Since the moment that Maggie and Ed met, they envisioned doing everything together. From hiking at the park, to the extreme promise of carrying the other’s ashes to that special place. Everything, but divorcing. In the moment Maggie held the glass high in the air and tossed it against the wall, everything changed. That night something broke, it wasn’t the glass that miraculously landed undamaged. It was their dying seven year old marriage.
Maggie and Ed stared each other wordless just like the first time they met, nine years ago in that birthday party of Maggie’s best friend, Alicia. Neither of the two had the courage to speak first, to confess that was enough of pretending, of lying, of hurting, of telling themselves that tomorrow will be a new day to forget about their problems and have a fresh start.
Another miserable lie.
“I-I want the divorce,” Maggie’s voice trembled. “I want the divorce Ed.” She repeated to call his attention. Ed was a man that easily got lost in his thoughts.
“All the couples have their ups and downs, you know.”
“I am done, I want the divorce,” Maggie replied with the same conviction she said I do before the altar.
Ed held Maggie’s arm and shook her. “Is really that what you want?” She didn’t answer. Neither wanted the divorce, but amidst the tribulations they endured, separation seemed like the less painful option. “Ok, Ok!” Ed shout. “You got it,” he finally said and slammed the door when leaving the house.
Maggie locked herself in the room meanwhile Ed wandered in a bar for hours with bottomless drinks and ended sleeping in his car.
Tears were shedded and insomnia was the solely companion of both.
The following morning, they had breakfast in a more civilized fashion. After the discussion both agreed that having an amicable divorce was the less they could do to honor their marriage and the integrity of their families. Waiting until they could sell the house and split the money was the plan, both had expenses—Ed was studying a degree and Maggie owed her new car—and getting the money of the house was vital for continue their path. That same afternoon, Ed nailed the “for sale” board at the lawn and both sat in opposite sides of the table—against their tradition—and virtually divided the entire house, excepting the common areas that rigorously scheduled for use with the purpose to avoid frictions while they lived together.
The still official husband-and-wife waited patiently for an interested passerby to knock at the door to buy the house… and they waited and waited, but the fortunate buyer refused to appear. The pages of the calendar peeled and the only visitor was the attorney with tons of papers, cumbersome procedures and handful of bills. Suddenly the divorce didn’t seem as liberating as they thought, but the hope in selling the house and finally have that fresh start, kept them clung to the idea.
One day in early October, a man showed at the door asking for the house. Maggie toured the man as a diligently realtor while Ed didn’t lose a chance to emboss the cost-benefit of the property as financial advisor.
“How much do you want?” The prospect asked heavily interested.
“Two hundred and fifty thousand dollars,” said Ed convinced that the house they bought in almost two hundred thousand five years ago worth at least an extra 25%.
The man laughed in their faces, gave a second look to the house and laughed again. Maggie and Ed heard the man’s laughter all his way down to his car.
“Don’t worry,” Ed said holding Maggie’s shoulder with a supportive hand. “Someone else will come.”
And he was right. Five more prospects came that month, and same five left laughing out loud.
The economic crisis lashing the country was no news, but was not joke either. Real estate market plummeted, digging prices of the properties as never before and with no sign of recovery in short term. Sales boards were fixed outside houses everywhere in the neighborhood and ended covered in dust and ink vanished all alike. While planned their idyllic divorce scenario the couple forgot to consider outside risk threats. But it was too late to search for contingencies. Both refused to slash what they considered the fair price of the house to fit market’s demands, and leaving the house at that moment for one of the two was less economically feasible than ever.
They kept sharing the house, and within time, they developed an economical and perfectly functional symbiotic relationship. Maggie learned to do Ed’s house heavy duty and he learned the art of cooking and cleaning. Sometimes they shared the table politely, sometimes they ate by their own. Each one saw their favorite TV show in different rooms instead of fighting for the control and for once in so much time peace finally reigned in that house.
One night Maggie arrived home dead-tired and went straight to bed, falling asleep as soon as she felt the comfortable bed. At the small hours she woke up famished. She heard noises at the kitchen and climbed down the stairs. Maggie found a mouth-watering sandwich at the counter and the fridge door closed revealing a young woman dressed in Ed’s blue silk shirt that was Maggie’s Christmas present.
“Hi,” said the girl squeezing the bottle of pickles on the sandwich. “You hungry?” Said the pretty girl licking her fingers.
Maggie carefully took the sandwich with both hands and hurled it against kitchen’s window. “Get out of my house bitch!” Maggie screamed.
“Wow, slowdown oldy.” The frightened girl stepped back.
Ed run down the stairs and realized that bringing the girl to the house for saving the motel expenses has not been the best idea. “What the hell is happening?”
“Ed, make her go,” Maggie ordered pointing the door and those words were enough to make the girl go upstairs.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Ed whispered.
“Why did you brought her home?” Maggie said aloud.
“I’m not gonna get quiet while that bitch is at my house.” Maggie yelled at the ceiling hoping the girl will listen to her. “Why did you brought her home? Answer me.”
“What? There is nothing wrong with it. Please look at us,” Ed finally answered. “We are divorcing for Christ sake. Have I said something about you fucking stupid Rob Simmons?”
“But this is our house.” Maggie broke in tears.
“Same we are vainly selling, as a matter of fact.”
The girl came down fastening her heels as she made her way out. Ed followed after but she swung the door and closed it at his face. Ed’s hands clutched, shaking in anger and went straight to his room. He grabbed a suitcase and put it over the bed packing the first things he came across.
“What are you doing?” Maggie said standing at the door.
“What I should have done long ago,” Ed said annoyed.
Maggie went to the master room and picked up Ed’s things and packed them gently at first, but as her tears flown so did her temper she casted everything over the floor.
“Now what?” Yelled Ed pulling his hair to control his rage.
“Look at me,” Maggie held Ed’s face. “Look at me and tell me that you don’t love me.” Ed faced away but Maggie turned his face back to her. “Look at me and tell me that you don’t love me!”
Ed evaded her, but she pushed him against the wall. “Tell me!”
“Get off,” Ed pushed her back and Maggie jumped on him. They struggled hitting the TV set and bounced to the dresser, then the nightstand, the armoire until they finally landed on the bed. The jerking turned into necking and the once screams of hate turned into screams of exciting pleasure.
They didn’t know the how’s and were too afraid to asks the why’s. But they acknowledged, this was how their relationship worked since the very beginning and odds are that will do it in the same way. Ed was Alicia’s boyfriend—Maggie’s best friend—the night they met. Alicia found them making out in her bedroom. That was Alicia’s birthday present, losing her boyfriend and best friend the same night.
The doorbell rang. Maggie answered the door wrapped in the bed sheets and jumped in surprise of finding a police officer. She hid behind the ajar door ashamed more of the mayhem they caused to the neighbors than her lack of clothing.
“I’m sorry officer,” Maggie babbled. “We are ok, it was, you know, just a marital affair.” She laughed nervously.
The puzzled officer stared at her and after a long silence he finally said, “Is the property still for sale?”
M. Ch. Landa