Day 266 – Folie a Deux – Part 14

Word count: 658

James rolled up outside his house in a taxi. It was raining still, but well after midnight now. He slipped the taxi driver well more than he was due and got out, sprinting across the gravel driveway to the front door, cool raindrops trickling down his neck.
A fantastic night it had been: beer, pizza and relaxing with his friend, Jonny. It was a welcome break from the hectic life he normally lived as well as the drama of the house he was now returning to.
When he reached the front door, he noticed that it was not locked. Miranda always locked the door when she went to bed. He opened it and noticed that the hall lights were also on. Perhaps she was still up. A great feeling of dread came over him. He had a vague idea of what was coming. He supposed he had known all along his night would end like this for James had had it in his mind that he would not be returning early.
Creeping into the kitchen so as not to wake anyone else, he came face to face with his wife who was sitting on the dining chair with ferocity carved into her features. Before she could say anything, James wanted to get in first.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry – we were just having so much fun, we got carried away.”

“A phone call. A text. Or just to come fucking home at a reasonable hour! That’s all I want!”

By the sound of her voice, she had been crying recently.

“I’m sorry, but it’s not like you didn’t know where I was…”

“Anything could have happened to you!”

“I was at Jonny’s!”

“Yes, and aren’t you always,” she scowled and looked to the ground.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” James was sick of this. Miranda had brought this up once before. “I love being at home with you and the kids, but I work with the guy!”

“Work, is that what you call it?”

“Yes, yes it is. It’s called earning enough so you can live in a big house, so you can have all the nice things, bring up our children by ourselves…”

“Ourselves? You’re never here, James.”

“Yeah and what’s it like when I am,” James muttered underneath his breath.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“Please Miranda, let’s just forget this,” James marched over to the sink and poured himself some water. The beer induced headache was starting to set it: he wanted to only have one headache to deal with in the morning. “I’ve just got back and I want to enjoy being with my family.”

“And I’m the one stopping that from happening?”

James wanted to say yes, but he thought he better not. It was difficult juggling his two lives: the fun one where he could do pretty much what he wanted, when he wanted; and the home one, where his wife set all the rules. In truth he felt a visitor when he came home. Everything from pens, cutlery, letters and miscellaneous junk had its place in here except for him. The children were brought up by their mum and their aunty; not their dad. Their dad was just the fun guy who came over for a few weeks before leaving again. There was nothing James could do about it: this was his life and changing it would mean changing everything.

“No, Miranda. I am. I shouldn’t have gone out tonight. It’s hard adjusting.”

James heard the sound of Miranda’s chair scraping back and her soft feet patting across the kitchen floor. She wrapped her arms around his waist and kissed him on the back of the neck.

“I miss you when you’re gone,” Miranda spoke in his ear.

James looked at the dark reflection of them both in the kitchen window. Something caught the back of his throat, but he ignored it as he always did.

“Me too, Miranda,” he replied.

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~ by S.G. Mark on June 29, 2012.

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