The TV Wife
It’s about midnight and I overslept.
My daughter cradles next to me and I smile as I brush a curl from her face. It was not my intention to share my bed with my daughter, who has a room of her own across the corridor. Nevertheless, she’s seems so happy sleeping with me maybe he’s right, we’ll give her the time she needs to adjust. She needs me.
I long for his touch and ease out of the bed. I move a pillow close to her, she grips it and I hold my breath. “Please don’t wake up,” I whisper, “I need your father now.” She understands and cuddles the pillow and steadies her breathing.
I am off, feet barely touching the ground as I reach the living room and I jump on him. He’s dosing on a mattress in front of the television. I don’t care what he’s watching because I know he’s naked under that towel waiting for me. He laughs as I strip. I’m so hungry for his sweetness and I can barely wait to taste his manhood inside me. The television is turned off as we moan and listen for small cries but she doesn’t get up. Tomorrow is work but I don’t care, he’s so beautiful, I will feast on him until I’m done and I come in an amazing radiance and fall back to earth with a thud.
We lie quietly in each other’s arms and I listen to his heart beat but it doesn’t last. He eases out from under my grip and head to the bathroom. I do the same. I watch the bedroom, she’s sleeping soundly and I go to him again and rest my head on his chest. I want more than sex, I need a hug. Hold me my heart yearns let me lie with you, be more, gave me more.
“Let’s go to bed, there’s more than enough room,” I say.
“You know, I can’t,” he answered. “That bed is too soft for my back; you should go back to her.”
“I’ll stay here then,” I say with a sweet smile.
The television flips back on.
“You know I can’t sleep with the television on,” I groaned, “just a little while longer…”
He’s flipping through the channels and raises the volume. All I get is a dull stare. “Go back to her,” he moans.
My pride cannot ask again and my body shakes as I’m ignored. I move to get up and he pulls me in and kisses my lips. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he grins.
I stare at him; confused and annoyed, I walk away. The corridor seems longer now that I’m walking back and I hold my tears in as I climb into bed and move my face into the pillow. “Move over,” a voice says crossly a minute later.
“Go back to the TV,” I snap.
She jumps and I regret my outburst. He goes to her and holds her close and rocks her back to sleep. He’s a great father and a good man. I chide myself for being so selfish. The things some woman have to endure like smoking, drinking and violence was not my fate, he was just overly preoccupied with the television.
He kisses her gently as he puts her back in bed. I watch him as he moves towards me and kisses me softly once again. This time I kiss back. “I’ll see you in the morning,” he whispers and I nod in agreement and give a faint smile. He walks out of the door and I lay for the next hour watching our daughter and listening to the television. I ask myself over and over what will happen to my marriage when she grows up and out of my bed.
My daughter cradles next to me and I move her foot off of my stomach. She follows me around the bed, looking for the warmth. It’s getting to be uncomfortable sharing a bed with a little person who moves and kicks at random but she’s growing well and just started school. She well adjusted the teacher says and far happier than most children. That’s good to know, I guess she gets that from her father he is also far happier than most. He’s married but has his own room and sleeps in front of the television. She moves again and this time I get a hand in my face. I barricade her between three pillows and look for space on the bed to sleep where I wouldn’t wake her but could still dose off.
This master bedroom held so much promise when we first moved in. It was not my intention to share my bed with my daughter, who has a room of her own across the corridor. A room well suited for a child her age, I resolve to try to get her into her own bed once more, with or without her fathers’ help.
I hear footsteps in the corridor and hastily find a spot and close my eyes. My husband walks in and moved towards our daughter and kisses her goodnight. He frowns at the barricade and moves the pillows away. He’s watching me and I know it, but I don’t care, the whore is not on call tonight go screw your television.
In my haste, I’ve moved away from my daughter’s ear and he gets the opportunity to isolate me. He nibbles my ear and kisses my neck. “Come outside,” he whispered and turns me around. I pretend to awake from a deep sleep confused that he’s there and he smiles. Always oblivious to my resentment, could his world be so simple? TV, food, exercise, sex and he’s happy. He smiles as he walks away and I shrug, I should have never opened my eyes.
I walk to the bathroom and stay to long and then walk outside where he’s waiting. I no longer pounce on him with lustful intent; I wait for him to start. I sit quietly and pretend interest in the television. After a while he takes it off and hugs me. The sex is good I never really regret getting up but I leave as soon as we are done. “I’ll see you in the morning,” I say. My heart breaks every time I hear the TV turns back on as I walk away and morns at the thought of how life would have been if we had bonded. If I was able to hear his heart beat with mine all night and breathe with his rhythm. I kiss my daughters forehead as I climb back into bed. Sleep sweet child, I will hold on as long as I can.
My daughter cradles her pillow. She’s older now but she still doesn’t want to sleep in her own bed. I’m always stressed and I need to do something about this abhorrence festering in me. I feel like my life is there’s and they will both out live me. Why does being a good mother and wife mean losing me so completely? Look at my husband; he’s practically a bachelor still. He always out, walking, swimming, doing stuff in church and I have become the eternal, keeper of the child. Stueps.
I need to exercise more, to read more; I used to read so much. I wish I could fit into those jeans I brought last year. I don’t even invite friends over anymore. The mattress now resides in the living room and I don’t care to explain why. Life is passing by in this bubble and I morn for it. We don’t talk much at home anymore, just the necessary. We put up a good front when we go out though: the lady and the princess with that handsome man at their side. I am always surprised that even though we dress apart we usually color coordinate. It isn’t deliberate it more of a weird quirk, the universe’s wicked sense of humor saying that we belong when we don’t. We could win the award for the best family on the block, I am sure but when we get home where will we put the trophy? In my room, in my daughter’s room or in his room: there is no family room. Maybe there is no need because there is no family – an illusion of sorts for a woman who doesn’t know her worth.
