THE PERFECT MARRIAGE
by Kurt Hohmann
“I’ve got to tell you, Jan, it was the sweetest thing. He came home from his trip and you know what he did? He actually stopped at the florist’s on the way and bought me roses. Roses! I couldn’t believe it either, but then again, I’ve got to expect the unexpected. He’s always so thoughtful where I’m concerned.
“What’s that? Yes, he’s so wonderful to me. Everybody says we’ve got the perfect marriage; I’ve even heard some people hold us up as an example. Can you imagine? There’s so many couples breaking up these days, so many people finding marital bliss just isn’t what they thought it would be. And us? Just perfect.
“Hold on a sec, there’s another call coming in.
“Hello? Oh, hi. How you doing? What? Yeah, he just came back. Hey, can I have him call you back? I’m on the other line right now. Soon as I’m through, I’ll have him get back to you. No problem. Talk to you soon.
“Jan? You still there? Yeah, it was Bill, looking for Jim. Well, Jim can call him back, I’m sure it was nothing all that important. Now, where were we? Oh yeah, I was just telling you about how strange it is–it seems like everywhere we look, we see unhappy people. It almost doesn’t seem fair that we should be so happy while there’s so many unhappy people around, but I’m certainly not complaining. Hold on a sec.
“What do you need, dear? I’m on the phone with Jan right now, can it wait till I’m done? Oh, by the way, Bill just called, he wants you to call him back.
“Sorry about that. Jim needed something, but I told him to wait a few minutes. You know, if there’s one thing he does that drives me crazy, it’s when he tries to talk to me when I’m on the phone. It is so distracting.
“Hey, I’ve got another call coming in. Busy day today, I guess. Can I call you back later? Thanks, I’ll do just that. Bye-bye now.
“Hello? Oh, Greg, how have you been? I haven’t heard from you in ages! What’ve you been doing?
“A new job? That’s great! It’s been so long since I’ve worked, I’ve forgotten how exciting that can be. I know you were looking–is it what you hoped it would be? That’s wonderful! I knew it would come through for you. Now we just need to find you a nice steady girlfriend and your whole life will be just perfect.
“Oh, you have? Fantastic! Tell me all about her! What’s she look like? What does she do? Where’d you meet her? I want all the details.
“That’s great. A good, solid relationship is a wonderful thing. Just look at Jim and me; twenty wonderful years together and never so much as a cross word between us. Oh sure, the occasional tiff, but nothing that ever amounted to anything. Yeah, I guess we do have a pretty perfect relationship. I wish everybody could be just like us. Hold on just a minute.
“Honey, I’m still on the phone. Please don’t talk to me right now, you know how I feel about that. As soon as I’m off, I’ll give you my undivided attention.
“Sorry, I’m back. So anyway, how long have you guys been dating? A year? Has it been that long since we talked last? God, I’ve got to get better at keeping in touch with you. Don’t let yourself be such a stranger, OK? Hey listen, I’ve gotta go. I promised Judy I’d give her a call when Jim got home and let her know he made it alright.
“Hi, Judy? It’s Mary. Yes, he did. And the big sweetie, he even stopped and bought me roses on the way home. No, there’s no special occasion, I guess it’s just for being me. I’ve got to be honest, I really haven’t had much chance to talk to him yet, I’ve been on the phone since before he got home. But we’ll have time to catch up, don’t you worry about keeping me from my honey. We always make time for each other, that’s why our relationship is so good. You might even say perfect.
“Oh no, you’re kidding! That’s terrible! I can’t believe he’d even think about something like that! How are you holding up? Is it somebody we know, or did he just go pick up some bimbo somewhere? What are you gonna do? I don’t think you just forgive and forget, not if he’s going to treat you that way. No way. My Jim would never do something like that.
“Oh, Judy, really? He doesn’t even want to try? He’s just up and leaving you? That selfish bastard! How could he do that? Oh, honey, I’m so sorry to hear that. Thank God I’ll never have to go through anything like that. Oh, I’m sorry–I shouldn’t say things like that to you right now, knowing what sort of pain you must be in. What was I thinking?
“I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you plan on coming over here on Saturday, just spend a couple of days away. It’d probably do you good. No, I don’t think we have any plans and besides, if we do, we’ll just have to break ‘em. You plan on it. We’d love to have you.
“Of course Jim likes you! How could you think otherwise? Jim and I like all the same people, it’s one of those things that make our marriage so perfect.
“Well, I’m sure he was kidding when he said it. Jim would never say anything like that and be serious about it. No way. He’s right here, let me ask him.
