I'm watching him pick his teeth with his nails, ramming those dirt encrusted sabers through each break in the enamel, and then sucking out hours old food, re-chewing it like it was a new meal.
He stares at the football game like it's a new religion and he's a born again Christian, he worships at the feet of quarterbacks and prays for the salvation of receivers, all while stuffing his face with butter devout microwave popcorn.
Occasionally I see him move, I think I even saw him lift his left side slightly, but to my disgust it was only to release one of the most pungent smells I have ever encountered. He makes no motion that he recognizes I am there, except to occasionally grunt and shake an empty beer bottle at me, signaling his need to be refreshed.
I look around the room, past the 65 inch television, past the leather couches, past the multiple pictures of family vacations and I miss the simple man who once confided that he hoped to be a lawyer for the people, helping those who needed saving from the high priced attorneys.
His head shows shadows of the thick dark hair he once possessed, His once tall, lanky body has filed in and he is better described as full. The green eyes that have looked at me lovingly, seductively, and angrily all equally are now pinched in a denial of much needed glasses.
I look at him and wonder if there is still the man that wooed me under all those layers of forgotten male species.
I recall the man who was shy and forward all at the same time, the man who approached me with a shy smile and asked if he could take me out. I remember how my Prince Charming came riding in on his 10 year old, dented, white Toyota corolla, opening the door and holding my hand as I slipped into the cracked bucket seats. How excited he was to tell me he had made reservations at one of the best restaurants in town. He thought I couldn't see how his eyes grew ten sizes when he looked at the menu, or how he had ordered water but didn't react when I ordered lobster. I remember sitting outside my third floor apartment in his car with a broken heater, glancing up at my roommate spying on us from the window as he explained his plan for his future. I watched him nervously fidget at the end of the night, standing by my door, trying to gather the courage to kiss me before I lean forward and decide to end his anguish.
Now after 18 years of marriage the beater corolla has been replaced with a brand new Sequoia, all amenities included. The apartments we shared were abandoned for a five bedroom, two-level home in the suburbs, fully occupied with two mini versions of us. Fancy dinners consist of non-macaroni and cheese entrees and quality time is spent in the bedroom, passed out on our two thousand dollar mattress. Now he saves the world from the comfort of a 25th story office as a future partner at Gorman&Gale law offices. I play the part of the doting housewife and fulltime mother, entertaining my need to contribute by writing an advice column for a small local paper.
I look at him and wonder if he misses the exciting feeling we used to have when we sat next to each other. The burning sensation that lust brings, until you get a 24 hour reminder of what the consequences are crying in the room next to you at 2 am.
I look at my children in a photograph next to me, holding each other tight for the photo, little replica's of my husband and I. Jay, tall, dark haired and muscular at 15 like my husband, quick as a whip and just as sharp with his tongue. Katy, petite with brown curls framing a trusting face at 12. Her world was her father and every other man was just in it.
Their birth changed my husband and me from irresponsible reckless singles to CNN watching, church going, judgment giving middle class parents, complete with stressed attitudes and high strung responses. But in my 15 years as a mother I wouldn't change a day.
He sits there watching the game as I contemplate all this, wondering if he even knows anything is wrong. I miss the romance; I miss our lives, and most of all I miss him, the him that used to show attention in the most wonderful of ways. I contemplate the best way to bring this up when I hear a loud groan as the TV announces the final score of the game.
"I can't believe they couldn't get into the end zone the whole game! Morons!" he was grumbling to himself.
"Tom?" I say a little louder than the TV.
"Yeah?" he acknowledges me without turning from the television.
"Can we talk?"
Tom sighs and turns the TV off. He looks down at his hands before turning his head to look at me. I inhale deeply and look at my husband of 18 years.
"Tom, I miss us."
"Malia I want a divorce." We spoke at the same time.
"What?" Did I hear that right?
"I want a divorce Malia." He sighs deeply and rests his head in his hands, hiding from my look of shock.
"What, why?" Tears are stinging my eyes as I try to maintain my calm.
"Does it matter Malia?"
"Yeah it kind of does Tom." I can feel my frustration mix with my panic.
He sighs and gets up from the chair, running his hand over his bald head. He can't look at me, Coward, coward, coward!
He glances back over his shoulder giving me a side glance.
"I'll be out by the end of the week; I'll go stay in a hotel and pack when the kids aren't here."
And with that my husband of 18 years walked away, from me, from our kids, from our home, from the promise of the rest of our lives.