Thursday, March 8, 2018


“What?” Anger chased sadness up Mark’s neck and settled in his cheeks. He followed her into the kitchen.

Ellen stood with her back against the sink and her arms crossed against her chest. “It’s the wrong time. We’re not ready for it.”

“Ready for it? We’re not ready for it?”

“We’re not.”

“How could you decide without talking to me? We decided this was real between us! We decided to live together! We decided we loved each other! We decided I’d support us while you got your masters! How could you decide we weren't going to have a baby anymore?”

She walked around him and stood at the center island. “It was the right decision.”

“Ellen, it was our decision!”

“No. It was mine.”

Mark walked to the opposite side of the island. “I’m not some guy you hooked up with. It was our decision!”

“Don’t let your Catholic guilt stop you from being reasonable.”

“Don’t start that shit with me.”

“It’s my body. I decide what happens to it.”

“Yeah and you decided to be irresponsible about birth control.”

“I won’t talk to you if you’re going to be mean.”

“Jesus. You know, at first I was afraid of having a baby. It was all so sudden! But then it sunk in. I got used to it. And then I got happy. All of sudden I was just so Goddamned happy and now it’s all gone. Fuck! I even bought Jack a cigar.”

“We agreed not to tell anyone yet.”

“Oh fuck you! That’s what you’re upset about? Don’t even start.”

“In a couple of years, when the time is right, we’ll start a family.”

“You think we can go on? You think you can decide my life without me and we’ll still go on?”

“I've decided my life.” She picked up the wine bottle and refilled her glass.

“You think this is all about you? Don’t you know I’m going to look at a calendar and think how old our kid should be? And when I am a dad and people ask me how many kids I have, when I don’t include this one, you think I’m not going to feel like a liar? Or disloyal or something? This baby was not only yours. It was ours! It was mine too!”

“It wasn't a baby. Not yet.”

“Don’t tell me how to define the people in my life. Or fuck! Gone from my life.”

“You think this was an easy decision for me?”

“I don’t know. How could I? You never told me. We didn't discuss it. All I know is we were happy and then two days later you decided we wouldn't be.”

“It was the wrong time.”

Mark walked and sat at the table. “You didn't even talk to me. You didn't even include me. All this time letting me talk about neighborhoods and schools and college funds and hockey teams and not even telling me it’s not coming true?”

“In time,” she dismissed his emotions with a wave of her hand, “when you’re not so … emotional … you’ll see I’m right.”

Mark stood up and walked to the kitchen doorway. “I've got to get out of here.”

“Stay. Let’s talk this through.”

“No, we can’t be together.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’ll stay at Jack’s until you move out.”

“This is our home.”

“Your decision. My house.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Dead serious. You killed us. We’re done.”

“You’re being childish.” Ellen leaned into her palms and spoke over the island. “Now sit down and listen to me.”

“What you’re seeing isn't childishness Ellen. It’s mourning. Get out.” Mark walked through the doorway, grabbed the keys from the hook, and slammed the front door until the bay window shivered.