What Happened to Until Death Do Us Part?bySlirpuff©
A year ago, our kids threw us a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary party. It was a huge splash with all the trimmings. All our friends were there, we got a ton of gag gifts and life was pretty good at that moment even though I knew we were slowly drifting apart living in the same house together.
My wife, Carol, and I met in our senior year of college and the rest is history. We fell in love, got married and had two wonderful sons, both of whom are in the process of finishing college. We are now almost empty nesters and should be enjoying the fruits of our labors, but we've run into a slight problem; I got younger and she didn't. I didn't get physically younger, more so I had a mid-life crisis when I hit fifty this year.
Don't let anyone tell you that fifty is just a number and not to worry about it because that's bull shit. I started looking back and saying to myself, "what if" and was bound and determined never to say those words again. The pressure of caring for the kids was off, and for the first time we had a lot of extra free time and money. It was like a huge weight was lifted off my chest and I felt more alive than I had in a hell of a long time. Every year I got four weeks vacation from my job and over the years I'd squirreled away another four weeks of untaken sick and vacation time; what the hell was I going to do with eight weeks vacation? I started making changes, small ones at first.
I stopped dressing like my dad. My suits and the rest of my wardrobe was dated, to say the least, and needed to be brought into the twentieth century. Another thing, I'd some how added a spare tire around my middle over the last ten years and need to get rid of that before I went crazy and bought all new clothes. When I told Carol I wanted more salads and less meat items she said nothing but when I started getting up early to hit the gym before work she took notice. I guess she thought it was a phase like my New Year's resolutions that would go away eventually, but it didn't. It took me three and a half stinking months of hard work to drop the eighteen pounds I'd packed on. It gave me more energy and I tried to make use of it by increasing our sex life, wrong.
I guess over the years, our sex life had taken a bit of a nose dive. It went from being white hot, to hot, to good and finally ok when I actually got any, which was about once every nine days. I'd always pushed for more sex, but now I took it to a new level and it wasn't a welcomed move by my wife who was happy just with the way it was.
"Steve, I'm not a twenty year old anymore. I can't do it five times a week," she told me in no uncertain terms. "You're not taking Viagra are you?"
"How about if we compromise on three?" I asked or pleaded in this case. Carol said she'd think about it but wasn't guaranteeing anything. As usual, nothing changed.
You see we'd gotten ourselves into a rut. We both got up in the mornings for work at about six o'clock give or take five minutes; we had coffee for breakfast together as I skimmed the newspaper. We both drove to our jobs that started at eight and I left at between five and five thirty for my twenty-five minute ride home. When I got home, I checked the mail, changed and usually set the table. Carol got off at four thirty and was cooking something by the time I got home. We ate, did the dishes and then read the paper. At that point we separated and did our own things for the next two hours before getting ready for bed. I laid out my clothes for the next day, brushed, flossed and then sat in bed watching the news. If I could get Carol in the mood, we had some vanilla sex and were asleep forty minutes later. The next day, we did the same boring things all over again. We were becoming our parents and I wasn't going to let that happen without a fight.
I eased up on requesting more sex and started working on my foreplay techniques. A bottle of her favorite wine, flowers once in a while, a foot rub and doing other things went a long way. It put her in a better mood but it didn't bring us closer. When we didn't make love the first week, I said nothing. When it went to two weeks I dropped hints. Hell, went it went to three weeks, I finally said something.
"Carol, don't you like making love with me anymore?" I said as tactful as possible.
"Steve, what kind of question is that? Of course I do."
"Well then, why don't we do it more often?"
"Steve. We do it all the time."
"Hon, it's been three weeks. I haven't bugged you once, but I wanted to wait and see how long you'd let it go before you noticed; but I guess you didn't."
"Well, do you want to fool around tonight? If you do we'd better get started because it's getting late."
"Carol, I don't look at it as some type of chore that needs to get done and out of the way, I think of it as something special that brings us closer," I tried to tell her but she wasn't listening.
