He was never physically abusive. But he was mean on a regular basis. Over the course of their 10-year marriage it eventually drove Felicia to therapy. It wasn’t couples counseling, of course. Joe didn’t think there was anything wrong with their relationship.
He provided well for them as a computer engineer. She was the consummate housewife, keeping a tidy home, working part-time at a little boutique and always having dinner on the table at six sharp.
They took vacations to warm beachfront locales: Florida, Hawaii and San Diego were generally the destinations as Joe didn’t like foreign languages and unidentifiable food.
He was never mean in front of anyone else. Joe saved his biting comments, silent treatment and cold stares for Felicia alone. When he was in one of his moods he noticed every speck of dust, criticized her cooking and worse of all, would accuse her of being unfaithful.
“If you don’t like it, you know where the door is. You’ve got your aunt’s inheritance. Go find yourself a boy toy. If you haven’t already,” He’d sneer, wave his hand and laugh, “Bye, Felicia.”
She used to cry herself to sleep and he’d apologize the next day. . Now she just let the ridiculous accusations roll off her shoulders and didn’t attempt to defend herself. She went about her chores silently until his mood had passed.
Dr. Zelinsky didn’t flinch when her client started their weekly therapy session with the statement that she was going to leave her husband.
“Felicia, you’ve come a long way in the past year. You’ve went from taking the blame for your husband’s verbal abuse to standing on your own feet and taking charge of your happiness. I generally try to keep a marriage together, but in your case I totally support your divorcing Joe. You have a lot of living still to do.”
“Dr. Zee, I couldn’t have done it without you. I thought life wasn’t so bad. I lived in a nice house, took nice vacations and had nice friends. But I was settling. I really thought I wasn’t a good person and that was the best I was ever going to have,” Felicia whispered.
“You’ve done a lot of work, Felicia. Be proud,” Dr. Zee answered. “What’s your next step and how are you preparing?”
“I’ve been taking Spanish lessons. And I bought new luggage. I’ll let you know how it works out at our next session,” Felicia said with a wide grin.
Joe woke to a quiet house. Sauntering into the living room he noticed her luggage, set next to his the night before, gone. A taxi was due in two hours to pick them up for their flight to Maui.
She’d left a note:
“Joe, You were right. I did know where the door was. You’ll find divorce papers next to the coffee pot and blueberry muffins. Have your lawyer call mine and set an appointment in two weeks. As you read this, I’ll be sipping a margarita delivered by a cute cabana boy in Mexico. Bye, Felicia.”
Written for the To Live & Write in Alameda February 2020 “Flash Lit” Challenge #6. We had three days to write a piece of fiction, non-fiction or poetry of 500 words or less to the theme “On Your Feet” and post the link in our group.