“Jim, it’s okay with you if Judy comes to spend the weekend, isn’t it? You big silly, you know how much you enjoy it when she comes over. I’ll tell her to bring her guitar, we can sit around and sing those old songs we all like.
“Judy, there’s no problem. He’d love to see you as much as I would. Yes, you plan on it. And if I see that no-good husband of yours, I’ll rip him a new ass. You can count on that. Okay, bye now.
“Jim, can you believe it? Keith took off on Judy! After all those years! Well, I always said they weren’t compatible. Not like the two of us, but how many people can have the perfect marriage? Now, just hold on a sec, I know you want to talk to me, but I’ve just got to let Randy know. I know, it’s awfully soon, but he’s always had the hots for Judy. Besides, maybe it’ll do her some good to think that she’s still attractive to somebody.
“Hi, Randy? I’ve got some news. No, of course not, silly. It’s about Judy. Do you know what Keith did to her? No, even worse. That’s right! Can you believe it? I just thought I’d let you know. No, I haven’t heard from him, but if I do, I’m gonna kill him. Just lay him out. That no-good piece of trash. Jim and I won’t have anything to do with him, especially if he comes around here with this new floozy of his.
“Well yeah, Jim has been friends with him for a long time. But that just ended, I’m afraid. There’s no way that either one of us will put up with that kind of behavior. We work as a team, Jim and I, that’s why we have such a perfect marriage. If either one of us thinks something, we both do, it always seems to work that way.
“Jim? Yeah, he’s still spending a lot of time on the road. It’s too bad, I know how much he hates to travel. It takes him away from his home, from me. And I know he can’t possibly be happy if I’m not with him. It hurts me sometimes to think of him sitting in a motel room all alone, nobody to talk to, nothing to do. I think he just pines for me when he’s away. But, he’s got to do what his job tells him to do, not much choice there. I know how much he’s looking forward to retiring; it’s a few years off, but he’ll finally have the chance to do all of the things he really wants. And I’ll be able to spend all day with him.
“Anyway, the reason I called you is that Judy’s coming over to spend some time with us this weekend and I thought you might like to drop by as well. We’ll have a small party or something, maybe I’ll invite a few other people over too. We can barbecue and then later we’ll all just get drunk and have a grand old time. Can you make it on Saturday?
“Great. We’ll see you then. Take care now, bye.
“Okay, Jim, what is it you wanted to talk about? I’m sorry I was on the phone so long, but, well, with what’s going on with Judy and all, I guess you understand. You’re such a sweetie, bringing me these roses…I can’t remember the last time you bought me roses. And so many! I hope you didn’t spend too much on them. Anyway, I’m just monopolizing the conversation again. How was your trip? Oh, hell, there’s the phone again.
“Hello? Hey! Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying all day to reach you! Maybe it’s good that I didn’t catch you earlier, because I’ve got some serious news now. Remember Judy? She was the one playing the guitar at the beach party. Well, her husband up and left her. That’s right, he’s dumping her for some chick he met at work. Can you believe it?
“Men can be such assholes, can’t they? I am so lucky, I never go a day without thanking my lucky stars for Jim. He is so good to me. I’ll never have to worry about anything like this happening to me. Our marriage is just perfect.
“Thanks, you’ve noticed that too? He’s always looking out for me, I just know I couldn’t make it through a day without him. Always so kind and understanding. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that we’re having a small party Saturday. Just a little informal thing, nothing too wild. I’m trying to cheer up poor Judy and I think it would do her some good to have people around. Can you make it? Wonderful. See you then.
“Sorry, Jim. Now let’s get down to you. I missed you so much! I don’t know how I made it through the days without you. I’m sorry I didn’t get much of anything done while you were away, but I’ve been really busy. Well, look at how busy I’ve been just since you’ve come home. Now, what was it you wanted to say? You know me, I talk to everybody, but I always make time for my man, you’re at the top of my list. Damn, there’s the phone again.
“What the hell was that for? I can’t believe you just hung up on somebody! It might have been important! Judy’s going through some really rough times, she might have needed to talk a little more! That was a really thoughtless thing to do!
“You ass, now look what you’ve done. You yanked the phone cord right out of the wall. I’ll bet you broke it. How can I use a phone with a broken cord? You’ll have to go get the other phone from the garage. Jeez, what the hell has come over you?
“Why’d you take those roses out of the vase? You’ve pulled half the others out in the process and you’re dripping water all over the floor. Jim, what’s gotten into you? Those have thorns on them, be careful. Hey, let go of me! Get those away from my mouth! What are you doi–”