When my son was younger, he would cry every time my wife left. But I got smart and learned to take him to the window so where he would calm down and just watch her. He’d giggle and watch her happily the whole time outside. We lived in a second-story apartment, so we didn’t have a yard at the time and I never bought any tools, but she still loved to work outdoors. She’d mostly tend to the flowers out on the balcony, pruning and weeding until we had the most beautiful flowers of any balcony around. Eventually we bought herbs and plants for her to tend indoors as well, but she still loved her time outdoors in her flower garden. And my son would cry if I didn’t take him to the window to see where she was.
And as soon as my son learned to walked and was finally tall enough to reach the windows, he would toddle himself over to watch his mom out tending her garden. But in those days she had started going over to our new neighbors to visit with them. We were supposed to over as a couple, but Matt, the husband, intimidated me by his intelligence. I tried to hold conversations with him at first while my wife talked about shopping with his wife, but he was too smart for me to hold an intelligent conversation with. Plus, he always had ambitious plans for advancing in his career as well. He always shared with me his goals of being able to buy everything his wife even mentioned, and how he hoped to do so with his career advancement. But I couldn’t share such goals because I was doing all I could just to survive with my measly paycheck and our family’s increasing financial demands. Since it was tough for me to fake it through all of our conversations, I just decided to stay home and take care of our son.
“When’s Mommy coming home?” our little Pedro would ask with as he burst in still backpacked from school. He would rush to the window, and wait there for her until she came. “She’ll be home soon. She’s still at work, sonny.” I couldn’t tell him exactly when, though. “When?” he asked. “I don’t know. Soon enough, okay?” I’d respond, and he’d continue waiting there at the window until she arrived. I couldn’t blame him, though. She may not always come home at the same time, but at least she was reliable and made him oh so happy whenever she got there. I can’t say the same for myself. I hated being late, but sometimes I’d forget about our mandatory ‘date nights’ during the week. I’d go to meet her after dropping Pedro off at the sitter’s whenever I was reminded, but despite all the cussing and fuming on the way to our forgotten date she still had trouble forgiving me. She even started calling me ‘loser’ in front of Pedro, until she realized that he’d learned it as well so she stopped.
“Where’d Mom go?” Pedro asked. “She went to the store,” I told him. Pedro sat there playing with his toys, but still wasn’t engrossed nearly enough to forget to keep tabs on ‘Mommy’. I stayed home with Pedro whenever she went to the store. Sure, he could be contented enough for a little bit playing with his toys, but my wife Frederica wasn’t entirely comfortable leaving him home alone quite yet. When I was worried about her being able to carry the groceries by herself, she reassured me that I wasn’t strong enough to help her anyways. She said the young men working at the grocery store were always eager to help her out. She also joked that they could “actually reach to close the rear door.” So apparently I wasn’t needed to jump up and close the rear hatch anymore, and could stay home to watch Pedro instead.
When Frederica starting going out with her friends more, I used to comment on how good she smelled before she left. She’d kiss me on the forehead and tell me that maybe if I took showers every once in a while, I’d have more friends too. It was because I was sick at the time, so I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. Including taking showers. I guess Frederica noticed, but man did she smell good herself. I loved getting a whiff of her fruit smell as she walked out the door. I could smell hints and traces of it around our house, too, so I could even enjoy it when she was gone. But before long Pedro would interrupt my moment of longing with an outburst. He was having disciplinary issues at the time, so I’d spend those evenings just trying to get him settled down before he finally fell asleep and I could go to bed.
My wife’s perfume lingered on my mind, and eventually awoke passions in me I couldn’t resist. And because she wasn’t always around, those feelings drifted towards other women. Ensnared and encouraged by libido, I couldn’t help it when the perfume of other women excited in me the same memories I once restricted to only my lovely wire. So I was embarrassed and ashamed when she caught me in the act. I don’t want to say how, but those same passions she once invoked were carried out with another woman. It’s enough to just admit it. I can’t go into details because I don’t want anyone else to know. My drive was too much to resist, and I gave in to the shame. If she hadn’t left, if she hadn’t gone to see her mother that night, maybe things would be different. But it’s too late for ‘what if?’ Things now began to fall apart, but with Pedro as a teenager still in the house, we had to stick it through, unhappy though we became.
And she even started hating my jokes. Well, hate is such a strong word. Truth is, she just stopped laughing. She started to call my jokes stupid, but carefully never in front of Pedro, no. I was easily amused, and found myself to be quite clever. But Frederica quite disagreed. She said things like my jokes were really bad, unfunny, and that I should never quit my day job. I was never crude with Pedro, and he thought all my jokes were funny. At least I could amuse someone. Now in high school, he’d share some of my jokes at school with his friends. I guess they were a big hit. That, and him being quite the prankster helped him become quite popular with his sense of humor. But Frederica refused to admit that it came from me.
She called me a Neanderthal, too. The name-calling got rough at times, because I wasn’t the type of person who could just talk to my friends about all my problems at home. Maybe it was a sign of weakness to me, or maybe I just wasn’t equipped to ‘talk things out’. So Frederica and I eventually started to seek help from outside. Since it’s tough for me, we started to talk with family, then moved on to ‘life coaches’, and after that didn’t seem to work we sought professional counseling. Yet things never quite worked out. Frederica divorced me because my “brain has not evolved sufficiently to cope well in today’s world”. I found out later that she started a relationship with our marriage counselor. Our son Pedro just graduated from high school, but he hasn’t gone anywhere yet. He just stands at the window all day, wondering when Mommy’s going to come home.