You know what?
I hate to say, but I have given it a lot of thought. The truth is, well, I don’t love you anymore.
What? Now don’t be silly. We’ve been married 15 years.
I’m afraid it’s true.
Oh, come on. What’s the matter? What is bothering you?
Nothing is bothering me. I feel much better opening up and telling you.
Sex and passion aren’t real love, you know.
They are part of love, or they used to be.
Those things don’t last forever.
Speak for yourself.
This is silly. You say you don’t love me. Tell me what the love is that’s now gone.
I just don’t care. I don’t know where it went.
And the kids, our two daughters?
You know I never wanted kids.
You used to say that but now I can see you take pleasure in them.
Not much. Not really. I do my duty. I try to be a good husband, but underneath I am furious.
How you betrayed me.
A woman needs a family.
No. A lot of women don’t have kids. I’m just a slot. Slot D, husband. It could have been any man willing to work beneath the wheel.
I don’t like this talk. Of course, you love me.
Just think. Do I bring you flowers? Do I take you to hear music or dance? Am I thoughtful at all? The only things we talk about are family business. You know, get the dog vaccinated. Did you change the oil?
You’re having a bad day. Let me get you a beer. I’ll see if I can get a babysitter this late and we can go to a movie.
All my days are bad days.
You’re being dramatic.
Think so? You know I have a gun. I might as well shoot myself.
People would kill for what you have. We’ve got this nice house with three bedrooms. You turned the garage into a poolroom. Two healthy girls. A well-paying job. You’re lucky. No, you’re privileged.
I’m going for my gun.
You’ve never shot a gun in your life.
You’re wrong. I took a class.
You run a flower shop.
Where is my gun?
I don’t know where you keep it.
I had it hidden on the shelf behind the TV, behind my Louis L’Amour Westerns. You took my gun! Where is it?
I did not take your gun. If I’d known I would have taken it to stop you from suicide or whatever.
We were going to live in San Francisco. We were going to both work half-time and live a Bohemian life.
I am not an artist. I’m a physical therapist.
You play instruments. You love novels.
What we have now is good and real.
To you it is. Why didn’t you tell me you wanted to duplicate the life of your mother?
You wouldn’t have married me.
That’s true and I’m done with you now.
Where are you going?
We’re not done talking.
Talking gets you nowhere.
Emory walked east through his suburban neighborhood and then walked along the railroad tracks. All he had was twenty dollars, a credit card, and the clothes on his back. The tracks went through downtown Hearne and headed south along HWY 6. For years he’d stood at crossings and watched trains go by. Since he was a child of six, he and his best friend Ellis had played along the tracks and maybe five or six times grabbed the railings on boxcars and rode a few miles out of town. The train was moving a little faster than he was walking. Soon it would start to pick up speed. He heard a car honking and turned to look. It was Marie in the tan Toyota. She was thirty feet away on HW 6, barely moving. She was yelling in his direction. It looked like she was crying. Suddenly she stopped the car in the right lane. Cars behind her stopped. She got out and dodged around cars across the road and ran toward him. He kicked his right leg up, pivoted, and rolled inside a boxcar. The door was wide open. He tried to shut the door, but it was locked in place somehow. Marie had stopped at the side of the track. He gave her a quick glance and then moved into the shadows. His body ached with pain, but he felt elated. The train was gathering speed, heading south toward Houston, and then maybe further to Galveston. If not, he could hitch the rest of the way or take the bus. His plan was to get a job on a cruise ship where they parked in Galveston. It was like slave labor, he knew. His friend Carrie had worked on one as a photographer and hardly slept for ten days. Bad treatment was why they always needed people. Those Caribbean cruise ships! They are as large as life, he thought. The monsters leap and curve up and up, high and high like ten story buildings. Somehow with all that weight, the rooms upon rooms, the chandeliers hanging above dance floors, the swimming pools and bars, the shops and the helicopter and its pad, they manage to float majestically, magically, and dangerously, like the life he wished to have. He could jump ship when they reached the Virgin Islands, and or maybe in Puerto Rico. He wished he’d brought his guitar. Maybe he can sing tunes for the lovers on the cruise ship.