“Oh, yes! I knew you were going to get around to that!”
“Yeah, I am! If she’d just minded her own god-damned business, we’d have done it when we first got married, when we damn-well should have! But no, she said, ‘Don’t do it till I say so,’ and of course, little Marsha always listens to her mommy!”
“Mitchell, Shut up! Just shut up!”
“Yeah, Marsha, I’ll shut up, okay!”
In insurmountable anger—at Marsha, but mostly at himself—turning from her, moving to the far side of the bed, Mitchell stared into the darkness.
Turning in the opposite direction, moving as far to the other side of the bed as possible, feeling lost, feeling alone, and oh, so unhappy, Marsha cried.
Mitchell heard her, but too bound in anger and too involved in self-pity, he did not turn to her.
Seagate, New York
The Seventh Day of Their Lives
December 24, 1955: 10:14 a.m.
She sat at the table in the kitchen writing letters to Rosalie and Shelly. She wrote of the apartment, Seagate, Coney Island and what she’d seen of New York City, but outside of saying, “He’s fine,” Marsha did not mention Mitchell, nor, because at that time she could not think of even one, “the joys of married life.” Between letters, putting the pen down, she looked at Mitchell because…
Since last night, Marsha had been thinking, very seriously, of going back to Chicago, because…
We’ve never even had sex! she thought, Well, not all the way. And further thought, as, taking a Kleenex from the box at her elbow, dabbed at the growing moisture in her eyes, as, stifling a sob, Marsha now thought… As had Mitchell, Maybe we can get it annulled.
Laying on the sofa, facing the kitchen, pretending to read a Max Brand pocket book novel, but glancing at Marsha over the top of the book every few seconds, Mitchell urgently wanted to do something, to say something. He well knew the problem was his, but no longer had any idea of what to do about it. He knew Marsha was unhappy, but really didn’t know what to say. He wanted to apologize for what he’d said about Rhea, but did feel that he was right and could not bring himself to say the words.
They hadn’t spoken to each other, not one word, since last night and now, the silence and depressive atmosphere were becoming too much…
“Marcie,” standing suddenly, throwing the book onto the sofa, “let’s get the hell out of here!”
Looking up, her voice weary, “Where do you want to go, Mitchell?” she asked as though not caring where they would go, or what they would do.
“We’ll take the ferry to Staten Island… Come on!” Going to the table, taking the pen from her hand, bodily pulling her to her feet. “You can’t go aboard, but I’ll show you Halfmoon, then maybe we’ll head back to Manhattan, grab a bite to eat and see if there’s another play we can catch, or see a movie or something… Come on! How’s about it?”
Screwing the cap on the pen, “Okay,” she said halfheartedly. “If that’s what you want to do.”
Taking the pad of writing paper and the bottle of ink, Marsha put both into the top drawer of the dresser.
“Marcie, look, honey, I’m sorry for all this, and as soon as I get aboard ship on Monday, I’ll make an urgent request to see a doctor, and do whatever I can to solve our… my problem.”
“Okay, Mitchell. Whatever you want.”
Her unconcerned attitude made him angry, but he held it down.
Though he attempted to speak to her, Marsha was unresponsive, and the car ride from Seagate to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal was all but silent. The darkly overcast day added to the depression.
Standing inside, behind a water-stained window, Mitchell pointed to Ellis Island, then a few minutes later, the Statue of Liberty, that were both barely visible in the foggy distance.
As the ferry docked at Staten Island, going outside, they climbed the staircase to the upper deck where Marsha was able to see the expanse of the huge complex.
Still thinking of the Coast Guard in terms of red-roofed lifeboat stations, saying her first complete sentence since leaving the apartment, “I didn’t think it would be so gigantic.”
Pleased to hear her voice again, “Yeah, it is a pretty big place… There!” he said, putting an arm about her waist, pointing, “There she is!”
Looking at the forest of white smoke stacks, “Where?”
“Look, see that pier?” Pointing to the first pier past the ferry terminal. “Okay, we’re going to count piers. Stay with me now. One, two,” moving his pointing finger, “three… You still with me?”
Not moving her eyes, “Yes.”
“Okay. Now the fourth pier, and there, on the next one, that’s her.”
“Oh…” That’s the Halfmoon, she thought, Mitchell’s ship.
Once again Marsha felt as though here, now, was a dream. Turning her head, looking at him to be sure she was really here, with Mitchell…
And Marsha suddenly remembered that there was no one whom she would rather be with and no place she would rather be then here, with Mitchell, and she snuggled closer, and…
He felt the shift in her position and the easing of her posture.
“Think I can go aboard and see it up close someday?” This, of course, totally canceling all thought of going to any home other than her home in Seagate, New York.
“Sure. They allow visitors on Sundays, and some weekend when I have liberty I’ll take you aboard. Besides, I want to show you off to the guys.”
Smiling her first smile in almost fifteen hours, “You mean I might even get to see you in uniform one of these days?”
Her smile warming him, “Trust me, honey, you’re going to get sick of seeing me in that uniform! The blues are dry cleaned, but the whites and denims get washed, and ironed.”
“Something I didn’t tell you… I’m not so hot at ironing.”
“You’ll learn, or if you don’t, I’ll keep doing them.”
Put at ease, the light chatter brought them back to each other
“Marcie, I hate it when you’re mad at me.” His eyes becoming moist, “I can’t imagine life without you now and I’m so sorry that things…”
“I know, Mitchie.” Always surprised by this visible show of emotion, Marsha always responded. “I’m sorry, too. Don’t worry,” she said sincerely, “whatever your problem is, we’ll work it out.”
Crossing back, they drove to Manhattan, and bought each other a surprise Christmas gift at Macy’s.
They waited in line to see a matinee of the movie “Oklahoma” at Radio City Music Hall.
They had a pizza after the movie.
They got caught up in the Times Square, day-before-Christmas rush.
They went home.