"Steve, do you want to do it or not?" she finally asked getting a little perturbed that I'd criticized her for never wanting to have sex anymore.
"I guess not, I'm not in the mood any longer," I told her in a sharp abrupt manner.
"Come on, let's do it, or you'll never let me hear the end of it," she said in that annoying whinny voice that I'd heard more often than not lately.
"I'll pass," I said getting out and going to the bathroom. I took three Advil for the headache I now had, slipped back into bed and told her goodnight rolling over with my back towards her.
"Don't say I never offered," Carol said with a condescending tone in her voice as she opened her book. I stopped asking after that night.
I switched my workouts from morning to after work, which meant that we no longer had dinner together anymore. I liked it better because it gave me a chance to wind down after work and there were more people to talk to at the gym. Carol started to leave me a plate of leftovers in the oven but after two months that stopped and I made my own dinner or I stopped after working out and grabbed a bite.
We were growing apart and if I saw it she also had too. It had been close to four months since our last love making session and I was bound and determined to make her initiate it if it took forever. My evening showers were taking longer and longer as I got rid of my stress by hand after shaving. I started replacing or upgrading my clothes bit and piece at a time and even a few of the women at work noticed but my wife never said a word.
"Are you going to stop your sulking this year or should I just pencil you in for January of next year?" Carol said as I turned off my light tonight.
"You heard me. You're playing a stupid game and I'm tired of it," she said with a tenseness in her voice I'd become accustom to.
"Would you care to explain what game your talking about?"
"Steve, don't play stupid with me. Just because I won't give you sex twenty- four seven you're pouting; but it won't work," she now yelled at me.
"Carol, you asked me not to bug you about sex anymore, I'm just doing what you asked me to do. You told me you're not twenty anymore and not interested in it any longer so I've just been waiting for you to be in the mood."
"Don't give me that crap. You're punishing me for not laying spread eagle on the bed for you every night, but it won't work. I can hold out as long as you can," she said smugly.
"Listen to yourself Carol. I'll show Steve, I won't have sex with him. Do you hear what you're saying?" I asked her.
"You started this, not me."
"No Carol, I didn't. I wanted to make love to my wife and you looked at it as just another chore you needed to get out of the way before we went to bed. I decided to wait until you wanted to do it, not had to do it, as you so eloquently put it. Instead you took it as a challenge to see how long I would last, that's pretty pitiful. I guess I was right months ago, you really don't enjoy doing it with me any longer do you?"
She just gave me an ugly look and stormed out the bedroom door. I guess that answered that question.
Life got even tenser after that night. Carol now slept in the guest room and even went out of her way to avoid me in the evenings. When I told her that my company dinner was in two weeks she just shrugged it off.
Saturday night of the dinner I had just taken a shower and wondered why I didn't hear Carol getting ready. After I finished getting dressed I went looking for her.
"Why aren't you ready? We've got to leave in a half hour," I told my wife who was still dressed in shorts and a casual top.
"I'm not going."
"What the hell do you mean you're not going?" I asked in not too nice a tone.
"When you start treating me like your wife again, I'll start acting like your wife again, until that time you're on your own."
"Come on Carol, stop talking stupid, get dressed."
"I said I'm not going," she said with her hands folded in front of her.
"Fine, continue playing your fucking game," I said going down stairs and grabbing my keys.
I was angry, pissed a million other things. This was my company's yearly dinner and it was going to be the first time I'd had to go alone and I wasn't happy. I told everyone that Carol wasn't feeling well and decided to have a good time anyway.
I wasn't aware that there were so many single women where I worked. I guess when you're married you don't really look at something like that, but tonight I did. I danced with every one of them at least once. I'm not the greatest dancer, but I never heard a complaint all evening. I guess I had a little bit too much to drink and ended up needing someone to give me a ride home.
Diane from customer service lived in my area and told me she would make sure I got home in one piece. I finished off the night with two more dances and one more drink.
Walking out to the parking lot my eyes got as big as saucers when I saw what Diane was driving, a black 2005 Cobra Mustang.
"Holy shit Di, is this your car?"
