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Where He Was
Eric divided his life into B.M.
Before Marriage, and Now.
B.M. he owned every second
of his time, even those he sold
to his employer, for he loved his
job, his co-workers, and beyond
that, had a battalion of friends.
Now, outside of the sanctuary
of his job he was tied to Gwen
and their two overactive children.
He awoke each week day exhausted
with more work to do at home than at
From getting the kids breakfast to finally dropping the big one at school.
Work, less stressful ,was closer to leisure
Gwen, who could not find a job, stayed home with the little one and called him six or seven times a day.
During vacations and holidays when the big one wasn’t at school Eric could stay at
work until seven. He'd leave his cell phone in a drawer on silent and go thirty feet away.
Eric hated weekends. He was stuck in the house with Gwen who always had jobs for him, and the two kids who didn’t let him breath.
He had moved his notebook computer into the bathroom, and periodically would
retreat there to escape. Just a few minutes here, maybe an hour there, kept him sane.
What added to his misery was that he had let down all his friends.
Once he had been the 'go-to' guy, now unless Gwen specifically licensed him, he could not leave the house. It was not a direct order or demand, it was constant calls, 'emergencies', and other situations, which happened when he was on an 'unauthorised' absence.
He hadn’t seen his best friend for nearly a year. Phone calls were rare, save at work, for as soon as he began to speak on the phone, unless he was in the bathroom, the kids would clamour for his attention, their loud voices drowning out conversation.
Usually, when his cell rang, he’d view who was calling before answering. If it wasn’t work or an expected call, he didn’t respond. There was no sense. He wouldn't be able to hear the caller, and It would probably be a friend he’d have to let down.
He knew everyone was aware of his situation, and it made him angry. He couldn’t understand how other people had kids and lived their lives and he had kids and had no life.
He couldn’t imagine how others went out with their wives and were happy and he never went anywhere with Gwen except church and was very unhappy.
He thought of his office with desire as he pulled out of the driveway.
The big one, as usual, was demanding his attention.
The horrible whining voice had greyed to engine noise so he no longer heard him.
Eric pulled into traffic as if a lover's embrace, turning up the radio, letting his mind run free.
Ideas, dreams, a life belonging to the B.M. time.
Almost; because the kid’s voice kept pulling him back to Now.
Finally Eric reached the school gate. The big one got out.
Eric was alone in the car.
Alone in the car.
He sat a few moments, his arms stretched across the seat, happy to be alive.
Then the cell rang.
It was Gwen, reminding him of what he had to pick up on his way home.
It wasn’t 9 am but she had his 5:00 already planned.
The call ended, he drove out.
He was about three miles from his office when Gwen rang again.
He turned into oncoming traffic, smiling.