Friday, October 7, 2011

For The Good Times

He couldn't believe it was over. They had been married for twenty years, had two wonderful children and seemingly lived a good life together. Sure there were times they argued, didn't everyone? But they never went to bed angry. Finances were never really good until some of the projects he started took root. Suddenly, they didn't have to live pay check to paycheck. They weren't rich but it sure felt like it. They could  go out to eat, take in a few shows and have an occasional vacation. No they weren't rich but at times in comparison to what they had it sure felt like it. They laughed, made love and lived what he felt was the good life. Then one day, out of the blue, she goes into the room where he was watching a ball game on television and tells him, Max, I don't really know how to tell you this so I am just going to say it, I don't love you anymore and I'm not sure I ever did.". His first reaction was to laugh because he thought she was kidding, but then he noticed she wasn't laughing. She was dead serious. He was dumbfounded and couldn't utter a sound as she turned and left the room. That was just the beginning.

Over the next year and a half he tried everything to get things back together again but the more he tried the more distant she became until she left their bedroom and slept in the basement. She kept changing her reasons why after twenty some odd years she wanted them to lead separate lives. There didn't seem to be any other guy but she kept going out over the weekends with her girl friends hitting local bars. She was becoming a cougar and he believed if there was really no one else she must be cracking up, menopause madness or a complete mental breakdown. She became indifferent to her children. When she wanted to stay out late she didn't care if he was home or not she was going out late. Perhaps she knew he wouldn't leave his kids to fend for themselves but it looked like she just didn't care. The only thing she seemed to care about was herself and the hell with everyone else. There was no compromise to be had. Divorce was the only option and it seemed if she could wreck him financially she would without even batting an eyelash. She would fight for custody because it meant more money for child support. She was relentless. The divorce proceedings seemed to put the last knife into whatever they had left from their years of marriage and loving almost turning into hate. Finally they came to an agreement and the divorce was finalized.

The last night she was to stay in their house was terrible. It was like standing watch at someone's death bed and hearing the death rattle becoming noisier and noisier. They barely looked at each other knowing this was the last time they could even think of themselves as husband and wife. She went downstairs to finish packing her clothes and called a cab. He retained custody of the kids as they chose to stay with him over her as they were old enough to realize this situation was brought about by her without any consideration as to how it would all affect them. They were in their rooms silently crying for they too felt the heaviness of death around them, the death of a family. He had on Music Choice, the Country and Western station, playing Ray Price's
"For The Good Times". She came up from the basement just as it was starting to play.

Don't look so sad
I know it's over
But life goes on
And this old world
Will keep on turning
Let's just be glad
We had some time to spend together
There's no need to watch the bridges
That we're burning

Lay your head,
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blowing soft, against the window
And make believe you love me,
One more time,
For the good times

I'll get along
You'll find another
And I'll be here
If you should find,
You ever need me
Don't say a word 
About tomorrow, or forever
There'll be time enough for sadness
When you leave me

Lay your head
Upon my pillow
Hold your warm and tender body
Close to mine
Hear the whisper of the raindrops
Blowing soft against the window
And make believe you love me
One more time
For the good times

As the lyrics softly flooded the room they took a minute to look at each other and remember the good times for there were good times. Then a horn blew, the taxi was outside. She picked up her suitcase, looked around for the last time and caught a glimpse of her children peeking out from their bedroom doors. Her husband's eyes were pleading. The horn from the taxi blew again and without a word she turned and left. The tears in everyone's eyes were for the good times. 
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