"It was my husband's toy before he died." She'd lost her husband to cancer a year earlier.
"You can handle something like this?"
"Strap yourself in big boy and I'll show you what it has under the hood."
"Son of a bitch, holy shit and oh my god," were just three of the phrases I used as we took the scenic route to my place. Diane went through the gears like a racecar driver and put me back in my seat more than once. When she finally stopped showing off, we settled back down to the posted speed limit.
"I let it sit for six months before I got the nerve to take it out," she told me. "I hadn't driven a stick in forever and had to relearn rather quickly. Its got a lot of horsepower but after a while you get use to it. For me, it's a fun weekend car that gets rid of all the stress from the week. If you weren't so drunk I'd let you take it for a spin," she said smiling at me.
A twenty-minute trip took an hour and a half because we stopped for coffee at Denny's. She told me about her husband and I guess I felt obligated to tell her about Carol.
"You two should stop playing the games; life is way too short to miss out even on one day, take my word for it, I know." I agreed but told her it took two to tango.
She roared down my street because at two in the morning there wasn't another car on the road. She gave me a kiss on the cheek and asked if I needed help inside.
"Getting in will be no problem. My problems are going to start once I get inside," I told her with a smirk.
She told me again to get my head out of my ass and that she'd see me Monday at work. As I walked up to the house I saw Carol looking out the window for a split second. I guess she did wait up for me.
"Do you have any idea what time it is?" a pissed Carol asked.
"Not a clue."
"Who was that who gave you a ride home?"
"That was Diane, she works with me," I replied.
"I saw her kiss you, what was that for?"
"For nothing I guess. I just danced with her tonight because my wife didn't care enough to come with me," I said staring at her. "So if you'll excuse me, I'm tired and had way too much to drink. If you want to discuss Diane and all the other girls I danced with tonight I'll be more than happy to talk to you but not now, tomorrow after breakfast," I said climbing the stairs. I slept like a baby.
For the next month I tried my best to bury the hatchet. I didn't ask for sex but switched my workout back to the mornings so we could have dinner together again. I was getting sick and tired of all the bullshit but I figured I'd give it another couple of weeks before I once again said something. That's when Carol did something stupid.
I was going through the mail Thursday when I found a receipt for a cruise ticket for the up coming week.
"What the hell is this?" I asked holding it up.
"I was going to tell you about that tonight, my sister and I are going on a seven day Caribbean cruise. It goes from this Sunday until the following Saturday. I just need some time away to think about my life."
"And you can't do that here with me, but you can with your sister?"
"Steve, I just need a little time away, no big deal," she said trying to downplay it.
"Carol, it is a big deal. If we get any further apart there's a good chance we'll never get back together, is that what you want?"
"Steve, I don't know what I want anymore," she said looking at me.
"Well I guess I have my answer," I said crumbling up the ticket and throwing it at her. I think I heard her shout something at me, but I was out the door before I heard it. I think I finally reached my limit.
I went to dinner, by myself, and hit two strip clubs. Those were the first breasts I'd seen in five months and they looked pretty good to me. I spent thirty dollars on tips and bought two of the girls' drinks before I finally left just after one o'clock. Driving back to my house I thought about all the places I'd wanted to visit but never had the chance. The one that stuck out was the California wine country. I loved wine and could never persuade Carol to go, she though it would be boring as hell. I guess if she can go off with her sister on a vacation so could I.
Carol was asleep when I got home. She left me a note saying I was a stubborn jerk for walking out on her before giving her a chance to explain herself.
"I'm the jerk?" I said to myself as I crumbled it and threw it across the kitchen. "Bitch," came to my lips as I went upstairs and packed enough clothes to be away just until after she left. The Holiday Inn across from work was my logical choice as I got about three hours sleep Thursday night.
I told my receptionist that under no circumstances did I want her to put any call through from my wife, Carol. I turned off my cell phone and decided to hide for the next seventy-two hours. I did however check on tours for the wine country. For a ten-day tour, including airfare, meals and transportation it would set me back just over twenty-five hundred dollars. I booked it for the Saturday that Carol was coming back.
