Somehow, for two weeks Marise had managed to keep her mind off of her private moments with Kasen. She learned the more difficult turns with the waltz, kept everything about the dancing, even avoiding using his first name.
Darryl hadn’t noticed that she had been home earlier than normal. He was never there. Marise worried that her wayward husband was getting into another debt with a different loan shark. She decided to stay up late to talk to her Daryl. She felt like she had not talked to him in years. Somehow, they had managed drift apart.
“Darryl,” Marise said walking into the bathroom where Darryl was washing his face. It was close to midnight and he smelled of cigarettes and whisky. She did not turn up her nose at him. She had always understood his socializing before, now was not the time to question him.
Darryl turned to look at his wife. Damn, it was still weird thinking of her as that. Sure, she kept him fed, and she was cute. She just wasn’t what he pictured his arm candy to look like. She was tall, and her coffee colored skin was not the exotic hues of some of the women he had sampled the pleasures of recently. Her eyes were dull, not all done up with glitter, just almond shaped.
Darryl did give her one thing, she kept a home feeling like a home. It was clean and she didn’t nag him. Granted, he came home late in the hopes that she would be fast asleep. Just to avoid the drama, Darryl always told himself. If he was being brutally honest with himself after a few shots of Wild Turkey, Darryl admitted he only married her so his baby wouldn’t be a bastard.
Darryl looked at the woman standing in front of him with large expressive eyes. When did she lose weight? She had always had a sort of love handle thing going on, but it seems to have disappeared somehow. He couldn’t help but to stare at the woman that was his wife but he barely knew.
Marise was confused by the look Darryl was giving her. He had never looked at her with more than a faraway look on his face, but now he looked at her with an interest. She wrapped her silk rose colored robe tighter around her. She leaned against the doorway and became wary of the staring game going on.
“Darryl,” his name came out in a sigh.
“Yeah?” Darryl still stared at her
“What is going on Darryl? How is the business?” Marise didn’t mean to sound like she was frustrated with his hopes and dreams, she just honestly wanted to know what her husband was doing to fill his days.
“Why?” Darryl immediately took the defensive.
Marise did her best to keep her calm demeanor. She knew that nagging him would only make him clam up and leave again, so she kept her tone mellow and sincere. It was what she learned from her momma.
“No reason. Just thought to take an interest in what you do. If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine.”
Marise pushed herself off the door and made to walk to their bedroom. She was not going to fuss. She wasn’t going to question him about it. She just had to remember what her mom did, just breathe in and breathe out. Sooner or later, he will see that his home is the most comfortable place for him to be.
“Mar?” Marise stopped at hearing his pet name for her. He had not said that in a while. She looked over her shoulder, trying to seem nonchalant, but so much hope welled inside of her she felt like she was about to burst. She was hoping that the stale fog that had settled on their marriage would lift, and that somehow the last year was all a dream.
“Thanks for asking, things are going ok. They could be better. I am glad you have such an ok boss with you working all your overtime. It has helped.” Darryl said with his toothbrush in his mouth. Marise smiled and gave him a small head nod, and before she could even think about having to tell him about the real overtime, the stripping and all, Darryl’s cell phone buzzed loudly in his pocket.
“Yo, this is D.” Marise watched as her husband held a conversation all the while brushing his teeth. She straightened and turn to face him when she heard “I am getting clean now. I will be there in thirty.” Where is he going at this time of night? Marise stood there, regarding him with a sense of dread. She knew that he would not ask her to come along, and she knew that he wasn’t going to be alone. Marise felt the walls of self-preservation surround her. She was safe as long as she stayed in her box. Darryl was reapplying his deodorant and was going to walk past her without saying anything.
“Um, Darryl?” He turned to her and for one moment, he had a frustrated look on his face. Why was he mad, he was the one leaving the house again? Marise’s thoughts slammed into her, making her breathless. No, she would not question him this time, but once she saw him for more than five minutes, she would sit him down and ask him what is going on. “Drive safe Darryl.” Marise said and walked into her bedroom.
She heard Darryl’s keys jingle and the door close behind him. Then Marise fell on her face in the bed and cried. Then she tried to count the times her and Darryl had made love in the past two years. It was twice. She cried harder.