Sunday, January 04, 2009

For Richer or Poorer, Better Or Worse

(a Sunday Scribblings prompt and the continuing saga of Debra)

"Deb, it is you. What are you doing here?"

Charles took Debra's hand and yanked her to her feet. As she busied herself with brushing sand -- yet again -- off her clothes, Debra couldn't help but see Charles shaking his head in his annoying, can't believe she's done it again manner. She could feel herself bristling.


"Nothing. I just can't believe you're here."

Charles shuffled backwards and plopped himself onto the sand. He was dressed in a Hawaiian shirt, faded khakis and sandals. Very un-Charles-like.

The last time she'd seen him, he was pounding on her apartment door saying they could still "work things out" if she'd only talk to him. She couldn't be bothered. There was nothing to work out. She ignored his subsequent phone messages, emails, notes and letters. Eventually, they stopped. Their relationship had ended like all her relationships -- nowhere. Not that Charles was a bad guy. He just didn't get it.

He'd always been her cheerleader -- a you can do it, think positive kind of guy. He had wanted to get her out of the city and learn how to relax. She didn't see the point. He didn't understand her constant whining about the noise and pollution, her job, her boss, the twits around her, and yet her refusal to do anything about it. She knew it didn't matter where she was -- different people, but still twits; different job, but still annoying boss. Moving would only be a temporary fix. Once the initial glow of new wore off, it would be the same ol' same ol'.

He had been saving his money and wanted to quit his six-figure marketing job and pursue his passion for travel and writing. She thought he was nuts. Why give up a sure thing? Pursuing something as nebulous as "what I've always wanted to do" could only lead to disappointment.

After awhile, she couldn't stand his Pollyanna-isms anymore. What had been, at first, endearing became unbearable. Couldn't he just leave her alone? She was quite content to live her life in sombre misery with the occasional, fleeting ray of sunshine/happiness.

They started arguing about everything. Or rather, she argued about everything. Charles, would just shake his head and shrug. He seemed resigned to her constant nitpicking and complaining. Occasionally he'd suggest a trip to someplace warm and exotic - which she always declined. Then one day, he simply stated that she didn't want to be happy; that, in fact, she revelled in her unhappiness and that he wasn't sure if he could take it any more.

Of course he'd been right. Her unhappiness was a warm security blanket. It was a logical and realistic way to face life. Far better to expect nothing - anything good was a bonus. She couldn't get him to see it that way.

One day, when Charles was on a business trip, Debra had the apartment lock changed, quietly and efficiently packed his belongings in boxes and set them outside the door. She attached a short note saying good-bye and that things would never work out for them. That was five years ago.

And now? She was on a stupid beach, god-knows-where, sand in her shoes, sand down her shirt and sand stuck in her hair. She'd been dumped out of a hot air balloon at the feet of someone she'd dumped just as unceremoniously.

Hot air balloons, dead horses – now Charles? Better or worse, dream or no dream, she needed to figure this out.

"Where is HERE?" she demanded.


Tumblewords: said...

I think I know Debra and surely more than a few others named Charles. Good detail and flow. Enjoyed reading your post!

Kay Dennison said...

I think I've dated Charles! Interesting story!!!!

Berry Blog said...

I get a kick out of your addressing that particular issue...happy being unhappy. Kay may have dated Charles but I have dated many many Debras. I like that you call it a security lanket...for in my opinion that's all it is.I don't think the person is really unhappy...just not aware of the message a bad habit is putting out.
thanks El