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Marcy and Rich
Chapter 1. The Confrontation
June 3, 2005
Marcy heard the faint rattle of keys, followed by the slam of the door. A familiar sound, yet her whole body tensed as she listened to the cold silence. Her mind flashed inadvertently to a time when the slam of that door made her heart quicken and warm voices filled the air. Better not think about that now.
She sensed his presence before he even made a sound. She turned from her computer screen, still seated. Rich was standing in the doorway to the den, staring at her. She leaned back in her chair, looking fully into his eyes. What do you say when there are no words to express the thick emotion mounting in the quiet room?
“Hi, Rich,” Marcy said, trying desperately to sound casual.
Rich only nodded to her in greeting. He met her probing, questioning gaze for a moment and then turned his head away as he asked, “Can we talk? I mean, are you at a point in the article where you can take a break?”
“Sure, give me a minute.”
Rich vanished from the doorway. Marcy turned back to the computer. As she went through the automatic tasks of save . . . exit, her mind was racing. This was probably her last chance to talk to him.
Panic squeezed Marcy’s throat. Her breathing was shallow and forced. She told herself to take a deep breath to calm down, but somehow simple breathing had become impossible.
Tears began to surface as her life flashed before her eyes, her life with Rich. Rich was her life! I can’t; I can’t; I can’t face this now! Her fingers trembled so much she could barely handle the small flash drive. She had to get her emotions under control. She’d need a level head to understand why Rich wanted a divorce. This was her last chance before the door slammed shut for good.
Rich was getting his head together, too, as he waited for Marcy. He’d adopted a cool logic, blocking out his feelings, just as Marcy was trying to turn off her memories.
Too soon it seemed, Marcy entered the room and sat on the edge of the Wedgwood blue recliner, Rich’s usual chair. Rich was seated on the ivory leather sofa, Marcy’s pride and joy. This room had once reflected both of their personalities, but Rich already looked like a stranger, a guest in his own home. Gone were his mementos—the antique wooden clock his father had loved so much, his computer that had covered the credenza at the back of the room so Marcy could use the whole den as her office. It was bare now; even his family pictures were gone.
Fifteen years of shared dreams crowded into the small condo living room. How do you sum it all up before you say goodbye?
“How was your day?” Marcy asked to break the ice.
Rich shot her an angry glance as he ignored the question. It was apparent he didn’t want to act like everything was normal.
“I’ve moved everything out except a change of clothes and my shaving kit. I’ll be out of here tonight,” Rich said.
“I still think this is wrong,” Marcy countered. Her voice cracked loudly, and she had to look away, blinking back tears.
“I know you do,” Rich responded coldly. “You’ll feel differently after you get on with your life. You can travel all you want now!”
Rich’s voice escalated as he spoke. He backed off now, silent. He looked away, his elbows propped on his knees. He was poised on the edge of the couch, ready for flight.
“So my job is the problem,” Marcy answered hesitantly. They’d been through all this, but nothing seemed resolved.
“Yes . . . ah, no; not really. It’s everything, Marcy. It’s us! We don’t want the same things out of life anymore.”
“How can you say that? Tell me what you want because I honestly don’t know. Do you want something besides your career, Rich?”
The ice in Marcy’s voice was helping her to cope a little better. At least, she wasn’t a blubbering idiot when she was angry.
Rich stood up, obviously irritated. He paced a few steps, turned his back to her, and spoke to the ceiling. He couldn’t allow himself to look at her defeated expression or he’d change his mind again.
“That’s just the point, Marcy; you don’t know what I want. You never cared enough to ask.”
“Let’s talk about it then,” Marcy interrupted.
“We’ve been talking . . . for the past week. Ever since I told you I wanted out!”
“Then we’ve been talking about the wrong things ‘cause I still don’t know what you want.”
Marcy’s short, clipped remarks were only antagonizing him. He was pacing again, still not looking at her.
He hesitated and turned to face her. He was calmer now. He let escape a forlorn sigh of bereavement. Shaking his head, he muttered almost to himself, “Marcy Jennings, world-renowned journalist and correspondent for The New York Times; a writer’s writer who gets the facts right, but doesn’t leave out the drama, the sensationalism, the emotion for the concerned citizen.”
He was reciting her accolades softly, yet sarcastically.
“Maybe you don’t have the time or inclination to be Mrs. Richard Crawford,” he finished with conviction.
“That’s where you’re wrong. I’m not the one demanding a divorce, disrupting our lives!”
Marcy rose from the edge of the recliner, where she’d been balanced by long, well-shaped legs, stretched out in front of her. She had on a short cotton skirt, unusual for her when she worked at home. Rich wondered if she’d been out somewhere today as he consciously ignored the slender legs, body, and face he knew so well.
Marcy took a few steps toward him. He stopped her short by angrily blurting out, “I bet you don’t even realize how much I want a child, Marcy! We’ve been married ten years, for Christ’s sake! You’ve never even mentioned it, except when your folks force you to talk about it. And then all you do is make jokes!”
“But, Rich,” a small voice answered, “you joke about it, too. I thought you were just . . . well, indifferent to a baby.”
The tears were evident now. She stood frozen in shock. She couldn’t believe he was saying this. He always kidded with her mom and dad, “Marcy’s a child herself and always will be.” She’d found it amusing, too, but now?
Memories came rushing back of pain and heartbreak. Maybe this, Rich leaving, was the only thing that had ever come close to the shattering loss she’d experienced eleven years before.
Rich hadn’t been with her that night, either, just like he was walking out now after dropping this bombshell on her.
She continued to stare at Rich—her husband, her lover, her best friend—and then bolted from the room.
He wanted to go after her. My God, he wanted to comfort her, hold her, and love her. But he didn’t dare move, or it would all start again. No matter how much he loved her, this pain had to end. Rich had to be free of this agony!
Rich was fair enough to admit that much of his pain Marcy had never known about. He couldn’t explain it to her when it had happened, and he sure wouldn’t explain it to her now.
It’s been going on too long; eleven years, in fact, Rich realized.