- Gender and Relationships
Death of a Marriage
Caroline reaches over and turns off the alarm. It is the usual 6:30 AM and time to make Jim’s breakfast.
“I think I’ll lie here just a few more minutes,” she thinks to herself as she rolls over and looks at her husband. “I am so lucky to have Jim as a husband. A lot of my friends have not been as lucky as me.” She stretches and yawns. “Well I better get my butt out of this bed and get his breakfast made.” Caroline slides out of bed and puts on her cozy pink housecoat and heads down the stairs of her warm and comfortable suburban house.
Caroline hums as she prepares Jim’s breakfast. “My life is almost perfect,” she thinks to herself. “I have a wonderful husband who works for a prestigious law firm, a beautiful home, and good friends. All I need to make it perfect is a baby. I don’t really understand why I haven’t gotten pregnant yet. We have been married 2 years and I have not been using any protection. Well maybe today will be the day all my dreams come true.”
“Good morning Sweetheart,” Jim chimes as he enters the room and disrupts Caroline’s thoughts. “How are you this morning?”
“Good morning, Love,” Caroline replies. “I’m a little nervous. Today is the day I see the doctor.”
“The tests will be positive, you’ll see. We are going to have a baby,” Jim reassures her as he pulls her into his arms.
“I am so lucky to have a husband like you. What did I ever do to deserve all this happiness?” she says, looking up into his strong blue eyes.
“I don’t know, but if I don’t let go of you and get my breakfast I will never get out of here.” Jim smiles as he kisses her quickly and heads for the table.
Jim finishes his breakfast, and gathers his briefcase, and collects his keys. As he starts for the door he calls back to Caroline.
“I love you. Good luck today.”
“Thanks hon. I love you too.”
Caroline tidies up the kitchen and sits down to read. She is so nervous that she can’t concentrate, so she decides that housework might be what she needs to keep her mind busy. When she starts in the bedroom she finds Jim’s coat in a heap behind the chair.
“What on earth is this doing down here?” she thinks. When she picks it up and shakes it, a piece of paper falls from one of the pockets. She picks it up and opens it to read it. Horror hits her like a tidal wave, it grips her heart and she feels like she can’t breath. She stumbles to the chair and falls into it.
“This has to be a mistake,” she says out loud. “This is a love letter to Jim, but I don’t know who this Dawn is.” One sentencekeeps jumping out at her and she pauses to read out loud. “Iam so pleased with the way our love has grown over the years.”
Caroline throws the letter to the floor and screams “YEARS! YEARS! Oh my God, Jim, how could you do this to me? How could I have not known? I must have been blind.”
Caroline is in a state of shock and she mopes around for the rest of the morning trying to get through the numbness. She knows she has to deal with this but she has no idea how.
Caroline finds herself sitting in the Dr. Office waiting for her test results. She is not sure how she even got here.
Dr. Evans enters the room looking a little grim. “Caroline I am sorry but your test results were negative; you are not pregnant. There is some good news though, all you other tests came back positive. I cannot find anything wrong with you. You should be able to conceive a child.” When Dr. Evans looks across his desk at Caroline she seems to be in a daze.
“Caroline have you heard anything I have said to you?”
“Yes I’m not pregnant. Thank you, Dr. Evans.” Caroline rises from her chair and heads for the door.
“Caroline, are you all right?” Dr. Evans calls to her.
“I’m fine,” Caroline says a she leaves the office.
Caroline finds herself sitting in the park across the street from the doctor’s. Office. “I can’t believe all this is happening to me. If only I were pregnant that would make Jim drop the other woman. Maybe that is why he is with her, because I can’t give him a child.” Suddenly she realizes what she has to do. “I will tell Jim I am pregnant so he will leave her and then I will find a way to get pregnant. That’s it, it’s all so simple,” She thinks to herself as she starts walking to her car.
Caroline rushes in the house and replaces the letter in Jim’s pocket. With that done she cleans the house and begins to prepare Jim’s favorite meal.
When Caroline hears Jim’s car pull into the drive way she feels butterflies in her stomach. “God, please let this work,” she says to herself.
