Concerts Can Bring People Back Together

Submitted into Contest #81 in response to: Write about two people reconnecting after a rough patch in their relationship.... view prompt

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Romance Urban Fantasy

Unfortunately, plenty of marriages end in divorce. Nathan and Alejandra didn’t think they would be one of those. They became acquainted not too long after Alejandra and her family immigrated from Mexico. She enrolled in his high school but it wasn’t until college that they really hit it off. Taking it past casual flirtation to a committed relationship. It seemed like a classic pairing, him a football player for the university and she a cheerleader and a scholar. She never let him or her extracurricular activities get in the way of her school work. She didn’t know it at the time but that unrelenting drive would one day get in the way of their relationship that they thought would last forever. 

Soon after college, Nathan popped the marriage question. Alejandra had been dropping hints for a while that she wanted him to ask. If he hadn’t done it, she was planning on doing it herself in a few months at the time. He produced a beautiful heart cut diamond ring with a silver band; she had told him she doesn’t really care for gold. Something he became aware of when he tried to give her a gold chain necklace when they were freshmen. She took it anyways and never wore it which slightly annoyed him but he didn’t want to push it then.

Seven months later they had a beautiful wedding. Alejandra was able to convince her mother that she wouldn’t have her wedding in the church. Although Rosario protested the entire time the wedding preparations were made nevertheless. Alejandra’s favorite color was orange and she tried to integrate that into the decorations and did so beautifully with her friends. Come the day of the wedding she walked down the aisle holding orange tulips as her bouquet and wearing a dress that made everyone fawn over her beauty. Nathan dressed in a classic suit but with a splash of orange with his tie and the corsage. Not his favorite color but he only cared about making Alejandra happy. He fell in love with her even more deeply that day. 

Their marriage started out pretty well, in a cookie-cutter style. Their passion for each other was something that their friends were envious of. As you would expect of a happy couple, they were expecting a child not even one year into their marriage. Alejandra insisted she did her job as long as she could until she needed to take maternity leave. Her career was something she vowed to never give up, one that came with its challenges. Marketing was not easy but she had shown early on to her superiors her talent. Nathan was kind of a different story, he hated his desk job but kept working through the pregnancy when Alejandra had to take that leave. 

While they were waiting for the child to come, a girl they found out. Alejandra grew tired of Nathan’s complaints. One night she had had enough and couldn’t avoid conflict any longer. 

“If I have to hear you complain about your job one more time.”

“You’ll what?”

“I don’t know, I just can’t stand it anymore Nathan. You need to either just deal with it or soon look for a better job after the kid is born.”

“Why would I quit, it’s the best paying job I’ve ever had?”

“Because I can see it is killing you. You drink all night when you come home. You never used to have more than one beer a week before this.”

“So, now you want to blame me for drinking just because you can’t drink while you’re pregnant.”

“That is not what I am saying at all,” said Alejandra as she scrunched up her face at him.

“Stop looking at me like that, I’m sorry I was out of line.”

“Yes, you were.”

He stormed off to bed that time, holding onto his poorly put together cocktail. 

“Seriously? You always do this, storm off when you can’t handle the fights.”

“I’m going to bed, you are welcome to join me.”

“I will come when I am ready.”

Later that night they slept together but they slept on opposite sides, didn’t even cuddle like they always had. This was the beginning of a doomed relationship. 

They welcomed a beautiful daughter and named her Yolanda after Nathan’s beloved aunt. A name that Alejandra didn’t really like but she decided to go with it to avoid a fight over the name of their child. After the birth of Yolanda, Nathan grew more distant from Alejandra and even became more unapproachable. Which made no sense to Alejandra because it was never like this until the last year. He drank, he didn’t do much in terms of helping with the baby. They fought about this almost every night. 

“Why don’t you just respect that I provide for this family and that’s enough?”

“It’s not enough Nathan, you know that. You’re just being lazy and think I should take all the responsibility but she is your kid too.”

