He looked at the books on his desk; Norman Mailer’s , An American Dream, Jean Baudrillard’s, America, Ulysses by Joyce, were all lined up along with others; dust covered, pages torn, leather cover of the Holy Bible starting to crack, a collection of poetry by Ted Hughes folding and bending.
At one time he had over a thousand books. Hardbacks and paperbacks lined the shelves of his basement office where he spent most of his time; writing and reading, reading and writing while his wife stayed upstairs watching reality tv; shows about rich women with drinking problems and husband problems and fashion problems; all kinds of problems. They were becoming roommates.
What happens when you fall out of love with someone? you start to avoid them; spending time with yourself, alone, away from the breath they blow, their touch, mere presence. You don’t really hate the person you married, you just do better when they’re not around.
And so the young husband stayed to himself, she kept the bedroom at the end of the hall while he slept in the guest room. Maybe that was it? perhaps he was a guest. Just some man who came and went as he pleased.
He sat at the desk looking at how disorderly his life had become since the divorce. Change everywhere, half drunk bottles of whiskey, unwashed coffee mugs, litter upon the carpeted floor; maybe a woman’s touch was needed. Maybe?
It was winter when they divorced. Cold, bitter winter. The court date was the day after Christmas. When the judge granted the divorce she turned to him and said, What do we do now? He shook his head and said, whatever you like. She was free without guilt to watch as many reality tv shows as she wanted; perhaps living in a fantasy world. And he, was able to read and write in a room locked away from the world.