Ecochondriacs [8]

Please note well: If you order this book in hard copy, it will ship before Thanksgiving. Link here. In fact, they are now printed and already shipping. In addition, audio chapters are being recorded and released on the new Canon App. Details later this morning.

Gina Is Tired of It

Meanwhile Gina Martin sat down on the couch again, after having walked back and forth across the room several times. She wasn’t nervous, or afraid. It was just that she hated conflict, and she had finally settled in her mind that she was going to have herself some conflict anyhow. That is why she had a margarita in her hand, even though it wasn’t dinner time yet, and that was why she took another sip of it. She was the kind of woman who wouldn’t get into a conflict unless she was going to win it, and yet she was kind-hearted enough to hate whatever damage was done to others in the course of winning it.

She heard Del in the foyer, taking off his coat and hanging up his satchel, and so she just sat there, glass in hand. Here it comes. The kids were at her mother’s for the weekend, and so it would be just the two of them. He came into the living room, rubbing his hands. He had had, from all initial appearances, a good day. He had texted when he hit the freeway, and he was within a couple of minutes of his predicted time, and so a margarita was waiting by his chair for him. There was nothing in the welcoming set up to indicate to him that Gina was about to tell him that she was going to file for divorce right after the election. But she was, and when he sat down, she got right to the point. She was businesslike, and even affable at times, but all the necessary firmness was there. If ever a woman had had it with someone else’s cheating ways, this woman was in that category. “Del, I found out about Kara today.” Kara was a low-level staffer on the campaign. Gina had only met her twice, and had thought her entirely too slinky on first acquaintance. When she

met her the second time she had thought her slinkier. A phrase she had once read in Wodehouse had come to mind—a snake with hips.

When she said this, Del twitched, startled, and sat up straight in his chair. He didn’t protest, but it looked as though he was thinking about it, and so Gina held up her hand. “I don’t want to argue about it, or inquire into it, or waste any time talking about it. Just know that I know, and that my intelligence is really good.”

He knew he was caught, fair and square. So Del sat back, waiting for the blast. In their fifteen years of marriage, he had strayed a total of five times. Gina had found out about three of them, counting this time with Kara, and each of the previous two times had been followed by a fierce argument, filled with recriminations, accusations, and sobs. So Del sat back, waiting for her to begin, and braced himself for it. If he just weathered the storm, things would get back to normal eventually.

But what she did was astonish him. She said, in calm and measured tones, “Del, I don’t know what it is. I don’t even pretend to understand it. You are very nice to me in every other way. We like each other. So I know that you are not trying to hurt me intentionally. But you do it anyway, and so I have decided that it is well past time for me to move out of range. And by that, I mean completely out of range.”

That startled him again, but differently, and he sat up straighter again. He went a little pale around the lips, which she noticed.

“What . . . what do you mean?” he faltered.

“After I received my intelligence report this morning, I spent a lot of time thinking about it. And what I wanted to do tonight is explain to you how the divorce is going to happen.”

“Divorce?” He had no right to be amazed at the prospect of divorce appearing suddenly like this, but it is often the case that delusional people experience feelings that they have no right to experience. “Divorce?” he said again.

“Yes,” she said. “And this is how it is going to happen. I have no desire to destroy your career, or mess anything up for you, now that everything is going so well for you. The vice-presidential nomination and all.”

He nodded, still stunned. As alluded to earlier,  he  had no right to be stunned, but that didn’t keep him from being stunned.

“I am not going to file until the week after the election. I am willing to make all the campaign appearances you need, and everything stays normal that way. As far as anybody else in the world is concerned, we are married until the election. Then we will be divorced. If you win the election, my leaving will be at the beginning of a four-year-term, and I will be ancient history by the time the next election comes around. If you lose the elec- tion, nobody will care, and I will not have destroyed anything for you. And you will still have your Senate seat.”

He had slumped in his chair, and after a few minutes gestured helplessly. “But what about now, between now and the election?”

“I am not sure what you are asking, precisely, but if we are here by ourselves, and not on some campaign stage, then you

should consider us to be already divorced. We are done. I do think we should endeavor to be civil and civilized, for the boys’ sake, but apart from the legal work we are already done. As done as it gets.”

“Where will I sleep? . . . the boys will notice . . .”

“In our bedroom, just so the boys don’t ask questions. I will explain it all to them after the election. But no sex, and no sly attempts at it either. That won’t fix anything.”

“But I don’t want a divorce,” he finally said.

“Yes, but I do. And I am the one who is getting one.” “I . . . I don’t want a divorce,” he said again.

“But you clearly don’t want to be married to me either.”

He had no comeback for that one, so he went back to an earlier point. He said, “You said earlier that ‘everything is working out for me.’ But everything is actually working out for us. It’s all coming together, babe.”

“Not any more,” she said with finality. “Not any more.” “Babe, don’t be hasty. You could be First Lady some day . . .” “I know that I could. And I know that I would be just as

miserable as some of our other First Ladies have been. I would much prefer the exclusion of all second ladies than to be First Lady.”

“But . . .”

She held up her hand gracefully, and even somewhat graciously, but still imperiously. “Done,” she said.

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