Daphine Glenn Robinson
There's no pain like betrayal from someone you love. For months Crystal's husband, Donnie, has worked more hours than he’s ever worked. He’s been distant and intimacy has come to a screeching halt. The more she prods him for information, the more he shuts her down, literally. She’s sure that her prayers will be answered and things between them and their ten-year marriage will get better. Unhappily married-itis runs in the family and Stephen, Donnie’s older brother, is more than happy to entertain Crystal instead of his own wife. Despite the vows they made to their spouses, they find more in common with each other. Read the story of a wife, two brothers, and two secrets.
“Woman! Do you want to enjoy the fruits of my labor or not?” Crystal knew her husband was being sarcastic by trying to sound as if he were speaking in Biblical terms. His voice resonated through the telephone.
Donnie slammed his pen down on the desktop, and then lowered his voice. He kicked his office door shut while still sitting in his high back leather desk chair. “If I didn’t work, you’d be complaining, and…” He took a deep breath then paused. “I can’t win. I just can’t win.”
Who does he think he’s talking to like this, and did he just say ‘woman’ to me?
“What do you want from me, Crystal? This is getting to be too much. Every night, you call hounding me about what time I’m coming home. I’m not a schoolteacher like you with set hours. You know that. I’m telling you, I don’t know how much more I can take! I’m already stressed and work is off the chain. My clients are getting more demanding, and when I am home, I need some peace. If I didn’t work as hard as I do, you wouldn’t be able to have the type of life you have. No, we don’t have a palace, but we’re comfortable, and it’s certainly better than what most of the people we know have. Please, just back up off a brother!”
Crystal couldn’t believe her husband of the last ten years was speaking to her like this. Everyone in his office must have heard what he was saying to her and probably even thought she was a nagging wife.
“Donnie, I’m really not trying to aggravate you. I was just calling to see when you were coming home. I was hoping you could go with me to the dinner fellowship at church tonight. Since you haven’t been with me all year, I thought this might be a good social function to go to.” Crystal continued in a single breath, “People ask about you all the time, and frankly, I’m tired of going everywhere and doing every thing like I’m single. I need my husband, that’s all. If I’d known asking you if you’d be able to spend some time with your wife was a crime, I wouldn’t have called you.” She softened her position not wanting to sound as if she were in an attack mode. “I really am thankful for you and all we have. I really am.”
“Yeah, whatever.” Click.
He hung up on me. What in the world? Hearing the dial tone, and having to press the talk button without saying good-bye left a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. Crystal sat back in her chair and looked towards the ceiling. Where is the man I married? Lord, only you know. Maybe he’s having a bad day. But recently, every day has been a bad day.
Immediately, the telephone rang.
“Hey. I’m not trying to be nosy, but are you ok?” asked her brother-in-law, Stephen.
“So you heard?”
“Yep, and so did several other people. I was walking down the hall when he kicked his office door. I’ve already given little brother my two cents worth. In his defense, it has been pretty hectic around here today, but that was not called for.”
“Thanks Stephen. What would I do without you?”
“I’ve often wondered myself!” he said chuckling slightly. Stephen’s voice was comforting to Crystal.
“How long do you think you’ll be there tonight?”
“I’m about to leave in a few minutes. Donnie and Amanda are working on a proposal right now. I’m not sure how much longer they’ll be.”
“Oh. Well, I guess I’ll see him whenever.”
“Do you want me to bring you something to eat?”
“No, I’m fine. I’m going to sauté some shrimp and rice in the Chinese wok we rarely use.”
“Sounds good, want some company?” Stephen asked hoping she’d oblige.
“I think you’d better go home to your own wife tonight.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know how that goes.”
“Stephen, be good now.”
“Yeah right. I think I’ll go to Applebee’s for a minute. I need to unwind before going home. If you need anything, you know how to reach me.”
“Ok, have a good evening.”
Once again, Crystal hung up the phone. This time it was a more positive conversation. Stephen had a way of making her feel at ease, unlike his brother who’d recently turned into someone she could no longer recognize.
...There were two of everything, two plates, two mugs, two juice glasses, and bread plates. Suddenly, Crystal felt as if ten devils had jumped on her. She was furious at Stephen for being with that heifer. Her imagination went wild, and she asked herself a lot questions. Did he get with her last night? Was this a chance meeting? Was he scheming from the very beginning with me? Did Miss Shaker just invite herself to have breakfast with him, or was this the end of their evening together? Crystal couldn’t help feeling like she had been played by a “playa.”