The small piece of paper slipped from Laura’s hand. Her mind went blank. Her chest ached. Her vision blurred. Seven years of marriage all for nothing? Her legs turned to jelly as she reached for the kitchen counter. Who would keep the house? Her stomach heaved. Of all the people in the world, he had to choose her? Then, reality hit.
Just like any other couple, Laura and Jack had plenty of struggles. From the 6-year age gap to Laura’s young adolescence to Jack’s unstable job, her parents immediately disapproved. Jack was a bartender in a bar that was notorious for underage parties. Her parents hoped he was a stress outlet during her freshman year, but they were wrong.
After graduating, Laura moved into Jack’s one-bedroom apartment. The walls were damp, the bathroom door was broken, and the heating didn’t work. But they were young, infatuated, and in love. She got a job as a waitress in the steakhouse a 20-minute walk from their love nest. The food was overpriced but the tips were good. But rumors spread like wildfire.
Laura’s late night after work visits to Jack’s bar was met by side eye glances and whispers. It wasn’t long until the writing on the walls began to appear. The ladies’ bathroom was a diary. Phone numbers, graphic romantic encounters, and one common name—Jack. The betrayal stung. “If you can’t trust me, then we can’t be together.” Jack put Laura’s concerns down to her immaturity. He made her question herself. Maybe she was making a mountain out of a molehill. The scribbles were probably just gossip and made up tales. She couldn’t risk what they had because of her own worries. Then, he did the unthinkable.
When Jack got down on one knee, Laura blurted out “yes” before he had the chance to finish his speech. She didn’t need time to think. All she needed was him. She was young, but she was positive that they were made to be together. She deleted people from Facebook, cut everyone from her life who chose to either believe or partake in the false gossip. Finally, they could focus on their relationship without external negativity impacting them, or so she thought.
A handful of friends and family attended the wedding. On their salaries, they couldn’t afford the big white wedding. Laura found her dress in a second-hand store for $50, she borrowed her shoes form her mother, and Carla, her younger sister, did her hair and makeup. From the small church to the family-organized reception, Laura couldn’t have wished for better. But she never pictured this for their future.
Married life was harder than Laura ever expected it to be—financial struggles, petty fights, long days, early hours, late nights. Their minimum wage jobs kept them pinching pennies for a rainy day. But every day was rainy. Their rent increased. Jack couldn’t get a promotion at the bar. Laura constantly took on extra shifts to keep them afloat. For years they had the same fight over the same topic—kids and career. She wanted kids and to go back to college. It was never the right time for Jack to take her seriously. She knew he was becoming distant, but she made a commitment.
Laura and her mother became closer than ever. “A marriage is the most work you’ll have to do in your life,” her mother told her as she sobbed in her arms. Laura found it difficult to keep up appearances. For family occasions, she would keep herself busy, helping her mother host while Carla kept an eye on Jack. She didn’t want him to feel secluded. He was her family now. She began buying lottery tickets and scratch cards, hoping for a small win. Maybe they just needed a weekend away to revive their relationship?
Laura couldn’t believe her luck. She would whisk them away. She would take them from their unstimulating jobs to find a new love of life. She called her boss and quit. Then, she booked two flights and bought two suitcases. She went to the fridge and opened a bottle of wine. Then, she saw a note. “Dear Wife, I am writing this letter to let you know that I am leaving you forever. The truth is that I have been a good husband to you in our seven years of marriage, and I have absolutely nothing from that. These last couple weeks have been really hard for me. Your boss told me that you left your job just today and that, well that was the final straw.”
“Two weeks ago, when you came home after work, you didn’t even notice that I had cooked your favorite dish, that I had a brand new haircut or that I had a new pair of boxers. You just ate for a couple of minutes, you watched all of your soaps and went straight to bed. The truth is that you don’t want to be intimate with me, and you don’t show your love in any way. Either you don’t love me anymore, or you are cheating on me, whatever the case, I have to say it is over and I’m leaving. P.S. Please, do not try to find me. Your sister Carla and I are moving to West Virginia together! Wish you the best and I hope you have a great life!” Tears ran down Laura’s face. Then, she began to laugh hysterically.
Laura poured her wine and sat by her laptop. “Dead husband, Believe me one thing; getting your letter really made my day. Yes, it is true that we have been married for seven years, but a good husband is completely different from what you have been. Yes, I watch TV shows, but I do it because the soaps drown out your nonstop griping and whining, but this doesn’t seem to work.” And she didn’t hold back.
“And yes, I noticed your brand new haircut, but the first thing that I thought was that you look like a girl. And you know I was raised not to say anything in case I cannot say something nice. For that reason, I decided not to speak about it or comment your haircut. When you made my favorite dish, you must have gotten me mixed with my lovely sister, since I stopped consuming pork seven years ago.” She was no fool. But she chose to deny the obvious. But her sister?
“When it comes to your new boxers, I didn’t comment since you still had the $49.80 price tag on them and I hoped that it was a coincidence that my lovely sister Carla had borrowed $50 from me the same day.” Laura felt relieved. She had done everything in her power to make it work. She continued to make an effort push for date nights as long as she could. He stopped her from visiting him at the bar long ago. Sure, she had her own temptations, but she chose to do right by her husband. Now, it was time to put herself first. But she didn’t stop there.
“But even after all, I still cared about you and loved you, and I believed that we might make this work. So, when I got lotto for 15 million dollars, what I did was quit my job and bought us two tickets to Hawaii. But, by the time I got home you were already gone. I guess there is a reason for everything. I genuinely hope that you will have the life you always desired.” And she had one more secret she had to share.
Facebook/Lupita B Gómez
“Moreover, according to my lawyer, the letter you sent me ensures that you won’t get a dime from what I got now. So, there is nothing more to say but take care. P.S. I believe I haven’t told you this, but my lovely sister Carla was actually born as Carl. I hope that is no issue for you.” Laura finished the bottle of wine and called a taxi. She had wasted too much time or effort on him. She knew she was always destined for greater things. Next stop: Paradise.