I totally get why he left me. Why would you buy a tacky, ill fitting pair of polyester rayon pants when pairs of cool, breathable linen pants are just a few display racks over? Why would you spend your Saturday nights at home watching cooking competitions on television when you could enjoy food for real at a nearby restaurant? And why would you settle down in a factory dependent city of seventy-five thousand when there’s a great big beautiful planet to explore? I was just another average person to him, living an average boring life. He wanted more.
Like so many other people, he too started out as average and for the longest time it looked as though he was fine with that. He had an average job that he hated just as much as the average person hates their job. He lived in an average house, drove an average car, and on average took the type of vacation the average person takes every few years.
He seemed content to have an average wife as well. I thought I was doing him a favour by sticking to the schedule that I did: out the door each morning at 8:45, home at 5:15, dinner on the table by 6:15, Bingo with the girls on Saturday afternoon, grocery shopping and housework on Sunday, sex once or twice a week, plus steak for dinner every time his birthday and our anniversary rolled around. It’s scary how unpredictable life can be, so I had wanted to create a sense of stability in at least one aspect of his life.
“Do you ever think about getting out of the rat race?” he asked me one day.
“What rat race?” I asked in return. “We can go anywhere we want in this city in fifteen minutes or less.”
“That’s the problem,” he said. “It’s like we’re all trudging our way through the same short maze everyday, and for what? A tiny piece of cheese. It’s not even fancy cheese, it’s a tasteless mild cheddar some big corporation manufactures in bulk. No one dares to go a different route through that maze, or even skip the maze altogether because we’ve been trained to see that cheese as life’s greatest reward. We’re all supposed to want cheese, even those who are lactose intolerant. But what if someone doesn’t want cheese? What if someone wants samosa for dinner?”
“I have no idea what that is, or even if any of the restaurants here in town serve it,” I said to him, unsure of what point he was trying to make. Did he want me to find a recipe for samosa? It sounded kind of weird. Besides, what’s wrong with cheese?
“I bet I could eat samosa to my heart’s content in India,” he then said.
A month later I came home to find a note saying that it was over between us and to not try to find him. He was on his way to India. After that, he planned to check out Africa.. After that, Thailand. After that he wasn’t sure, but he was sure of one thing: living a life of resigned acceptance was no longer acceptable to him. He then wished me luck in finding the deal of the week, because he had left his note on a Thursday and he knew that I always went through the weekly sales flyers on Thursday evening.
I hated him at that moment. Not because he had left me, but because he was right about my Thursday night routine. “I only go through those flyers to save you money!” I shouted towards the ceiling in case his plane happened to being flying overhead at that moment and he would somehow hear me. But then I wondered if maybe I went through those flyers for me, because saving money is what you’re supposed to do. It’s safe. That made me hate him even more.
He’s now somewhere in India. I’m on my way to Wal-Mart to save on antacids. Something has to change.