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,