Friday

Rationalization #22: "MY WIFE ISN'T PRETTY, BUT SHE'D STAY WITH ME IF I GOT SICK."

REALITY: You started dating Priscilla back in '98 because when you called, she was just about the only girl you could count on saying Yes. You weren't really attracted to her -- spare tire, eruptive complexion, bad frizzy hair, musty breath -- but she genuinely seemed warm and attentive and would have sex with you whenever you asked.

It was lonely and expensive living alone, so when she offered to split the rent with you, you invited her to move in. Couple of months later she started putting pressure on you to get engaged, becoming whiny and tearful when you resisted, so that, finally, out of guilt, inertia, and a profound fear that no other girl would have you, you gave in. You walked down the aisle with about as much enthusiasm as a man heading in for a digital rectal exam, but you comforted yourself with the thought that old Priscilla genuinely loved you and, unlike prettier, more glamorous women, would stick with you through thick and thin -- even if you got sick.

Which, tragically, has happened. You went for your annual physical and the doctor found a lesion in your digestive track. Colon cancer. Darryl Strawberry disease. Unfortunately, yours is already in a far more advanced stage and at present your in the hospital, having just had a large portion of your intestine removed. No one's really saying anything yet, but you're getting the feeling that you may be shitting in a bag the rest of your life. And speaking of life, every time you ask the doc whether you're going to make it or not, he kind of hems and haws and doesn't look you in the eye.

Now what about Priscilla? Is she sticking with you in your extreme time of need, as you so confidently predicted? After all, this was the trade off: Ugly but loyal. Well, something wierd has happened. While you've been battling your dread disease over the past several months, Priscilla seems to be thriving. She lost 15 pounds, got a promotion at work, tried a new beauty salon that has straightened and lightened her hair, found a dermatologist that has put her on Retin-A, and begun carrying Tic Tacs. What a make-over! You actually find yourself wanting to fuck her, the only problem being your libido has plummeted ever since you were diagnosed with the big C. And apparently you're not the only one who's noticed the improvement in the wife's appearance. Last week, your oldest and best friend Andy showed up at the hospital -- coincidentally -- the same time as Priscilla. They both had Starbuck's lattes, and you privately wondered if they'd got them together.

The whole visit they were as thick as thieves, all over you with their concern and love. Only it had a vaguely insincere vibe about it. Like they couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. A man shitting in a bag, temporary or not, is never really the biggest draw in the world. When they were getting ready to leave, Andy offered Priscilla a ride home on account of he had his car downstairs and lives just a few blocks away. She turned to you as if looking for your approval. "Sure,
sure," you said, "I don't want you riding the bus alone at this time of night." But inside, you felt a chilling bolt of adrenalin race through your stomach. Because for the first time since you've know her, it occurred to you that good old Priscilla was actually capable of fucking another guy. In this case, as so often happens in this life of ours, your best friend.

You called home an hour later and got the answering machine, then phoned every half hour or so until finally, close to midnight, Priscilla finally picked up. There was terrible traffic, she said. She had the phone off because she'd gotten a scary telemarketing call. She was downstairs in the basement in the laundry room and couldn't hear the phone ring. It was now a quarter past twelve. You've never known Priscilla to stay up after eleven on a week night in her entire life. There is a lilt to her voice, a bounce, an enthusiasm that you've never heard before. And you suspect that some time after leaving you she actually had old Andy's cock inside her, shooting jism into her, something you haven't been able to do since you discovered you were ill.

Your mind is a shitstorm of terror and despair. The one thing you counted on most from this dog of a woman she hasn't delivered. When you are most down and out, more than neglect you, she has kicked you in the balls. They say life isn't fair? It's worse than that, buddy -- it's a fucking nightmare. The moral of the story? You're fucked no matter what you do, so don't talking yourself into the notion that everything's alright. It isn't even close.

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