1979

Shay Sheridan


She kicked me out.

Married seventeen years, eighteen years this September, and she kicked me out.


He still couldn’t believe it.

Got married too young, that must have been it. What did twenty-year-olds know about life, anyway? Nothing. Not one damn thing. Just because he'd thought he knew everything there was to know back then didn’t make it true. A rookie cop, wet behind the ears, a girl who’d never spent a night away from her parents before the honeymoon -- oh, yeah, we were prepared.

He sighed heavily, leaning back in his chair, darting a glance at the lieutenant’s office, risking putting a tired foot up on his desk. He didn’t care; let the boss yell at him. Give him a reprimand. Whatever. When your entire life is crammed into two suitcases and a couple cardboard boxes in your friend’s garage, what does anything else matter, anyway?

How could she have been prepared for what it’s like to be a cop’s wife? How could she have known how she’d feel when he didn’t come home on time, when he came home depressed, or angry, or drunk, or worse, didn’t come home at all, stuck on some case or out decompressing, or slamming the heavy bag around in the gym so he wouldn’t hit her, or just so pissed at the universe that he had to drive to the lake and stare at the horizon until he got it under control.

How could he have been prepared for a woman who said she wanted kids but then changed her mind? How could he have predicted his green-eyed, golden-haired angel would become unhappy with her life, and greedy to do more with it, or that he would balk at the thought she might surpass him if she went back to school? Or that depression would make her stop taking care of herself, and the loss of her looks would disgust him? His shallowness surprised him, and depressed him, but there hadn’t seemed to be anything he could do about it.

Until he did do something about it. With a redhead.

Shit. Beating himself over the head with his own guilt wasn’t helping. He slammed the chair back down to the floor, sending spokes of pain up his spine and getting a nasty look from the guy across the way to boot. Too fucking bad, buddy.

Thirty-eight years old, and what do I do now?

Dammit.

He had to admit last night had been worse, though. Last night he'd thought seriously about letting his Beretta do the talking. Last night when she stood there in the hall while he threw things blindly, haphazardly, into boxes, not even seeing what he held in his hands, he’d thought, I’ll never love anyone else but her in my entire life and no one else will ever love me. He’d stumbled out of there, thrown things in the trunk of the battered car and driven off without seeing the road in front of him. There didn’t really seem to be much point in going on. The only question he'd had in his head then was, which shall it be: death by car or bullet?

Today, well, today he woke up on his partner's couch, and coffee had been made, and his buddy had handed it to him and had looked at him sympathetically, and then had put a hand around his shoulders and said, “It’ll be okay, Hardy, I promise,” as he shook with embarrassing but unstoppable tears. And when he was done, he blew his nose and went to work.

And even if the bad voice inside his head, the one that wouldn’t shut up, kept saying, what point is there, really? he knew there was a point, and sooner or later he’d figure out what it was.


redchance @ aol.com
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