The Only Way Out
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.
His nagging wife, his whining kids, work, less stressful ,was closer to leisure then what he experienced at what he called 'home'.
Gwen, who could not find a job, stayed home with the little one while the big one was at school She called him six or seven times a day.
There was no reason, save keeping him on the leash.
During school vacations and holidays Eric would stay at work until seven. He'd leave his cell phone in a drawer on silent.
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. Periodically he would
retreat there to escape. Just a few minutes here, maybe an hour there, kept him sane.
Then Gwen created a major confrontation about his 'hiding in the bathroom'.
As bad as all this was, what compounded his misery was that he had let down all his friends.
Once Eric 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, Gwen would appear with a loud babble, demanding, arguing as if unaware he was on the phone.
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 married and lived their lives and he 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 on coming traffic, smiling.