Where You Go
Copyright© 2011 by Robert McKay
Cecelia was waiting for me when I got home. She was on the sofa – on my end, which was highly unusual. She had a book in her hand, but from the way she closed it without a bookmark and without dogearing the page, I was sure she hadn't been reading it – not, anyway, in the sense that the words on the page made any lasting impact in her mind. She put the book on the coffee table and rose while I locked the door and took off my hat.
"Where have you been, Darvin?" she asked.
"Working." I hung my hat on the rack and began undoing the snaps on my coat.
"I know that you were working, Darvin. But where? I've been worrying about you."
I looked at her, my hands on the coat still. "I'm all right, Cecelia."
"But I didn't know that. I've been sitting here not knowing where you were, whether you were safe, whether you were alive..." Her voice trailed off – before, I suspected, it broke.
I took my coat off and hung it up. "Well I am alive, and I am all right, and there's no need for all this."
"Darvin – my husband – if I did not love you I would not be doing 'all this.' Because I do love you, I worry. It is part of loving you. It is why you have always called when you were going to work late, and it is why I called you when you failed to call me. To tell me that I should not worry is tantamount to telling me I should not love you – and I could go through life without oxygen more easily than I could cease to love you."
"For pete's sake, Cecelia!" My voice rose as I spoke. "What do you want from me anyway? I'm fine, okay? So I should have called and didn't. Okay, I apologize. What else do you want?"
"I want, Darvin, to have my husband back."
I almost asked her what she meant by that, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to hear the answer. I blew out a breath and pinched the bridge of my nose. I thought of saying something, but didn't after all. I walked on into the kitchen, got a Coke out of the refrigerator, and went into my study. When I got there I did something I almost never do – I shut the door.
I sat on the loveseat and twisted the cap off the Coke bottle. I upended it and drank some. And then I looked blankly at the bookshelves along the other wall. I saw John Calvin's Institutes, and commentaries by Matthew Henry among others, and several copies of the Bible, and various other theological works that I've accumulated over the years. I saw all the books, but I didn't see them, not really. My mind was on Larry Entragian, and Teebeau Rice, and what I could do the next day to chase things down further.
I don't know how long I sat there, but eventually the bottle was empty. I screwed the cap on tight and tossed the bottle at the trash can. It hit the rim and bounced off, and landed under my chair. I looked at it, and left it.
And I heard the door open. When Cecelia or I, or Darlia for that matter, close a door, it's because we want privacy. And if any of us want to talk to the person behind the door, we knock. But Cecelia hadn't knocked. She came in, and closed the door behind her, and sat down beside me on the loveseat. She was at my right, and she took my right hand with both of hers.
"Perhaps," she began, "I have reacted wrongly. I was worried, yes – and still am, Darvin, for you are acting very differently from what I've known for the past 11 years. But I perhaps said so too strongly. I know that you have a great deal on your mind, and that you need to work through the things that have happened and are happening. If I pushed too hard, I apologize."
I took a breath. "I don't know, C – I think I'm fine, and then I blow up without knowing I'm going to, or why I do it. And then I get sad, and then it starts all over again. And when I come home I feel like I'm in a foreign world..."
Now Cecelia took a breath; I could hear the inhalation. "I brought you into my house, and my bed. It has not bothered you, and we have never discussed it, but when I think about it, very little in this house actually belongs to you; the house and most of what is in it I owned, by myself, before I ever met you." She paused, thinking. "In a certain sense I am keeping you. It didn't bother you, so I dismissed the matter, but I can understand how you might come to think of this house not as yours or ours, but as 'hers.' If you wish, I will add your name to the title, and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that you have an equal share in all the contents of the house."