John leans against the kitchen counter. His arms are crossed in front of his chest. He frowns. “We have a good life… right?” He empties the flying pan of the cold omelet he had prepared for Beverly. He pushes it into the disposal and starts the grind. He knows that Beverly is hungry. She worked twelve hours and it was almost ten.
Beverly says nothing. She is seated at the kitchen table. She is still wearing her white jacket from work. She is staring at her fingernails, then slowly looks up. She spits out, “You burned the toast.” She gives John an accusatory stare. “The smell of burnt toast makes me want to puke.”
“I didn’t do it on purpose.” He doesn’t add that the argument over the grocery list had stolen his attention. He puts the toast in the disposal and runs water over it. He keeps his back to Beverly.
“I did not say that you did it on purpose, John,” she says slowly. There is a pause. Loudly she adds, “Are you deaf, John? I said that it… makes…me…want…to…puke.”
John loses his patience for an instant. “And I asked you if we have a good life. I want an answer.”
“We have a damned good life.” Beverly is almost defiant when she says this. She is tapping the butter knife on the table.
Contact download “Then why are you so miserable so much of the time?” John’s eyes water. “We have two great kids. They go to the best school. We have a beautiful house. Two nice cars. Paid for. We took a couple good vacations. We don’t have any bills.” He paused and fails to smile. “Beverly, I love you. I hate seeing you so unhappy.”
Beverly stares at the plate on the table. John had carefully set a place for her. She glances at the clock. Then attacks, “John, you got home from work at five. You have had all evening to relax. I left the house at seven thirty this morning and just got home at nine thirty. Can’t you let me relax?”
“What did I do?” John throws his arms into the air. He does not tell Beverly that he spent three hours doing paperwork that he brought home.
“What did you do? You don’t even know?” Beverly is on her feet now. She takes a step forward.
“Yes, what did I do?” John’s voice rises. “All I did was make you a good omelet and some toast. You always come home ravished after a twelve hour day.” John throws the frying pan into the sink . It makes a loud clanging noise.
“Yes, that is what you did. You made me a goddam omelet with peppers, onions and some cheese. You know that I don’t like peppers.”
“Since when? You loved them when you had fajitas at El Charro last Saturday?”
“That’s different.” Beverly flings the butter knife into the sink. It hits, leaps up and ends up on the floor.
“Why are you so miserable, Beverly? We have a good life.”
“And I pay for it,” she accuses.
John is silent. This is not a subject he will discuss. His law practice is slow starting, but showing hope. In college, he had promised Beverly that she could cut back after five years. It has been ten.
Beverly draws a deep breath and releases it with a pitiable sigh. “I’m sorry,” she whispers. “John, I’m so so sorry.”
“I know, baby, but why does this have to happen so often?” He steps forward and takes her hands in his. He wants to hold her, but knows that it has to be when she is ready.
Beverly starts to cry. “I worked twelve hours straight. No frikkin’ breaks. It was so busy that all I had to eat in twelve hours was one Snickers bar, gobbled while I worked and a Big Grab of Cheetos and a Diet Coke around five o’clock.” Her eyes beg John to understand. “Then some bitch patient dares to tell me that I have “a orange Cheetos mouth” when I go out to counsel her.
“Just a customer, Beverly. You can’t let that get to you.”
Beverly starts to laugh. “I told her to ‘Kiss my ass’ and she stormed to the manager on duty, that pimple-faced Tony who thinks he his Donald frikkin’ Trump. He comes back to the pharmacy and demands that I come to the office.” Beverly is laughing hard.
“That guy is a wimp,” John is laughing with her.
“I told him, ‘Kiss my ass, Tony. I have prescriptions to check’.”
He screams to me, “I am going to write you up.” Beverly is laughing so hard that there is spittle running down her cheek. John grabs a paper towel and wipes her face. He lets his hand linger. He looks into her eyes. “I love you, Beverly. I just wish we did not have to go through this once a week.”
“I know. I just get running so fast that I can’t stop and there is so much stored up resentment in me that it comes pouring out.” She relaxes into John’s arms. “I always take it out on you.”
“Get another job,” he suggests.
“They are all the same. The managers all think that they are prison guards and that the pharmacists are just over-paid convicts.”
“Won’t it ever change? Why don’t you guys do something about it?” John holds her tight. He whispers, “You are highly trained medical professionals. This is not right.” Throughout their ten years of marriage, John had heard stories that made his attorney hair stand on end.
“There is a chance,” Beverly says. She melts into John’s strong arms. She leans her head on his shoulder. “All we need is for a group of pharmacists to show some guts,” she says. “I’d join them, John. I really would. Somebody has to start it.”
Beverly leans back and looks into John’s eyes. “I’m sorry. I love you, John. That will never happen again. I’ll find a better way to vent.”
“Never say never,” John laughs. He places his hands on each side of her face. He looks into her eyes and then dips forward to kiss her. He holds her for a long time while Beverly softly weeps.