Author’s Note: It’s summer break for Bear and we’ve been very busy with visitors over the summer that I haven’t had much time at all to devote to writing. This piece was the only thing that I have written all summer long.
Helen stared into her glass of wine. She told herself that a drink after the battle that was bedtime was perfectly acceptable. She ignored the twinge of guilt that accompanied the thought. The hour she had every night between putting the kids to bed and before her husband came home from work was her most cherished time of day. It was the only time were there was no demands made of her.
She wasn’t sure when she started to feel like an indentured servant. She didn’t know when the gold ring on her left hand started to feel so damned heavy. Slowly she took a sip of the wine letting the flavors spread over her tongue. Tears threatened behind her eyes.
Being a stay at home mother was exactly what she wanted to do, but there was so much guilt that went along with the job description. There was always something that got missed with the house work. The feeling of failure when someone ran out of underwear or socks because she hadn’t finished the laundry crippled her some days. The kids’ hair was almost never brushed thoroughly. She never had a good time to do any of the stack of exercise videos she had been buying for the last few years promising herself in vain that she would finally get herself into shape.
Helen bit back a grimace thinking about her husband Charlie. He was perfect, as far as husbands went. He was a wonderful father and was sure to make time for all three of their kids. Charlie loved being a father. It was obvious to anyone that he was a real family man. Helen knew that she should consider herself lucky. The few friends that she did have, had to fight or beg for their husband’s to even take their own kids for an hour or two here or there, while Charlie often suggested that Helen take a morning or afternoon to have time to herself when his schedule allowed him to be home.
The thing about Charlie that was the hardest to take was he still kissed her like she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Even after being together for twelve long years. Some days, especially when she was doing something as inane as making the kids’ lunches, he would pin her to the kitchen counter for a heated kiss or a casual pinch to her butt, letting her know he’d rather be in the bedroom. She did what she could to hide that his touch did not ignite anything but her anger. She kept a tight control on her emotions on his most touchy days. It confused her that his touch did nothing to her anymore.
Wasn’t it normal for a woman to want sex more in her thirties? She wanted to cry. She wanted to rush through her own bedtime rituals to be in bed presumably asleep before Charlie walked in from his long shift at the hospital. The thought of servicing him tonight was almost too much to deal with after having a trying day with the kids. Most of the time now she thought of their bedroom time as just as much of a chore as any of the other household demands. She longed for the stereotypical marriages that lacked intimacy.
How did the time fall away from her? Helen took a larger drink from her nearly untouched glass. She cursed at herself for wasting her own valuable time in listlessness. The numbness was winning. This would not be the first time this week that she sat in the prison of her own mind for nearly an hour.
She longed to run away. She did not want to run off to have an affair. She just wanted to have a small apartment. Alone. Maybe a cat. No kids. No husband. No one but her. However, she had nothing to leave with. That was the hardest part of marriage and being a stay at home mother. There was no way of leaving the life of servitude.