Tempers flared inside the Harrison household. Between the shoes and other inanimate objects that went hurling across the room, words of distrust and hatred bellowed from the mouth of Iris, a woman scorned and betrayed by her husband, Gus.

           Gus and Iris had been married for twenty-three years. Not all those years were bad, however. Their marriage had been a blissful one for the first twenty years or so, but then things began to go awry.

           Gus had been given a promotion at work which to him meant more money and less stress, but to Iris, it meant less time spent at home. He was now responsible for a team of advertising agents and had to oversee every client case that they handled. This sometimes required him to work longer hours or go out of town to convince a potential client to sway to their side and sign with his agency.

           Iris excepted his frequent absences in the beginning, though after the first year, it became tiresome, and she wanted her husband back. She would beg and plead for Gus to take a vacation or cut back his hours, but Gus continued to insist that his extra work would give them a happier future. Iris did not see things his way.

           Things began to go sour with their marriage in the middle of the second year of his new position. Gus came home one evening earlier than usual. Iris was excited to see her husband. She thought that he was finally seeing things her way, and he came home early on the perfect day too, their anniversary. Of all the selfless things Gus could have done, this is what made Iris the happiest.

           Iris ran to him and embraced him tightly, then kissed his almost forcefully on the lips. Gus was taken aback by the unusual reaction to his coming home. Her mood changed quickly, however, when Gus told her that he needed to go pack some clothes because he was heading out of town for a few days to coax a new possible client into signing. One of his agents was having difficulty closing the deal, so it was up to Gus to convince him.

           Pushing past his wife, Gus hurried down the hall of their ranch-style home, grabbed a suitcase from the closet and began to pack. Iris stood dumbfounded for a moment until his words had sunk in. She then stormed down the hall toward the bedroom and began to flail her arms madly as she began to rant.

           “Gus Jeffery Harrison! Have you forgotten what today is? You have some nerve coming in here on our anniversary and telling me that you are leaving town! You need to call your boss right now and insist that he finds someone else to go on this trip.”

           Gus had completely forgotten that it was their anniversary, but he was committed to this trip now and had to fly out in a couple hours. He tried to smooth things over with his wife.

           “Iris, honey, please forgive me for the last-minute trip. I know it is our anniversary, and I will make it up to you when I get back, okay?”

           “It won’t be our anniversary three days from now, Gus. It is our anniversary today. I thought you came home early so we could go out and celebrate. Boy, was I wrong? You are the most insensitive man I have ever met. You better call up your boss and tell him right this minute that you are not going, Gus!”

           “And what exactly am I supposed to tell him, Iris? My flight leaves soon. There is no time to find a replacement.”

           “You tell him that you can’t go because I told you so! That’s what you say. Simple.”

           “Iris, Mister Kellerman is not going to except that excuse that my wife said I can’t go. I would have to be severely injured to miss this flight.”

           Iris looked around the room then walked toward the closet. She leaned over and picked up one shoe after another and began to throw them in her husband’s direction. Gus ducked and deflected most of the projectiles, though one pair of three-inch heels landed square against the bridge of his nose. Gus grabbed at his throbbing proboscis and yelled for her to stop.

           Iris ran out of things to throw anyway. She felt concerned about assaulting her husband, but she did not want to give him the satisfaction of seeing her remorse.

           “There,” she shouted. “Now you can tell your boss that you are injured and cannot go on this trip.”

           “You might have broken my nose, Iris, but that does not mean I can’t fly out,” Gus retorted.

           Iris scanned the room for another option when her eyes became focused on a canvas bag at the back of the room. She unzipped the bag, reached in, and pulled an aluminum bat from Gus’s baseball equipment.

           Gus became panicked and said, “Wait a minute, Iris! What do you plan on doing with that?”

           Iris had a sinister grin upon her face as she slowly inched her way closer, backing Gus into the corner of the bedroom. Gus fell backwards onto the bed as Iris took a swing in his direction, just missing his arm.

           “If injuring you is the only way I can keep you from going on this trip, then so be it,” she replied.

           Gus rolled off the opposite side of the bed and struggled to get back to his feet, but his nerves made his knees weak and unsteady. He attempted to rush past his crazed wife, but she was too quick for him, challenging him with another swing. This one nearly made contact with his head. Gus feared for his safety now. He had never seen Iris act so violently before.

           Iris let out a loud cackle as she charged toward Gus once again. She raised the bat high above her head and prepared to beat down her husband that now sat crouched upon the floor with his hands in a protective pose above his face. Iris gazed into his worrisome eyes and stopped. She finally realized that what she was doing was wrong, and she drop the bat to the floor behind her.

           Falling to her knees, Iris begged for her husband’s forgiveness. Once the fear of a sudden demise left his thoughts, Gus, too felt the pain in his soulmate’s eyes. Iris sat with her head lowered, sobbing uncontrollably. Gus reached out and took her hands in his and suggested that they try to get a second ticket for his flight, and they could fly there together and maybe extend the stay for a few extra days without work getting in the way.

           Iris continued to cry, but her tears were now from joy instead of pain. She accepted her husband’s compromise. He told her to start packing while he called to see if any seats were available on the plane.

           They had to settle for a later flight, but that gave them a little more time to prepare for the trip. It had been a few years since they went away together, and both were excited. Iris gave Gus his space for the first couple days while he attempted to coerce the client, then they spent the rest of the trip taking in the sights and enjoying each other’s company.

           It may have not been the best anniversary that they ever celebrated, but it was certainly the most memorable.

May 15, 2021 16:04

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