Lady Liberty was sitting on the couch crying when Barry walked in the door.
“What’s wrong, uh, dear?” Barry asked.
“If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!” she said through a wet tissue.
Barry rolled his eyes, as he usually did when she got this way. He thought to himself, “She must have been talking to her Dad on the phone again.”
He sat down at the end of the couch a comfortable distance away from her, just in case.
“Dear, please tell me, um, what’s bothering you,” he said. He knew she couldn’t stay in this mood for long, and she was such a sucker for his rich baritone voice. That’s how he had wooed her in the beginning. It had always worked.
“Just look at this house! And look at me! I’m horrible!” she sniffed.
“Dear the house looks just fine. And you, um, look just as good to me as the day we married. There’s nothing wrong that a bit of exercise wouldn’t fix. I thought you wanted to, ah, join the gym down the street.”
She wailed and grabbed another tissue from the box next to the chocolates that she’d been eating. Empty wrappers littered the coffee table and floor.
He scooted a bit closer, but still out of her reach. He was cautious that way.
She said, “You… you… promised me that you’d take care of my house when we got married. But look at this place. I knew you had never owned a house before, and we agreed to live here, but you’ve done nothing to help around here. Not one thing!”
“Now, uh, dear, you know that’s not true…”
“Look! You’re never home. You say you’re at the office all day, but really you’re at the golf course. How is that helping me around here?”
Barry shifted in his seat. “I said we could hire someone to, um, help you. Why haven’t you, ah, put an ad in the, ah, paper?”
“You know we can’t afford it. I handled all the bills around here before you came along. You said you’d do it, but every day when I go to the mailbox, we have a new letter from the bill collectors. Some of them aren’t even in English!”
Barry looked out the window, wishing he’d stayed at the clubhouse a little while longer. He might have gotten home after she’d gone to bed and avoided her crying jag. They were becoming more frequent now.
She looked at him with a look that would have made him cringe not too long ago. He could see the fire in her eyes. Now he was becoming immune to what he considered ranting. She’s just blowing off steam again, he told himself.
“Have you looked in the back yard lately?” she snapped. “Remember that storm we had last week?”
“Yes dear, I remember. Do you remember the, ah, crew I hired to clean all that up?”
“You mean the ones who’re living in the garage now?” she said. “They moved right in like they owned the place. I know you have a soft heart for them, but I can’t get to sleep anymore. The do nothing but party until all hours of the morning. Sure, they cleaned up the yard, but they’ve trashed the garage. Just go try to find that basketball I gave you for Christmas, just try…” her voice trailed off into another tissue.
“Dear, I’ll, ah, take care of that real soon, I promise.” Barry’s lip was starting to glisten from sweat. This scene was getting worse by the minute. He had never seen her like this.
“Promises, promises. That’s all you ever do anymore is make promises, all the time. Is that what you tell your friends when you talk about be behind my back? “Oh, I’ll just whisper those sweet nothings in her ear and she’ll be alright.” Is that what you brag about to your buddies? Do you think I don’t know they hate me?” she sobbed.
Barry scooted a little closer to her and tried to put his arm around her. She pushed him away. “You know they ,um, don’t hate you. They just think you could, uh, be a better wife to me now.”
“Oh, so now I’m not good enough for them, is that it?” she cried. “I know that Billy guy you knew from college doesn’t like me, and that Jerry fellow from church really doesn’t like me, he said so! And that guy George, don’t get me started on him. He barely knows me but I’ve heard some of the things he’s said, he probably hates me more than all your little buddies combined. Just because he has a lot of money, you hang on his every word. Don’t try to hide your friends opinions from me, I know all about them. Why do you spend so much time with them and not me?” she sobbed again.
“Dear, I hardly ever talk to them. All they do is offer me advice when I call them,” he replied.
“Every single day?! You know, I see the phone bill. You spend hours on the phone with them all the time. And who is that woman named Nancy? If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you and her were having an affair,” she said, her voice muffled by a handful of tissues.
“Come on, dear, we just work together, you know that. She doesn’t mean a thing to me.”
Barry knew his bride was a lot smarter than he’d given her credit for. Even though he was new to this marriage game, he was starting to think he might be in some real trouble with his Lady.
She sat upright and looked right at him with bloodshot eyes. “I bet! I bet she’s all slim and trim like I was before we got married. Now look what all that exotic food you’ve been feeding me has done to my figure. I can barely see my feet anymore. I just feel horrible…”
“Now dear, we, ah, just have a working relationship. But she does understand me pretty well…” Barry blurted out without thinking.
“That’s what I thought! You are having an affair! You cad!! If I had known what I know now three years ago, I would never have married you!”
Lady Liberty stood up defiantly and yelled, “Go pack your bags and leave my house this second!” She ran upstairs and slammed the bedroom door.
Barry couldn’t help but hear her click the lock.
As he walked toward the car with his suitcase, he reached into his pocket for his phone and hit a speed-dial number.
“Hi Nancy, it’s me, Barry. I, um, need a place to stay tonight…”