The front door opens and Caroline feels sick from nerves.
“I’m in the kitchen,” she manages to say. “Why don’t you go have a shower and relax? Supper will be about 30 minutes.”
“Okay, honey, that sounds great. I really am very tired tonight. See you in a few minutes,” Jim replies.
Caroline breathes a sigh of relief. “I don’t know if I can convince him that I am pregnant. I am not a very good liar, but I don’t really have a choice.” Caroline takes a deep breath in and blows it out. “I can do this. I HAVE to do this,” shesays to herself.
Caroline takes a step back and looks at the table. It is beautifully set. She has roses in a centerpiece vase, her mother’s fine china, and candlelight. As she is admiring the table Jim slides his arms around her waist and whispers in her ear.
“I love you.” He looks across the table “Wow! The table looks great and dinner smells wonderful. What is the occasion?”
Caroline tenses slightly and hopes that Jim doesn’t notice. “I just wanted to do something special for you because I love you.”
“Well you’ll get no argument from me that’s for sure,” he replies.
“Sit down and I’ll get the food from the kitchen,” Caroline says as she leaves the room.
Caroline is tense all through dinner and she is afraid that Jim has noticed, but she just doesn’t know how to begin.
“Okay Caroline what is going on? You have been on edge all evening. So let’s hear it, what’s wrong?” Jim asks as he sits starring at her face.
“Well uh, I’m pregnant,” she blurts out
“What!” Jim says jumping to his feet.” That is impossible.”
Caroline is shocked by his reaction. “We are going to have a baby. I thought you would be happy. This is what we wanted.”
“YOU’RE going to have a baby! Pack your things and get out of my house.” Jim screams and storms out of the room.
Caroline stands staring at the door Jim just stormed out of “What just happened here,” she thinks to herself “I thought he would be happy. I can’t believe what just happened. My perfect life is falling apart and I just don’t get it. I don’t know how to fix it.
“Jim wait! Talk to me,” she says running after him.
Jim turns on her like an angry lion, “You are a piece of trash. That is not even my baby.”
“What are you talking about? Of course it is your baby,” she snaps back knowing full well there is no baby. “Oh my God I am getting good at lying,” she thinks to herself.
“It can’t be my baby. I had a vasectomy a couple of weeks before we were married. I knew you wanted kids and I didn’t, so I figured I would loose you if I told you. I guess you wanted kids so bad you went and found a lover?”
Caroline stands with her mouth open. She cannot believe what she is hearing.
“A vasectomy? You let me believe for the last 2 years that something was wrong with me and you had a vasectomy?” She suddenly becomes extremely angry. “You call me a piece of trash? Well let me tell you something buddy. There is no baby. I found your love letter from Dawn this morning. I told you that I was pregnant so you would leave her and love me again. I’m not pregnant, and I’m not trash, YOU ARE!” She screams at him. “You know what? You can’t throw me out, because I am leaving on my own free will.” She storms past Jim and heads up the stairs to pack her things.
She hears Jim downstairs but she is angry and doesn’t care what he is doing. When she is packed she carries her stuff down the stairs to the front door.
Jim is standing in the hall with a piece of paper in his hand.
“Here, sign this,” he says as he thrusts the paper at her.
“What is it?” She snaps at him.
“It says you relinquish all rights to anything accumulated in the marriage.”
Caroline bursts into laughter. “I hadn’t thought of that, but thanks, Jim,” shethinks to herself. “There is no hope in hell that I will ever sign that; or any other agreement to let you off the hook. You lied to me. You betrayed my trust and now you’ll pay for it,” Caroline states as she pushes past Jim and out the door.
Over the next year Caroline felt sorry for Jim. She pushed herself away from the guilt and carried on her court battle against him anyway.
Eighteen months and six days from the day Caroline walked out on Jim she walks out of the courtroom a winner.
The judge grants her a 2.3 million dollar settlement for breach of contract.
Caroline walks past Jim leaving the courtroom. She smiles at him and says. “Thank you for everything.”
She takes the arm of her new husband, of six months, pats her slightly pregnant belly and walks away a happy woman.