Chrissy Mathieu is having a bad day.
“Chrissy, I am sorry. The school regrets to inform you that we are facing budget cuts, and we will not be able to use you as much in the upcoming year. There are several people ahead of you in terms of seniority. Therefore, we must honor their commitment to the school and cut down on the amount of substitutes we have next year.”
“I understand. Will I have an opportunity to be used at all in the upcoming year?”
“You will, but I would not count on very many opportunities unless those with more seniority call in sick or takes time off for medical emergencies. We will gladly give you references to other schools to help fill your schedule. It is the least we can do Chrissy, you are very competent at your job.”
Chrissy stands and shakes the school administrator’s hand.
“Thank you, sir. I appreciate the opportunity that you have given me to teach here at Wilmot High.”
Striding across the near empty parking lot, Chrissy makes her way to her new Ford Focus. Black with crème leather interior, it was a source of pride for her. Her loving and doting husband Erik Mathieu had surprised her with the new car. “It’s just proof that no matter what, I will always have Erik. Regardless of how bad it may get, he is steadfast.” Sitting in the driver’s seat, Chrissy smiles. “I love my husband.”
Driving home, Chrissy starts formulating her plan to find employment over the summer break. “There are only a few days left to the school year. Erik and I have a nice nest egg that can carry us through the summer months if we are careful with our money. Finding work should not be a problem since Wilmot is going to give me references. No worries, we will enjoy our summer break and then get back in the groove come fall.”
The fact that Erik’s truck is in the driveway in the middle of the day nearly escapes her attention. “What is Erik doing home? It is just as well; I can give him the bad news now and we can talk it over.” Exiting the car, Chrissy hears noise coming from the house.
“Baby what are you doing home so early?”
Erik leaps to his feet in surprise. Whirling around, he blinks in surprise at his wife standing behind him with a crooked grin on her face.
“Hey Chrissy, how are you doing babe?”
Smiling, Chrissy wraps her arms around Erik’s neck. He reaches down and playfully pats her bottom. “God, I have missed you today. My day has been horrific. Wilmot is facing budget cuts and I am out of work here in a few days.”
Erik nods his head. “It will be okay Chrissy. I have some news for you as well.”
“Did you get that promotion the company has been promising you finally?”
“No, it is nothing like that, I am leaving you Chrissy. I have found someone who makes me feel like I am whole. She completes me and she has no problem with me going to the clubs and staying out all night. Your coming home early makes this a bit awkward, but I suppose it is better that you know now.”
Mouth agape, Chrissy stares at Erik in disbelief. Blinking her eyes, Chrissy starts to speak but words refuse to relinquish their grip in her mind. Her pale blue eyes show the storm that is raging in her heart. Finally, the dam breaks open and Chrissy finds her voice.
“Why Erik? Why aren’t I enough for you?”
Laughing, Erik turns and strolls toward his half-filled suitcase. “Be careful Chrissy. You shouldn’t ask questions that you don’t want answers to!”
“Who is she? How long has this been going on?”
A sinister grin stretches Erik’s mouth wide; his white teeth gleam in ominous fashion. “You really are dense aren’t you sweetheart. I have been with Melissa since the first week we said our vows. Wow. We have been married for over a decade, and not once did you suspect anything? Dang man, I am good. Tell you what Chrissy, I enjoy the physicality of our marriage. Why don’t I move in with Melissa and we will continue to see each other on the side?”
The storm breaks in Chrissy’s heart. Tears stream down her face as the thought that only she had been committed to her marriage fills her mind. Anger is the next emotion that floods her lithe body. Standing at the iron board, Chrissy’s hands clench into small fists. Without warning, she grabs the iron and flings it at Erik.
The iron nearly takes Erik’s head off.
Lying in the floor, blood pouring out of the wound on the left side of his head, Erik shakes his head to clear it. Gingerly, he touches the wound and checks his fingers. He glares at Chrissy but for once, the seriousness of the moment forces him to realize that he should not mock his wife’s pain.
“Chrissy, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t mock your pain. I….”
Her soft face contorts with rage and her eyes narrow. Her brown hair has shifted and fallen around her face. “Shut your mouth Erik. Get your crap and get out of my house.”
“Fine Chrissy, but I have ruined you for every other man. You will never be able to replace me.”
Turning from the source of her heartbreak, Chrissy walks out of her home and wonders if maybe he is right after all.
