“That was then. This is now. I’d think you’d be happy.”
“Oh, yes, Warren. I’m ecstatic to see out twenty-four year marriage end because you had an accident and decided you need more from life. This sounds a lot like male menopause. Do have some young, little hottie hidden away somewhere?”
“Don’t be offensive, Dee. You know damned well, I’ve never been unfaithful.”
“Fine, I’ll stop being offensive when you stop laying all this on my shoulders.”
“Yes, you are. You talk as if I’ve just been waiting for an opportunity to be rid of you—like you’re doing me a favor. Well, get this straight, you can keep your favors. If I hadn’t wanted to be married to you, I’d have divorced you years ago.” Her temper was rising and with it, her voice. She saw one of the aides look their way and stared angrily back at him until he looked away.
“Why can’t you just accept that a divorce is best for both of us?”
“Right for you, not for me. You want to live apart? Do it. You want a divorce? Get one. I won’t lift a finger to make it easier for you. You’d better go in to Robbie now. I have had enough of this discussion.”
“Where are you going?”
“Tell Robbie I had to get something at the drugstore down the block. I’ll be back in a little while to get him.” She walked away, back stiff.
He didn’t think he’d ever seen her so angry.
Storming down the busy street. Diana tried to control her anger. She’d wanted to hit him. She hadn’t truly wanted to hit anyone since she was five or six years old. A sign prominently displayed in one of the shop windows caught her eyes and she stopped. All cigarettes sold at state minimum, Coffee/Smoking lounge in back. Diana hesitated and then pushed the door open, stopping to inhale the scent of fragrant pipe tobacco on a display near the door. She marched to the counter.
“A pack of cigarettes, something light.”
“What brand, Miss?”
“I don’t care, something light.” She snatched a cute pink lighter from a stand next to the cash register and threw it on the counter. “This too.”
The man gave her a strange look and placed a pack of generic light cigarettes on the counter. “Will that be all?”
He rang up the order. “That will be Five ninety-eight, please.”
After paying the man, she walked through the store and into the coffee lounge, taking a small table near the back. The place was dimly lit and smoke hung in lazy swirls. On the little stage sat a man with a ponytail playing a guitar and singing a well known folk song. Diana had to laugh. It was a flashback to the sixties and reminded her of the place she and Justin frequented in Greenwich Village during the early eighties. God, she’d not thought about that since before Sarah had started kindergarten.
Regardless of what Warren believed, she’d not thought of Justin in all those years. Ripping the plastic and foil off the top of the cigarette pack, she tapped one out and lit it, immediately rewarded by a fit of coughing.
“Are you all right, ma’am?”
Diana looked up through watery eyes at the young waitress. “Sure, I’m fine. Could you bring me some ice water, please?”
“Is that all?” Diana nodded and the girl flounced off, as though offended she’d not ordered more.
Okay, that’s two people I’ve offended today and I’m sitting here smoking for the first time in over ten years. Warren is adamant about this divorce and if I fight it, the kids will be caught in the middle. Things could get nasty.
She doggedly lit another cigarette. So things will get nasty. It might do the kids good to learn that life isn’t always rosy. It can be damned messy at times. At least for Sarah and Lily it might be good, but Robbie is still too young to be so cruelly disillusioned. God, what will I do?
©E. G. Parsons