Marly Sees The Light

Written by Susan Brooks

Lightening streaked across the sky and the house shook from the thunder. The trees seemed to bend completely over from the wind that never seemed to stop. Marly stood in her kitchen, clutching her cup and quietly sipped her tea. There was something powerful about a summer storm. It was as if Mother Nature, or perhaps God needed to remind people who was really in charge.

As the storm raged, Marly kept busy with her various household chores. She unloaded the dishwasher and folded the load of clothes that had finished tumbling around in the dryer. When she completed that task, she grabbed the laundry basket and made her way down the hall into the master bedroom. Marly wondered who had decided it was a good idea to name a bedroom. And why on earth would you name it the master bedroom. She surmised it probably had to do with the fact that it was the largest bedroom and therefore the master of the house would likely sleep there.

She mused on that thought as she carefully put away the clothes.  As per usual, most of the clothes in the basket belonged to her husband David. Every day David would put on a clean outfit including underwear, a tee shirt, pants and a pullover. The one thing he never seemed to change was his socks. Marly had given up trying to convince David that he should change his socks on a regular basis. Of course, the only reason David put on clean clothes was because every morning Marly laid out a clean outfit for him. In some ways, she was like David’s valet.

As she closed the dresser drawer, Marly looked around the room. David’s nightstand was littered with wadded up tissues, empty water bottle and an assortment of used Q-tips. He had a pile of books that he was reading, bookmarkers dutifully keeping track of his progress in each one. The TV remote was on the floor and David’s eye cream was wedged under the cell phone charger.

The doorbell ringing stopped her from sweeping the assortment of trash into the bedroom trash can. She would deal with the mess later. Standing on her porch was the grocery delivery service. Marly smiled at the young man and took the two heavy bags from his hands. She carried them into the kitchen and returned to the door just in time to grab two more bags. In less than ten minutes, the weekly grocery shopping had been delivered to her door.

Marly sorted through the bags and put away the refrigerated items and the few things that would be stored in her pantry.  The rest she carried down the stairs to the basement pantry and freezer. Although it was just, she and David in the house, Marly was amazed at how much money she spent on groceries.  They had plenty of food, but keeping David happy by providing him an assortment of junk food was an ongoing battle.  That’s why Marly limited how much she put out because David’s addictive personality would allow him to sit down with a new bag of chips, pretzels, or some other greasy snack food and eat the whole bag in one sitting. He was the same way with a pint of ice cream or a bag of cookies.

She felt guilty that David had put on so much weight and his health was not that good but was it her fault that he kept eating and eating and never exercised. The expensive gym equipment that he had to have, had been just collecting dust. She knew that because she dusted it every time, she cleaned the spare room in their house.

Marly spent the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon, as she did most of her days. She paid their monthly bills, she scrubbed toilets, she scheduled maintenance on the house, she planned meals and coordinated their social calendar. Not that there was a lot to coordinate since David was perfectly happy to just stay home, day in and day out. His constant companion PTSD was a homebody and that made David one too.

She picked up her cell phone and saw she had a text from David. He had run into a buddy down at the VA and they were going to grab a bite to eat. He wouldn’t be home until later but not to worry, he wouldn’t want any dinner.

Great thought Marly. The pot roast she had been cooking all day for their dinner was now going to be enjoyed by just her. Typical David to not consider she may have dinner already started.

Tears stung her eyes. Once again David had hurt her feelings and he didn’t even realize it. So many times, during the day, David would say or do something that made Marly angry, hurt, or puzzled. When she reacted, David always seemed surprised at her reaction. He would apologize and offer an explanation, but he genuinely seemed clueless. Marly suspected that he would be shocked if he knew how many times, she felt hurt or betrayed. She wondered; maybe the problem wasn’t David; maybe it was Marly.

Marly had tried many times to explain to David that she was so tired of doing everything, making every decision, handling every problem, walking the path alone. At what point in their relationship was the decision made that Marly would be the giver and David would be the taker? Did David realize how selfish he was? Did he even care how frustrated and exhausted Marly felt? The simple answer was no he did not and that would never change. It was unreasonable of Marly to expect David to change. He was incapable of change; his PTSD was in control and not the sweet man she had fallen in love with so many years ago. She had a better chance of getting their dog to change his behavior then she did getting David to change.

A loud clap of thunder rattled the house. Marly jumped and cursed when the lights flickered and then went out. A shroud of dark fell over her and the house. Marly carefully made her way into the kitchen where she kept two flashlights. The skylight in the kitchen ceiling lit up with every flash of lightening. For a few seconds, a brilliant light shone down and then it was gone. It was fleeting and mysterious as if an angel stopped by for a quick look.

Marly switched on the largest of the two flashlights and illuminated the kitchen. She found some candles and matches and soon the kitchen, dining room and living room were flickering in candlelight. Marly’s cellphone was ringing and she scurried to pick it up. David was calling to make sure she was alright and to let her know that he was heading home instead of hanging out with his buddy. He would be home as soon as possible.  He told her he loved her as he hung up.

As the kitchen lit up from the storm, Marly put down her phone, and checked on her pot roast. She felt of rush of love and contentment as she started setting the table in the dining room. Funny how a simple phone call had changed her mood. Another flash of light filled the kitchen and Marly did not turn away. She let the light cover her from head to toe for its few fleeting seconds.

Tonight, Marly and David would eat dinner by candlelight and Marly would enjoy being with her husband, and the man he was now. Marly had seen the light.

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