Chopping Block

1 Apr

Arriving home from China, 27 hours from Shanghai to New York, I call Ann from the airport and hear the unmistakable lack of love in her voice. Since I’m broke, I take a shuttle bus into Manhattan and then another bus to North Jersey.

Surprisingly I don’t feel all that tired. I get as far as I can by bus and then call Ann again and she drives 40 minutes to pick me up. On the drive home I can see she’s trying not to unload too much gloom and doom, but eventually  it all comes out. Plumbing problems in the house, the brakes going on the RAV 4, bill collectors calling around the clock.

We get home around midnight and manage to share a few laughs. In bed, when I embrace her she freezes and tells me she can’t be affectionate while feeling this anxious about money. We talk, she admits she’s angry at me, and I tell her, “If we have a strong marriage, we’ll get through this together. If we shut down during a crisis, we’ve failed no matter what happens.”

She accuses me of placing screenwriting above everything else. I tell her she’s crazy – why would I work 60 hours a week for seven years at a job I didn’t like if it wasn’t for the family?

She asks, “What do you put above screenwriting?”

At that moment, I give her the only truthful answer in my heart: “Devon.”

She accuses me of being a dreamer and I’m reduced to saying, “I’m not giving up my dreams.” I tell her there are plenty of guys out there who can provide the security she needs and to go find one if that will make her happy.

She says, “I know there are.”

(2004)

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