two.  Denise was beginning to become uncomfortable with the silence.  She wanted Joel to say something, but he didn’t like to be rushed.  He was clearly formulating thoughts, processing his reasoning.  Then he looked up at her.  He walked across the room and stood in front of Denise.

“You’re right”, he admitted.  “That was somewhat unfair, and I apologize.  I do miss you, though.”

Denise took Joel’s left hand between both of hers and rubbed her thumb against his wedding ring like a worry-stone.

“I miss you two.  And I’m sorry for bringing up that play again.  We need to make more time for each other, obviously.  Can you wait a month or two?  I mean, we can get a day here or there to ourselves, but things will quiet down after this show.  You know they will.”

“You still have Mondays off, right?  I think I’ll take some off those off from work and be here with you.”

“I’d like that”, she said as her smile reappeared.  “We need to come to an agreement about our scheduling, though.  Why don’t you spend your weekends outdoors when I’m having my busy show weekends?”
“That’s probably a sound idea”, Joel agreed.

“More than that, let’s make it a rule”, Denise challenged.  “No leaving town without me.  Be outdoors when I’m busy.  But when we can both be free, we should be with each other.  It’s too easy to grow apart if we’re not a priority in the other’s schedule.”

“True”, Joel said.

“’True’ as in, you agree?  Or ‘True’ as in, let me think about it?  I’m really hoping it’s the first one”, Denise said.

“The first one”, Joel said with a grin.  He took a step forward and closed the small gap that had been between the two of them.  “You are always my first priority.  I don’t care if you’re a star or not, so long as I get to be around you.”

“Well thank you”, she said as she hugged him and put her head on his shoulder.  She pulled away just enough to look Joel in the eyes.  “Now can we be around each other in bed?  I’m freakin’ exhausted.”

Advertisements

About anecdotaltales
He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Problems With Infinity

Confessions of a Delusional Maniac

Avoiding Neverland

A nomadic teacher's thoughts on preparing teens for life

Late~Night Ruminations

...for all the ramblings of my cluttered mind....

Short...but not always so sweet 💋

Happy endings are not guaranteed

Running Away To Booktopia

Because let's face it, reality sucks most of the time.

guclucy5incz5hipz

Exploring my own creativity (and other people's) in the name of Education, Art and Spirituality. 'SquarEmzSpongeHat'. =~)

The Land of 10,000 Things

Charles Soule - writer.

40 is the new 13

These are my 40s... what happened?

You're Gonna Need a Bigger Blog

This blog, swallow you whole

bottledworder

easy reading is damn hard writing

s1ngal

S1NGLE living H1GH thinking

Listful Thinking

Listless: Lacking zest or vivacity

Kim Kircher

Strength from the Top of the Mountain

The Byronic Man

We can rebuild him. We have the technology... Drier. Hilariouser. More satirical than before.

The One Year Challenge

A one-year chronical of no flirting, no more dating and absolutely no sex.

Beth Amsbary

Grantwriter, Storyteller

%d bloggers like this: