Elise and Harvey BarriosbyMatt Moreau©
Our problems, to be as euphemistical as one can be, had begun in January; it was now the end of November. We went to work; we ate together, mostly silently; she'd smile and periodically come on to me; and I'd demur, without rancor, but I'd demur.
She and I did talk some, but my knowing she was out fucking everything with a third leg made any intimate conversation by us a non-happening.
We never went anywhere together now, and that fact was about to pose a small problem. Since neither of us had any close family left, we'd always spent the holidays together or with a few close friends. Thanksgiving and Christmas were the biggees; now they were upon us; it promised to be a sad time at least for me. But in her case, I think she saw their approach as an opportunity.
"Harvey, could I ask you something. I know we are kinda just floating and not going anywhere right now, and I do hope that that will change," she said, giving me a mushy look. "Anyway, I mean would it be all right, you know, to have Thanksgiving Dinner together somewhere?"
Her request had come out of the blue and had caught me kinda flatfooted as one might say. "I guess," I said. "Where did you have in mind?"
"Anywhere but McDonald's," she laughed. I was forced to smile back at her. Okay, so she got a point in with that one.
"The Road House," I said. "Haven't had a good steak in a long time," I was not all that partial to Turkey, and what did I have to be thankful for anyway. She gave me a strange look but turned it into a winsome smile.
"Good," she said.
Thanksgiving was this coming Thursday; I made the reservations.
Some may ask, why, with my marriage cratering did I even want to be anywhere near the whore. I don't know if I can really give a coherent reason for that, but I guess that two words fit the bill as well as any: Love and Loneliness.
Yes, I was still in love with her, and yes I was lonely as hell—even with her still around and trying to make me, entice me, into doing her. God it was tough not to.
We arrived at the upscale dinner club at about 7:00PM. The band had yet to start up, though a couple of the members were busy setting up their equipment. The people in attendance were in varying stages of eating on this Holiday evening. Seated, we ordered and soon the wine was flowing and we each were on the brink of achieving a mellow mood. I don't know, it's something about wine, it seems to have more power to mellow out a person than does beer or the hard stuff.
"How was your steak, Harv?" said Elise. She was smiling, and it was kind of a wishful smile.
"Good, very good, it always is here," I said. "It kinda makes me miss the old days. I mean—never mind." I stopped before I ruined the mood. She nodded and didn't push it; she knew what I meant. She didn't want to ruin the mood either.
The band had started up and it wasn't so loud that we couldn't hear ourselves as is often the case with live bands. The first song was kinda romantic.
"Any chance you'd be willing to lead this old broad around the dance floor, husband mine?" she said. I hesitated. Eating was one thing, but dancing to a romantic song was entirely another. She noticed my reticence. "It's okay. No pressure." I felt like shit. I shouldn't have, but I did.
"Of course," I said, finally. "But you're not an old broad. You're the prettiest woman here. Every man in the place is probably jealous of me." She smiled broadly. I stood and offered her my hand. Tomorrow we'd be back in the trenches silently fighting it out, but tonight there was a truce.
I think I only stepped on her toes once or twice. A dancer I wasn't, but I was a tryer. We danced a few tunes, all slow, and then came the ChaCha. I actually knew the basic steps, but I knew I looked awful doing them. Elise on the other hand looked magnificent, female, sexy. I was definitely just a prop for her for the evening. Kinda reminded me of my role as her sex partner, not very good, but better than absolutely nothing at all. Dance over, we headed back to our table. I was perspiring pretty good, but I was not entirely ruined physically.
We'd just settled into our seats when a shadow loomed over my right shoulder.
"Hey Elise, decided to take dinky-dick out for a bite to eat," said the man.
"Harry! What in the hell are you doing here. My husband and I..."
"Yeah, I can see, you're having a bite to eat. I'm here with Janie. Thanksgiving and all that." A busty blond appeared behind his massive frame. Jesus the guy was big, maybe six-four by two-fifty.
I'd been silent. I decided to not be anymore. I stood up. The guy had a hundred pounds on me. But, well, what could he do to me that his words hadn't done worse.
"Nobody asked you here, Harry. Why don't you just run along and play with yourself," I said. I wasn't quite shaking in my boots.
"Nah, not yet. I was just gonna offer your wife an opportunity to join us at our table. We'd invite you, but three's company if you get my meaning—Dinky." He said. I had to. I took a swing at him.
To say that he mopped the floor up with me would be an understatement of heroic proportions. But, then, I really didn't have a lot of memory of the event after the first half-minute or so, so what do I know. I did hear a scream or two.
I couldn't have been out too long though. A paramedic revived me and pronounced me fit to go home if I had someone to drive me. Elise volunteered.
"He'll be spending the night in jail, honey, if that's any consolation," she said, as she drove. I sat back and did my best to not feel the pain. At least I hadn't wimped out, dinky dick had stuck up for himself.
"Yeah, sure," I said. "Whatever."
"Honey, I am so sorry that asshole did that to you. Why in the world did you swing at him. He's so big, Harv." She said.
"You're kidding right. And what would you have thought of me if I had just let him get away with humiliating me in public. You know, his dinky dick comments. I should ask you how he knew about the size of my dick, but that's kinda obvious isn't it. Oh, and yes, him inviting you to join him at his table for a threesome, I think he said.
"Tell me, Elise, would you have gone? Would you have joined him and that blond bombshell," I said.
"No! Of course not! You are my husband not that idiot," she said. "Trust me, he ain't never getting' into these pants again. You on the other hand..." she didn't finish the sentence. I suppose I was supposed to.
We did not have sex that night, nor the next, nor the next. We once again settled into our state of trench warfare, neither side giving nor gaining any ground. Good 'ole Harry, for the record, spent three days in jail as it happened. I knew that because of an overheard phone conversation between Elise and one of her woman friends. Evidently, mister macho man was peeved, since I had thrown the first punch, that he'd had to spend any time in the slam at all. But, I guess the judge after hearing the facts didn't agree. He got thirty days for a knocked down charge of being drunk and disorderly, all suspended but three days. I'd spent the same three days recuperating from my beating. At least I'd gotten better food.
I thought it interesting that Elise had enquired about the asshole, at least enough to find out what happened to him, how many days he spent in the slam. I didn't say anything; what would have been the point.
I'd saved and I'd calculated. I went without my bi weekly trips to my therapist, aka my bartender. I'd brought no new clothes and refused those, among other things, that my wife tried to ply me with, and she did try to ply me: I think my refusals hurt her feelings but so fucking what. After my beating by one of her two night stands, especially after that, I wanted nothing to do with her that wasn't either required by law or a matter of basic humanity; none of which included me accepting gifts from her, and certainly not offers of sex.
Over the course of almost year, as mentioned, it had taken that long to get myself to a place where I could comfortably get out and move on; I had gotten no less than half a hundred offers of mercy sex from Elise though she never again called them that. Indeed, she did her level best to make her offers as palatable to me as she could, but her words putting me down as a man wouldn't go away; she'd all but verbally castrated me; I could hardly get it up anymore, at least not like before.
Not for Elise, nor it seemed for any woman if it came to that. My humiliation was that total. In my renewed bitterness, it was easy for me to turn her down every time she tried to seduce me. I know she cried some too; I know she finally realized she had gone too far with her so called honesty. Water under the bridge? Fuck no, a raging fire in my stomach and a freezing cold in my heart.
And, she knew I was horny as hell: she'd caught me often enough almost desperately watching her, wishing I could do something to her with my cock, or at least get it up. At least she never again made an issue of cock again, the size of it; that at least was something.
She knew too that I would not have sex outside the bonds of marriage, and I even think she was hoping that I would take that route though she never said so outright. Hence, I guess, she felt compelled to offer me that which I would not ask for. Finally, her level of frustration at her failure to tempt me led to a confrontation that proved to be the catalyst for my finally leaving. The timing was right.
"Harvey, I know you're climbing the walls. Just stop this nonsense and take me. I mean it; do it now. Take me upstairs and do me good. You need it, I need it; we can help each other," she said.
"You don't want sex from me, Elise. You've said it. I believe it. And, so it's a non-happening with the situation we've got here. I've got that much pride in myself. I've said it a dozen times if I've said it once: I will not accept a mercy fuck from you or anybody else. Never-never-never!" I said, as vehemently as I ever said anything.
"Harvey, it wouldn't be a mercy fuck. It would be a makeup fuck if anything. I misspoke those months ago, and I apologize. You can satisfy me. You maybe need to work a little harder at it than some others, but you've satisfied me in the past; you can again. You just have to give yourself a chance, and me a chance. Please, Harvey!" she said.
"Why do you need me for sex, Elise? I know you've been doing other guys this past year. Hell, some weeks you're gone five nights in a row. Tell me, that those nights you were gone, you were at the library studying ways to save a marriage. No, don't tell me that; it would be a lie; there've been enough of those," I said.
"Okay, yes, I've had sex with some others. You could too, Harvey. We could make this a good thing instead of the bad thing that it is. Please, my good man. Please. Let's end this game and move on," she said.
Well, now that's the first thing you've said that I agree with. We do need to move on," I said. I could see her mood lighten; it wouldn't last.
"I will be moving out in the morning after you go to work. This is the end of us, Elise. You can have your big dicks and all that goes with them. Me—not." I headed up the stairs to the guest bedroom that I had been occupying for the past eleven and a half months It was mid-December. I thought I heard her crying during the night, but it was no use: she was a whore and she wanted to remain one. I couldn't live with that, not even.
When things go to hell, like marriages sometimes do, they really go to hell. My experience was just such. I'd had to finally make a break with the only one I had ever really loved in my entire life. Those who have been through it know what it's like, and they also know why it took me a year to get to the place where I could actually go through with the break up. And, now my life was shit. Was it worse shit than the shit I'd been living with for the past year? Who the hell new. I sure as hell had no fucking idea. Both were bad. Both were beyond my control. Helluva thing.
I called in sick—again. "Hold on for a minute, Harvey, Cap Dorsey wants to talk to you," said Karen, the boss' secretary.
"Sure," I said. I knew what he wanted. It was my fifth call-in-sick in the previous month and a half. It'd been some three months, now, since my breakup with my wife.
"Hello, Harvey?" said the bass voice of my long time boss and friend.
"Hi, boss. Not feeling too good today. I'm calling in sick," I said.
"Harvey, this is the last time. I know your breakup with Elise was a killer. I understand that. But, you have to get by it and get on with your life. Stop crying in your beer and get back to us. This is the last time, Harvey. No more sick outs, none." He hung up. I looked at the phone and slowly placed it back in its cradle.
I took stock of my situation. A good job, a broken heart, no one to come home to. One out of three didn't look too good to me. I determined to not be sick, even if I was sick, anymore.
The Hard Hat was a bar I'd discovered over the course of the last couple of months. It, or rather the people who worked there or frequented it, had kinda become my family. And like any family, its members had a tendency to not only empathize with a guy like me but very often to overdo it. The day after my discussion with Cap Dorsey, actually Captain Dorsey of our local police department, I was late again. I was also fired.
Wonderful, zero out of three is even worse than one out of three. I was pretty near rock bottom. But, I had skills. Somebody would have pity on me.
After our breakup, I cut myself completely off from Elise. She had the house, but she also had all of the bills attendant to it. I didn't send her a dime, and, she never asked for anything. I knew she had to be barely getting by, her auto parts sales job was a good one but not all that good. I smiled to myself; maybe she'd had to ask some of her many fuck buddies to help her; well, that was just too damn bad.
It should be noted that neither of us had so far filed for divorce, in my case because I couldn't afford it. As for her? Probably the same reason, I reasoned.
It did happen, that I'd had to move out of the little so-called apartment, that which I had been flopping in since being fired. Not, ironically, because I couldn't afford it; but because the owner wanted to remodel the building. Inconvenient, but not a big problem. I had luckily chosen something so cheap that I had actually been able to save a little money. That fact was able to cover me until I got my next job, at Radio Shack.
The job at RS was mindless and paid accordingly, but it filled the bill for me. The bad news was that RS Inc. had even less patience than had Cap Dorsey and the police department: I was fired again.
To make a really long story short, I spent the next three years moving from job to job staying just barely ahead of my creditors—of which thankfully there were but few. And, then, as luck would have it, I caught on with a job that actually made sense for someone with my skills and emotional baggage. Forty-one years old, I was, and I finally had a career worth bragging about.
I got a job at the Hard Hat as night cleanup guy and security guard. Basically my hours were midnight to eight in the morning: two hours more or less of cleanup, and the rest just touring the parking lot on the lookout for potential break-ins. The HH had had several attempted such and a couple of successful ones over time, and Mac Steiner, the owner, saw a use for a semi-derelict like me and let me stay in the back room and even paid me the princely sum of seventy-five good American dollars weekly; I was in hog heaven.
Hell, my new job fit my state of mind and my body. And, if my good fortune at finding a good job were not enough, Mr. Steiner even provided me with a set of three bran-clean uniforms and a guard's badge; man was I a lucky sonovabitch!
Finally, steadily employed, I wasn't completely bereft of good sense even if I was bereft of anything remotely resembling feelings of self-worth, that thanks to Elise's honest evaluation of my sexual skills. Now, every morning after work, I hit the park and jogged between five and six miles—mostly six. By the end of that first year at the Hard Hat, I was pickin' 'em up and puttin' 'em down at a pretty good clip. I could do the six in under ninety minutes every time. The even better news was that the exercise and the resultant conditioning not only kept me in pretty good physical shape but also allowed me to sleep through the six hours after getting back each morning without a problem. This last had not been the case for the three years previous to my finding my now steady employment.
My sex life? What sex life? My humiliation at the way my so-called wife had educated me as to my potential attraction to the opposite sex precluded me from asking any woman—I mean any woman—for a date, let alone sex. No, no sex life except for my almost nightly visit to the den of the five sisters: I had to keep my ball sack empty to keep from going nuts. Helluva life.
In the now four years since my exit from our marital home, I had not laid eyes on nor heard anything from or about Elise. I thought about her virtually all of the time, but they were just random nostalgic thoughts and wishful thinking—daydreaming. And, virtually every time I thought about her to any extent, I cried. What she had done to me, well my ego, was just too devastating to believe. I hated God for leaving me so bereft of manhood, and I cried about that too. Despair was my lot and it was ever present. But, even for a loser like me there is an occasional sliver of light penetrating the shadows of my conscious mind. Her name was Molly Cummings.
Molly was short, twenty pounds overweight, so I estimated, and possessed of a list of emotional baggage almost as long as mine. The difference was that she was dealing with it, whereas it, my emotional baggage, was dealing with me. We were made for each other—sort of. Well, we understood each other.
Almost every night we met up at the HH and commiserated over a glass of wine.
For the record, even with all of my problems, I was not drinking heavily. Oh, there were stil the occasional bad nights, had been especially so in the early days after my leaving Elise; but those days were behind me; I supposed that was a good thing.
Molly was soft spoken and a good listener. I returned the favor of course, that is I became a good listener too.
"So, what's the good news?" said Molly.
"Same as yesterday, Molly. No break-ins here, no raise in pay so my taxes will remain low, and no news of any consequence which for me translates into good news," I said. "You?"
"Also the same. No news from my runaway hubby, no improvement in my mental state, and oh yes, no raise for me on my job at the phone company. Helluva a pair we make," she said.
I tilted back the stem glass I had in front of me. "Yeah, helluva pair for sure," I said. "Maybe you and I should get married sometime."
"Hah! You're not even divorced," she said. I looked at her.
"Yeah, I guess that's right. I mean I'd know if my ex—or whatever she is—divorced me, right?" I said. "And, as I recall you're still married to your man."
"Yes and yes," she said.
"Well, we could move in together or something and commit mortal sins. You know, of lust." I said. "I mean we could hold each other's hand and cry on each other's shoulder."
"Yeah, and you'd soon be wanting to stick your dick into me and that would eventually come back to bite us in the ass because we're both still in love with our significant others even though they've dumped us to sow their wild oats in greener pastures," she said.
"Yours may have dumped you for greener pastures, but mine dumped me because of my pathetic dick," I said. She gave me a questioning look. "Four, well almost four, not very thick inches," I said. She smiled.