I’m horny, really horny. I’ve tried cutting my husband off but he’s still in front of the television. It’s so embarrassing to pick a fight with the TV and lose.
It’s not that late and I curse the clock as I alternate between the moving numbers and the ceiling. The sound of torture echoes into the room as he puts on a movie. It’s a movie I like and if we were on better terms I may have been inclined to go outside and watch it with him. Eat popcorn maybe.
I walk to my closest, so many dresses unworn, so many pieces no longer fit. I wish I had places to where these dresses; to dance with a man who looks deep in my eyes and sing “Mere Cherie Amore.” I start to wonder about the men I didn’t choose, what were they up to? Were they men who slept with their wives or in front of the television? Maybe I could start over; maybe I could explain to the child why daddy doesn’t live here anymore. Maybe I could find myself again. It wasn’t a maybe I had to, soon she would be moving to her room and what would be my excuse then. He isn’t going to sleep with me and I’m not sleeping in front of the TV all night, every night so it was time to prepare for the inevitable.
I take the sexy skinny jeans out of the closet and hang it on the door. It’s time to fit back into this. It is time to prepare to move on. I can’t sleep; the determination to ask for a divorce keeps me awake. When the house quiets I venture out into the corridor, my feet barely touching the ground. I take the remote and lower the TV which is my nightly routine but today I stand there and I stare at him as he sleeps. I love him, he ignites a fire in me but I can’t understand him. I move to wake him wishing to kiss him, needing his touch. My eyes fall on his phone, and I pick it up quietly and run through the calls and texts. He been calling his exes and everyone but me. I read the texts as he sleeps not caring if he awakes, nothing incriminating, and nothing to warrant my decision. No proof, nothing to strengthen my accord. I place the phone gently back in place but my mind is already changed, I don’t wake him. We are too different, we always were and we will both survive the split.
I’m home. I walk through the door and I spot them in the living room watching a kiddy show both perched on that mattress. I’ve started back writing, joined a group and fit perfectly into these skinny jeans which I wore to my writers meeting tonight. I stayed back a little later than needed. I no longer rush out the door to go to church with them as I usually do and I walked idly with the group and accepted compliments as we waited for transportation.
“Your husband normally picks you up?” One questioned as I kept walking with the group. “True,” I replied, “but some days it just feels good to be alone,” I grinned.
I am taking back my life; father and daughter can take care of themselves. I pass them with a smile and reach the delight of my room. I take a bath and look for a book to read until she’s ready to sleep. My life is so busy now and even though I’ve changed around her room to suit her age, she’s still not budging but I’m not making it a problem. By the time I tuck her in and say goodnight, the TV is off and he’s praying.
He’s been praying more these days, and I’ve been praying less. Is it because I already got my answer? I’m not sure but I still say, “I’ll see you in the morning.”
My daughter cradles her pillow as I look at her sleeping in her own bed. Nine years, I’m both relieved and lonely. The first month my sex life improved and it seemed as if I worried all those years for nothing. He held me close and I began to believe once again but after a month I woke to an empty bed.
Now he doesn’t wait until I’m asleep it’s servicing then return to the TV wife, I don’t know how to leave. I endure.
She’s no longer in that room. She’s grown and off to college.
I have a new job now, one that takes me out of the country every month and I’ve met someone. It’s someone we both know, even though he’s younger he’s already divorced and I’m ready to ask for one so why not. The sex isn’t as good as my husband, actually it’s rather horrible. I always close my eyes and think of my husband so that I can reach an orgasm but he holds me close after and we sleep together in each other’s arms until the sunrise rises.
It’s what I wanted but not with him. This isn’t the one and I have to figure out how to end this delicately. I can’t be seen to be the one at fault, I say, I need a clean break first and then we can try again. He’s looks taken aback but he nods in agreement and leaves quietly.
It’s like I’ve gone from bad to worse, I have no plans of ever calling him again.
I can’t help but have sex with my husband when I get back home. He does it so well, he stays tonight all night and I wish he had gone back to the TV because I need to cry.
When I get up he was gone. Sunday morning run as usual with his group. He’ll be back before I know it. Something is different, the TV is in the bedroom, it isn’t plugged in and the remote is wrapped in gift paper with my name on it.
I cry, to little to late. Did I even have the sanity to try this again? My heart wondered if I could find a way and I knew that we could.
I hear the car pull up and watch through the window. It was him he was parked outside the house waiting for my husband. I pulled back and peeped through the curtains. He was telling him. I could see my husband’s hand drop from the handshake as he stepped back and floored him. His face was in shock as he turned towards the house. The news pierced his heart; I could see it in his face and grew afraid. All those years in front of the blasted television and he was still surprised that his wife was unhappy with him, stunned that she had turned to his fool for comfort. He had an affair with the television, the running track and the ocean; always leaving to go to her.
I should have run, I should have hidden but I was tired. I didn’t even care to deny it. My entire life I thought too much and said to little. I should have broken the TV into pieces years ago, hidden the remote, burnt the mattress but I waited until it was too much to take.
I stopped praying and endured what was not mine to endure. I used my daughter as an excuse and left no legacy of what a real relationship should look like. So I got back into bed, which is where I would have been when he returned and turned my back to the door.
When the door flung opened and he shouted, I said nothing.
When the TV crashed to the floor and he screamed, I didn’t move.
He packed his clothes and the car sped off an hour later and I lay quietly praying for my life.
He never came back.
I never brought another television.
There is nothing more to endure.
I have time to read my books.
This is a short story that I wrote this morning when I considered an alternate reality asking myself: What if I was this woman, how would things work out? or could it work out? Next week I’ll do another one. I hope.
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