I personally found those days enervating. Long and toilsome. The several times my friend Jason asked me how I was doing on the writing front I had to respond that there was no time. I mean I was doing fine on other fronts — redecorating our apartment, spending time with my wife, even reading. But somehow my mind was empty as to the potential subject matter.
I was often left wondering what I would do if I could never again produce a single sentence worthy of a second one. I dreaded just the thought of it. And as the days progressed my fears seemed to be getting painfully real.
“I am a sore loser,” I said. I wanted to hear my wife’s reaction.
“Why would you say that?” she replied. That was not the right reaction. None would have been.
“It’s not a matter of whether I would. I just did.”
“Well, why did you?” Another bad reaction.
“Oh, don’t bother,” I said, rising from my sofa, overcome by a surge of righteous anger.
“I won’t,” she added lightly, upsetting the last bits of my delicate ego.
You can see now how empty I felt. It was like waiting for Godot when you know the funny fellow’s never really going to show up. I hoped my wife at least would turn a compassionate ear to me, but she acted as if she was trying to raise my spirits by being cheerful herself. That really got me down.
One day, as we were going through our sore-loser routine, my wife seemed to have forgotten her lines.
“You know,” she said with not half the joyfulness of the previous days, “I think I’ve heard this enough times. I can’t take it anymore.”
“Fine,” I replied, “go and find somebody else to live with, then.”
“I will,” she agreed and continued doing the dishes.
I watched her for one more hour and as she made no effort to keep her promise I thought I might as well leave in search of a kindred spirit myself.
I left the apartment without further ado. I wondered when was my wife going to find out I had gone. I could picture her running around the rooms, on the verge of collapsing with despair, checking every tiny crack in the walls. But I would be nowhere to be found.
I grinned with disgust. Nothing like that was ever going to happen. If my wife ever discovered I’d left, she would simply shrug her shoulders and go to bed same time as usual, then get up the next day as usual and do everything else as usual. But I doubted she would even notice. I had been right, after all. I was a sore loser.
I made my way through a group of people surrounding a street entertainer. Down the road an old man was selling hotdogs and corn on the cob. I looked at him as I imagine some junkie would, big sunken eyes bulging out of their sockets. He smiled awkwardly, expecting business. I took out some coins and held them up on the palm of my hand. I looked at him, at the coins, back at him, back at the coins. The old man frowned. I dropped the coins into his outstretched hand and turning away, I set off.
I could hear him yell after me and the louder he did, the more pleased I was with myself. At least I got someone upset.
Grinning in a Mr-Hydeish way I pictured my wife again — desperate, her hair unkempt, her clothes torn at places, revealing some of her more intimate places. Crying her head off. Begging me to forgive her. It really turned me on.
I made up my mind. I would go and make her suffer. Show her who’s the boss. Let her feel my contempt. My revenge.
With great determination I pressed the door handle. The door opened slowly, almost soundlessly. I made for the kitchen. She wasn’t there. I halted abruptly, then turned, slightly raising my finger.
“Well,” I heard her voice from the hall. “It’s been fun. Enjoy the rest of your life.” The hat on her head, her long coat and her tightly packed suitcase were all I could see of her. Then the door slammed shut.