Monday, July 04, 2011
What is the fastest way to a man’s heart
Rob and Celia have figured out that if their marriage is going to remain resilient over time, they are going to have to separate their issues from their love. So while they are still in turmoil over Celia’s earning ability as a music teacher, they are trying to remain connected using whatever means they have at their disposal.
Celia’s job at the afterschool program at her church had ended last week. Rob was curious how she would respond to the extra time on her hands, hoping she would be intentional about finding work, any kind of work, while she waited to hear if any full-time teaching jobs opened up for fall.
Meanwhile, she seemed to have decided that the best way to Rob’s heart was through his stomach. Rob was not sure if this had something to do with learning that his office mate Lucy cooked for her boyfriend Rocco every night, but she had been surfing the internet for recipes and testing them on him. He tried to enjoy this – and he did, up to a point. Rob realized he could never lighten up when his ducks weren’t in a row, and until he knew that until they could meet their expenses, pay Celia’s school loan, save for a house, save for retirement, and fund the occasional small trip somewhere besides their parents’ homes, there was a part of him that couldn’t fully enjoy anything. Most
months they got by on the basics, but a couple of months recently they had used the credit card to float groceries and other essentials.
This meant that Rob had not fully relaxed since their wedding, and he began to wonder how long he could manage the chronic low-level anxiety he lived with. Since their marital breakdown in the kitchen, when Rob had voiced his resentment about Celia and money and they had ended up in bed as a result, Celia had been initiating sex with more frequency. Between the sex and the meals, part of Rob thought he would enjoy making a lot of money and funding a trophy wife; and Celia might like that too if she could make her music a “ministry,” as she had been saying lately, whatever that meant.
Celia had greeted him upon his return home from work in lingerie, so tonight’s dinner appetizer had been a sweet tryst. Now she kissed him, climbed out of bed and into a short little robe, and headed out to make dinner, which she declared would be grilled pork chops with peach salsa and corn on the cob. Meanwhile, Rob tormented himself over what she had or had not done today about a job, but being satiated with sex and the anticipation of good food, it seemed ungrateful to bring it up.
Rob got out of bed, pulled on boxers and a shirt, and joined Celia in the kitchen, where she poured him lemonade and garnished it with a sprig of mint and a straw.
“Guess what I did today,” she said she handed it to him.
“What?” he said, taking a long sip.
What does Celia say?
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
When marriage becomes a lonely ride
The weather was frigid and Celia
turned up the heat in the car; however, more heat was insufficient to thaw the
icy mood between them. “You do not understand the position this puts me in,”
Celia had said at the party, to which Rob exhaled his impatience and said
bidding farewell to Grandma and the family, Rob and Celia had gone out with his
cousins to a chain theme restaurant. Rob spent the evening with
one intent, or so it seemed: to
communicate to Celia that her problem with her mother was just that: her problem, both to deal with and get
over as quickly as possible, because he had done enough. One of the ways he communicated this to
Celia was to drink more than usual, although Celia could not discern if this
was more about partying with his cousins or about irritating her. In any case, he had made a grand, jolly
time of it at her expense.
upside to Rob’s drinking is that it literally put Celia in the driver’s
seat. Drinking made Celia maudlin
on the best of days – probably the Irish roots -- so she refrained so as to
avoid being an embarrassment to Rob and an irritation to herself and others.
glanced away from the dark, isolated road to look at Rob, who was dozing in the
passenger seat. Rob did not know
that when he woke up, it would not be at his parents’ home in Columbus, but at
Celia’s mother’s house in Canton.
They would have to return to Cleveland to pick up their luggage before
heading home to Columbus tomorrow, but that was the price they would both pay
for failing to manage this situation differently.
had been hurt by Rob’s marginalization at first, but then she had simply become
angry. As the crisis with her
mother morphed into a crisis in her marriage, Celia even regretted having
married Rob, but she fought this. Alone in the corner of the booth as hot wings
and margaritas swirled around her, anger had spawned a plan, and now the plan
was unfolding. It had not been her
intention to kidnap Rob to Canton without his assent, but he must have had more
to drink than she realized. The
moment they got into the car, he was asleep – or maybe passed out. He may not have been avoiding her
intentionally, but since Rob had been unavailable to discuss her plan, Celia
had no choice but to enact it unilaterally. Two birds would be killed with this stone: Celia would find out what was going on
with Mom, and Rob would get the message that he could not treat her like
almost laughed as she imagined Rob’s reaction when he woke up, but not
quite. They would have the fight
of a lifetime sometime in the next several hours, she knew. But that was OK with her. To allow Rob’s dismissal of her and her
angst to carry the evening would have been to participate in a pattern she
loathed, and which – now that she had a moment to think about it – reminded her
of her parents before they were divorced.
Dad would get passive-aggressive and Mom would not fight back, instead
curling up in a depressive ball that, a decade later, she was still trying to
did not know what would happen on any front in Canton, but she did know
this: she was taking charge of the
situation, because no one else around her would.
do Celia and Rob discover in Canton?