Colby and Idina sat in an uncomfortable silence, sharing a meal put together by his mother in hopes of getting the two of them to communicate. It had been two long weeks; and they spent each day walking around, moping, acting as if there weren’t things that they needed to discuss. She’d tried appealing to their common senses, tried mentioning the vows they’d made to one another, the promises to work through any and everything.
But time had finally brought along a rift that seemed beyond repair. At least, in the eyes of the young couple, it seemed as if nothing in their fifteen-year relationship was worth talking about, saving.
Idina felt she was right. Colby felt like he always had to take the blame to appease her, and quite frankly, he was tired of accepting faults that were not his own. Each claimed they were always the first to apologize, always the first to compromise; when honestly, neither of them knew the true meaning behind either of those words.
It’d been close to an hour since they were left alone, and all either of them could do was stare occasionally and hope the other made the first move towards reconciliation.
“Look, this could be over and done with; your mama, my mama, and everybody else can get their nose up out of our business if you would just swallow your pride and apologize.”
Colby set his fork down, taking a deep breath. “I’m not apologizing for anything. I haven’t done anything, and I know that I haven’t because you would have told me and everybody in this town what I’d done. Your problem is that you’re spoiled, and you hate to not get your way. You hate not having the final word, you hate not being right. Well guess what, Baby, stay mad about whatever imaginary bullshit you’ve come up with this month because I’ve got nothing to be sorry about.” Grabbing his glass of water, he took a few sips before setting it back down. “Of course, I have been having to rethink our wedding day a couple of times when ‘regrets’ come to mind. Timing was all wrong.”
Idina looked at him intently. “Oh, so that’s how you’re feeling Colby?”
“If you want me to be honest; yes. That and a whole lot more. No man, no good man has to sit in his own house feeling sad and depressed because he can’t keep an ungrateful woman happy, no matter what he does.”
“Shit, you acting like I haven’t been right here fighting for this too! I put my life on hold for you!”
He shrugged, very nonchalantly. Not because he wasn’t grateful for everything that she’d ever done for him. But because he’d never forced her to do anything she didn’t want to do. That was an impossible task. “I didn’t ask you to. I told you follow whatever dream you had, would have put up the money for every little thing you chose to do. I also gave you the option to be a stay at home wife, and that’s what you chose. You’re mad because you chose to be miserable when you could have lived your dream like I’m living mine? I know you hate sports, but I also know that you loved me; therefore, you could have skipped each and every single game and ventured off wherever your heart and dreams took you.”
“I think I’ve dealt with more than enough in the last fourteen years of the fifteen we’ve been married, more than enough in the seventeen we’ve been together. I do everything in my power to make this work, and nothing is ever enough. Nothing pleases Queen Idina. I could literally give you the entire world; and you’ll say that ain’t shit. I don’t know what else you want.”
She nodded her head, tossing her fork down before she pushed her chair back and got up.
Without saying anything else, Idina headed straight for her work-study area. Walking in the room and around her desk, she reached into one of the bottom drawers and pulled out black folder.
Walking back into the dining area where they’d been sitting, she slammed the folder down in front of him and retook her seat. She resumed eating, calmly, acting as if that very folder didn’t hold what could become one of the hardest trials in their lives.
“The hell is this?”
“Your wish come true.” She enunciated each word clearly in a monotonous tone; devoid of any type of emotion. “Sign them, pack your things, and all of this can really be over.”
Colby laughed, something he normally only did whenever he was annoyed; wondering where she found the nerve and audacity to come at him with some bullshit. He simply slid the folder back in her direction, shrugging his shoulders when it hit the floor and the papers formed a mess next to their dining table.
“That’s your answer for everything, huh? Trouble comes along and instead of trying to talk and work through them like an adult; you run to your father and have him draw up divorce papers, most likely in your favor.”
“Sign them; since you regret marrying me.”
“You don’t even listen. I said the timing was wrong. I regret marrying you young; when we were both still teenagers; dumb, trying to act grown when neither of us knew a damn thing about managing situations like the one that we’re in now. As much shit as I talk, as much as I say that I’m tired of you; never once did I say I’m so tired that I’m giving up. But that’s always your first answer, Idina. No let’s seek counseling. No let’s pray and ask God to help us work through these situations. No let’s sit and have a real conversation and get to the bottom of what BOTH of our problems are, or let’s see what problems have we both contributed to this mess. Just run, run, sign these divorce papers and get out my face.”
“If you say so.”
“I do.” He cleared his throat, resting his arms on the table as he clasped his hands together and looked directly at her. “So, when I sign these divorce papers, what are you going to do for yourself?”
“I didn’t stutter, Idina. What are you going to do for yourself? You signed a pre-nup, and though I would be generous and give you more than what we initially agreed on, I can’t promise that my lawyers won’t go to bat on my behalf and make it impossible for you to receive more. Where are you going to go, ‘cause I won’t be the one packing up and leaving. This house was left to me, not you.”
“That is so cute; trying to keep me here with money and things that don’t matter. I had a life before you, I had money before you.”
“No, I’m asking you these questions because I genuinely care about your well-being, I always will. Are you going to live on your own? Would you like me to help you find a safe neighborhood like this one? Want me to make a few suggestions on what to invest in so that settlement money lasts you a while? Might want to avoid those Housewives shows because with your personality; you’d either get kicked off, or someone would be fighting you every week.”
“Do not patronize me.”
“I am being serious! You want the divorce, fine. I’ll give you that if it’s what will finally make you happy. However, I want to know what you’re going to do afterwards. As someone I love, someone I will always love, I want to know that you’ll be fine without someone taking care of you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Oh, so now I need to be taken care of? Like I’m some type of child?”
“As if you’re a child? No, of course not. As if you’ve never, ever lived alone… or spent time alone… or looked after yourself without the aid of others? Yes. Tell me what you’re going to do and I’ll sign the papers.”
Idina looked at him, seeing the seriousness in his face. She couldn’t tell if he was masking the emotion that usually shone through his eyes, or if he was honestly fed up. His expression was plain, poker face in play as he waited for her response. “I’m going to finally live my life. That’s all you need to know, Colby.”
Nodding his head once, Colby stood and moved to where the papers had fallen. He gathered them all and stacked them neatly before setting them on the table. Pulling a pen from the pocket of the black folder, he removed the cap and leaned down, signing his name on all dotted lines where it was required. Sliding the folder in her direction, gently, he gave a half smile. “I hope you find that happiness you couldn’t find here.”
Staring down at the paper, in total shock that he’d done it; Idina took several deep breaths, wondering what she’d started.