Friday, February 12, 2010

“Funny How a Broken Heart …”

A sort of troublesome thought to have here but days from Saint Valentine's Day.

Matthew is the absolute worst sort of husband for he, you see, is a romantic who has allowed is ideal to be overrun by tidy expectation. The poor dear is an involved doting parent of three, and a faithful, devoted partner for what is going on twenty years, but that is all. Matthew is not and never has been in love. He adores his Kate and would never do anything to upset his comfortable existence. Why even now, as he stands in front the charming smiling children’s librarian asking after his wife and children, he does not even entertain the thought.

He never bothers anymore to wonder if love was possible for him. Kate had gotten pregnant when he was twenty-five and though he had not been a man in the way, say his father had been at that age, he was no longer a boy. He had been moving in the world of the adult male for three full years by then, working full-time as a junior executive in a promising commercial development firm and dating aggressively.

Kate had been the pretty girl who helped him pick out a smart brooch for his mother’s birthday at Tiffany’s on Bloor then spent ten minutes teaching him to tie a regulation Tiffany-bow before giving him her number. They hadn’t been exclusive when their Christopher was conceived but neither was there some woman to whom he felt a strong connection. Not to mention that she fit well into his life so marriage.

He rambled on to the charming librarian about how their eldest was at McMaster University and how the middle boy would follow him there in autumn. Then he flushed red with embarrassment when the librarian confessed how she and the girls at the reference desk used to look forward to seeing him all those years ago when he used to bring the boys in on Saturday mornings for the story hour.

It was the thing present in his mind when Kate sat him down later on that very evening and informed him that she was not happy and wanted out. Not because he thought he could pop over to the library and drown his misery in the charms of the children’s librarian, but because this was another thing he never bothered wondering about anymore. He always assumed that Kate at least was happy with his sacrifice.

Yet there she was, wanting more.

Their youngest would graduate from high school in less than two years and Kate wanted for there to be accord in their parting. That and she wanted it done by the time all three boys were settled in university. It struck him then how she kept talking about them as if their life together was already in her past. Still more than that was the way she kept saying that one of them should keep the house for when the boys come home for holidays, as if she wanted him to volunteer to be the one who stayed under the burden.

Then quite suddenly, it was all too much for him to bear. She was leaving him to search for happiness. There wasn’t someone else. There was nothing but her desire for something neither of them had experienced in a loving enough twenty-year marriage. She wanted a love that transformed and delighted, but more than that, she was willing to give up comfortable contentment to get it.

Was she being arrogant?

Absolutely, and Matthew told her so. She fired back with some nonsense about there having to be more to marriage than gratitude to the fellow that had grace enough to offer her marriage after he had knocked you up and how she wish it hadn’t taken her two decades to realize it.

Matthew rose in the midst of her telling with disbelief on his face not really understanding why he was taking it so badly. Then he was yelling something about how marriage was meant to last until death, hoping in futility to reminding Kate - in some desperate attempt at God only knows what - that there was no mention of 'until the children are old enough for college' in their vows. She laughed then with real compassion before saying, “You are a good man Matthew, and you deserve more than what we are able to give each other.”

A lovely weekend to all,


  1. Ah, Simone...

    So sad. Again, I am envisioning a redemption story. Must be the romance author in me, always trying to find the happy ending.

    Having a lovely holiday!

  2. That would be "Have a lovely holiday"... typos. That's what I get for posting after midnight. :)

  3. Unfortunately, I think many people don't even realize they are living comfortable marriages without true happiness. I think it takes great courage to end something like this and try and find the happiness we all deserve to live.
    Very thought-provoking and actually quite appropriate for Valentine's day. :)

  4. People are always searching for perfect happiness... I think happiness is like a wall we build a brick at a day...

    Have a wonderful an sweet weekend :)

  5. And I wonder....Do we ever know if we are in love, or not, if we have nothing to compare it to?

  6. “You are a good man Matthew, and you deserve more than what we are able to give each other.”
    Selfishness in a sentence.
    This sounds like the place they need to begin their relationship.

  7. Nicely written :)

    Enjoy a great weekend!

  8. Well you got me from the picture onwards! great writing and quite provocative...the stuff of romance IS mysterious always!

    enjoy the weekend now!


  9. A thought provoking outline. Interesting to read from the male perspective. You have a good weekend too, Simone.

  10. Yikes! I have no brain today - I forgot to tell you I've got an award for you over at my blog :)

  11. So sad, yet I admire Kate's courage.

    Beautifully done, Simone. I hope you have a very happy Valentine's Day!

  12. I must say, I very much enjoyed reading this. Have a happy Valentines day.

  13. "be more to marriage than gratitude to the fellow that had grace enough to offer her marriage after he had knocked you up"

    That part was very well thought out... I like this work there are so many underlying twists and ways to view this.

    Best regards,
    Tom Bailey

  14. Happy Valentines Day Simone :)
    It's here on 1,5 hours.

  15. WOW! Very cool, I like this a lot.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  16. This one is one of my favorites of yours.

  17. I'm afraid that it's this kind of situation that many of my friends are getting into. Marriage for the sake of convenience, or pregnancy, doesn't often turn out well.

  18. Certainly a sad story, Simone. But you know, by now, I'm realistic about the realities of life and existence and relationships. There are, unfortunately, so many marriages that just "exist". And that is not enough. Maybe Kate is being selfish, but at least she is being honest. I think her saving grace is that there is no relationship that she has already entered; she wants out because out is the truth that needs to be realized in that relationship that is no longer real, but is just tidy and neat and keeping things clean and looking good. It's sad when divorce happens, or when families break apart, but what is more sad is to allow a dead relationship to continue as if nothing were the matter.

    I loved how you just wrote this factually, Simone. It certainly leant itself to what you were trying to say. Excellent delivery! And Happy Valentine's to you and your loved ones! :-)


  19. Comfort does not equal passion. Nicely conveyed, Simone.

  20. I forgot to add:

    Also does not equal love.

    And happy Valentine's day.

  21. Simone,
    You have again touched a nerve deep in the emotions of many of your readers. I have come to look forward to your talents in writing not only for modern times but for the romantic eras of the past.

  22. My thanks to each of you for your comments and input I'm grateful for the feedback.
    Jemi my thanks to you for the award I'll make a post about it very soon.
    Warm regards to all,

  23. Oh how you touched my heart with this story Simone. To merely exist in a relationship and go through the motions of a happy marriage makes one become a shell of themselves. It's like tip toeing around a death. And I believe that Kate did go out searching, not for another, but she had to go in search of herself again. I know, I have been there.
    Simone, the skills of your talented pen to paper have the power to make us feel deeply. Your writing is, as always, beautiful.