I turned on my cell just once and had eight calls from Carol asking where in the hell I was and why wasn't I taking her calls. I did however, ask Diane what she was doing this Saturday afternoon.
"If you aren't doing anything, I'd like to take you up on your offer for a test ride."
"You think your man enough to handle it," she said with a smile.
"I guess we'll both find that out won't we," I said smiling back at her. "How about one o'clock Saturday afternoon?" I got directions to her place and said I'd see her then. That takes care of Saturday and Carol's leaving on Sunday," I thought to myself.
Friday I stayed at work a little later than normal and got completely caught up. I put in for my vacation and told them I wanted my vacation check the following Friday. I was really looking forward to doing this, I'd only wished that Carol was coming along but I guess that wasn't going to happen.
I slept in late Saturday and had a big breakfast in the hotel dining room. It was a beautiful day and I made sure I was dressed appropriately, casual slacks and tennis shoes. As I drove up Diane had just finished washing the windshield. When she saw me she smiled.
"Just making sure you'll be able to see clearly. You know that's one of the first things that goes when you hit fifty," she said laughing.
"I think it's number three, but for the life of me I can't remember what number one and two are."
Her car drove like a dream, a little stiff because of the race suspension, but great anyway. After a while I could go through the gears without thinking about what I was doing and even tried power shifting once before I realized I was approaching ninety-five miles per hour.
"I got to get me something a little more exciting than the Volvo I'm currently driving. This is way out of my league but maybe a Corvette might be in order," I told her as we slowed it down to a dull roar. "Something I could drive to work every day that wouldn't break the bank."
It was past four when we were filling it up with gas on the way back to her place.
"Diane, you got plans for dinner? I feel I owe you more than a tank of gas for your troubles."
"Don't you have plans with your wife tonight?" she asked eyeing me up one side and down the other.
"Not tonight. How about it, my treat?"
"Since you put it that way, you're on. I need a shower, so pick me up around six, if that works for you."
"Six it is but dress casual. I know a nice Italian place with great food and an excellent wine list."
I had five more calls from Carol. I listened to each, as they got progressively more irate.
"Damn it Steve, call me. I'm leaving tomorrow and I need to talk with you before I leave," was her last one. I erased that one along with all the others.
The food was excellent and we shared a bottle of wine with our meal. I didn't bring up Carol but Diane did.
"How are you and your wife doing?" she asked sipping on her wine.
"Not. She leaves on a seven day Caribbean cruise with her sister tomorrow," I told her.
"I thought you two were going to work on your problems?"
"I tried, but she wouldn't talk to me. When I found out about the cruise I just left."
"That was pretty dumb," Diane said not mixing words.
"She said she needed time away from me to think about us and where we're going. How can you work on 'us' if we don't talk out our problems? Anyway she leaves tomorrow for the Caribbean and I'm taking a ten day wine country tour starting next Saturday."
"You guys are still playing tit for tat and you're both going to lose. Look, if it's over, it's over and stop with the stupid games. But if there's still a chance, you two should jump at the chance instead of taking separate vacations," she said criticizing what we were doing.
"Di, we haven't even slept in the same bed in over six months. In my opinion, my marriage is on life support and with her leaving, she's all but pulled the plug. When I get back, we split everything up and go our separate ways. I've still got enough years left in me to start over again, that is before I'm ninety-five and stuck in a damn walker."
"I still think your both making a mistake, but it's your lives."
I brought her back to her place at just after ten. She invited me in, saying that she was alone because her only daughter was away at college but I refused knowing if I had another drink I wouldn't be able to drive, she was looking way too good and I wasn't about to embarrass myself.
The week dragged as I was looking forward to my trip. I laid out my clothes and ended up buying three more outfits because I'd lost another five pounds. I figured I could get everything into two medium suitcases, which were the maximum the airline would allow without charging me an arm and a leg. Carol sent me two e-mails saying that when she got back we had to talk. That could be a problem since I wasn't even going to be here.