Arms of Another

by Sterling Meeuwen

They sat only feet apart but, the distance between them had never been greater. The power had been shut off, due to lack of payment, as a result the house was dark and silent she wished he would say something, anything. He never got mad. Her transgressions would throw most any other man into a fit of rage but, not Jay. She begged him to blow up. She pleaded with him to break things, slam his fist on the table, anything that would show him to be a man or, at least human. He didn’t, he never did. He just sat there.

Despite all of it Jay loved her. He loved her more than he had loved another person his entire life. He was angry, furious even but, letting any of that out would take them to a place neither of them was prepared to go. Jay put his arms across his. He thought about the other man, whose arms would be open and waiting for her.  It was these arms, which finished the destruction of Jay’s world. It was a world, in which he lost his job, his house, and his wife.

Sharon screamed, threw things, slammed doors, all in an attempt to invoke some sort of reaction. Jay did nothing, just sat in his chair. When she stormed through the threshold, he was left alone, in the dark. Would she be back? Did he want her back? This time would be different. This time there wouldn’t be anything to come back to. The house, car, furniture, all had to go back. The credit cards would be destroyed, the next time she tried to use them. These were the only things he had to offer her. Without these she would see him for what he really was; an impotent man.

She parked the car around the corner. Her head lay collapsed in her hands, sobbing. The phone was in the empty seat next to her. She desperately wanted to call him. He listened to her, talked to her, held her. She was willing to give up everything and run to him but, his instructions were clear, never call him again. The man she loved wanted nothing to do with her and the man she hated was at home waiting for her. The thought of him sitting there, in his chair, alone, was pathetic. She knew he was there, he was always there. All the other times she left and came back, he was there. He never asked where she had been and she never told him. He was there right now; all she had to do was turn the car around.