Chrissy walks down the street to clear her mind, but the pain in her heart makes clear thoughts impossible. Ms. Wintergreen, her elderly neighbor, waves at her. “How are you Chrissy? You are still as pretty as the sunrise I see.” Faking a smile, Chrissy waves back. “Hello Ms. Wintergreen, you are too sweet to say things like that.”
Ms. Wintergreen smiles, oblivious to Chrissy’s red eyes. “I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true sweetie.”
“I am just out for a walk. Trying to clear my head. Thank you for the wonderful compliment.”
Chrissy continues to walk until she hears Erik’s truck start up and pull away from their home. Walking back, Chrissy thinks over Erik’s offer. “Do I want to be his part-time lover? I would see him and maybe he will wake up and come home to me. What caused this change in Erik? Medication? I did everything he wanted, why wasn’t I enough?”
Slowly, Chrissy makes her way home. “God, I am tired. I just want to crash for all eternity, then I wouldn’t have to deal with this crap.” Her large, brown leather, oversized chair seems to beckon to her. Making her way over to it, Chrissy plops down and drifts off into fitful sleep.
Hey, hey momma look at little sister…
The plucky rhythm of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Little Sister stirs Chrissy from fitful slumber. In a daze she attempts to find her phone. Glancing through the blinds, the noon day sun shines brilliantly, nearly blinding her.
“Hey sweetie, how are you?”
“Hey mom. What are you doing?”
“I just got home from the grocery store. Everything is so expensive now days. I bought a pot roast and thought I would invite you and Erik over for dinner. You guys come over about six and bring something to drink.”
Silent tears stream down Chrissy’s cheeks. The dinner invitation is akin to being stabbed with a dull knife repeatedly, it is just another reminder that Chrissy is alone. Clearing her throat, Chrissy takes a deep breath and prepares for a lecture.
“Um, mom Erik left me for another woman today. He has been seeing her since we said our vows, probably even before then. He moved out.”
The line is full of static, and Chrissy begins to wonder if her mother had hung up on her.
“Mom? Mom are you still there?”
“I am so sorry Chrissy.”
Wiping at the tears that stained her cheeks, Chrissy takes several breaths before responding.
“Me too mom. I don’t understand why I am not enough. I thought we were happy, but I guess I only fooled myself into thinking that we were.”
“Sweetheart, sometimes God takes us through a storm to bring us to where we need to be. He may have someone better for you. All you can do is trust in His plan and accept His will.”
“I don’t want better! I love Erik, and all I want is him! All this time, and I never complained. I did everything that I could to make him happy and he leaves me like hot garbage. Where was God then?”
“Chrissy, I know that you want Erik but sweetie, Erik never felt that way about you. If he did, then he wouldn’t have left. You were holding a spot until something better came along. He will never be satisfied with what he has.”
Talking with her mom provided Chrissy with a few moments of reprieve from the depression that was quickly setting in. After hanging up, Chrissy sits back down in her favorite chair. Tears silently fall as she contemplates all that has occurred through the course of the week. “Where are you God? What did I ever do to deserve this?” So, caught up in her own thoughts she never hears the vehicle pull up in her driveway. The ding-dong of the doorbell breaks her trance. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, her mix-matched sock-clad feet pad across the kitchen area to the door. Peering through the peephole, Chrissy notices that it is the meter man Sam Jones. Unlocking the door, she turns the brass door handle and Sam looks up at the buxom, blonde bombshell.
“Hello Mrs. Chrissy, how are you today?”
“Hi Sam. I have had better days.”
Noting Chrissy’s red eyes, Sam shifts from one foot to the other.
“Ma’am, I am sorry to add to your troubles. However, your light bill is overdue. Unless you make a payment by the first, your power will be turned off.”
Chrissy nods her head. Gesturing with her forefinger, she walks to the bar and grabs her checkbook.
“Sam, I am going to write a check for the payment. Can I trust you to turn it in for me? I really don’t feel like leaving the house now.”
Sam nods his head and continues to shift his feet like a feline on a hot tin roof.
“Yes ma’am, but it would probably be better if you went by there and paid it yourself. I….”
“If you don’t want to do it Sam just say so. Don’t waste my time.”
“I will do it ma’am.”
“Sam, I’m sorry for snapping at you. Thanks for taking care of it for me.”
She hands Sam the check and watches as he walks out to the truck. Glancing through the truck windshield, Sam waves at Chrissy. Forcing a smile that she doesn’t feel, Chrissy waves back. Sam backs out of the driveway and Chrissy watches him leave.
“Why can’t all men be like Sam? Why couldn’t Erik be good natured like him?”