“I just don’t have time.”

“Yes you do, if you would just care enough to do so.”

“I don’t need this right now.”

“Fine, retreat-like you always do.”

Once again they had a night of not cuddling, Alejandra even went and slept on the couch an hour after laying in bed wide awake. She was to go back to work the next day and she was afraid as to what would happen with Nathan moving forward.

The next morning, she got ready for work and got Yolanda ready to be babysat. Nathan barely spoke a word and was out the door to his job shortly after waking up. Alejandra was vexed at him but she was not surprised, he didn’t seem to care about his family anymore. 

Her first day back went great, she felt as if she never left. Alejandra had her working groove back and her coworkers could tell. Giving her praise and asking all about her baby girl. Of which she was happy to talk all about as she went about her day. Trying to keep her problems with her husband out of her mind. She got home that night and relented to Nathan about her first day back hoping that he would be happy for her. Instead, he greeted her with more hostility, 

“Well, it’s nice that you had a great day because I had another crap day at work of doing more than my fair share. You should just be home and take care of the house and Yolanda like a good wife.”

“What? Nathan your old school thinking is getting on my nerves. You have half the responsibility with Yolanda and you know that.”

“I have been making more than my fair share these last couple of months while you have been on leave. You should show me more respect and listen to me for once.”

“I do listen to you Nathan when you complain all night about your so-called hard life. It’s time you get out of your pathetic cycle of anger and stop taking it out on me.”

He grabbed an IPA out of the fridge and told her he didn’t want to be apart of this argument anymore. Then Yolanda started crying and Nathan just passed her by making Alejandra have to attend to her. It went on like this for two years. The two of them hating each other and just going about their working life. While Alejandra did her best to balance her work life with her home life. Until three years later Alejandra gave Nathan an ultimatum.

“I have enough of this. I have put up with you being like this to us for too long.”

“What does that even mean?”

“You know what I mean. What have we been fighting about since before Yolanda was born? You’re inability to be responsible and to take out your frustrations on us.”

“If you had just put your career on hold and take over those responsibilities, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

Alejandra passed back and forth down the well lit blue-walled hallway. After a moment of thinking, she said this,

“Well, Nathan let me put it this way so your drunken brain can comprehend what I am saying to you. You either take better care of your family and yourself. While taking responsibility in this family and showing your love or you can walk out that door and never come back.”

Nathan took a drink of his beer and briefly took in the words Alejandra just spoke and abruptly said,

“Fine, I guess I’m gone.”

Alejandra had tears run down her face and watched him put on his jacket and walk out, where he was going she had no idea. She went over to Yoland and told her it was okay. She was young but she would come to understand. He came back the next day, of which was a weekend, and started packing some stuff. He was going to go stay with a buddy from college. As he packed his stuff up, Alejandra sat on the couch perplexed about how it had come to this. Soon any reminisce of him was gone and they had settled on a divorce. In which Alejandra took full custody because Nathan didn’t want any custody of Yolanda. 

Alejandra worked hard and took care of Yolanda with the help of her mother who had retired before the divorce. Rosario wanted to lend a hand because of her love for them and with her husband long dead, she was happy to move in. When she moved in she told Alejandra,

“Well I didn’t think he was a bad man but I was obviously wrong.”

“I don’t want to talk about it, mama.”

Rosario put her hand on Alejandra’s to comfort her. 

Totally against what Alejandra would ever expect, several years ago when Yolanda was ten, she saw Nathan. She had left Yolanda with her mother and went to a concert of a band she loved. When she took her seat, Nathan sat down next to her. 

“Alejandra?”

“Nathan, what are you doing here and next to me?”

“I got a ticket and this is my seat.”

Alejandra scoffed and then looked at him. Noticing he looked good, well-groomed, and less tired than when she last saw him. Nathan looked at her, seeing how radiant she still looked. He had felt regret for years once his anger had passed. He wanted so many times to go and fix it but he didn’t think she would take him back. Silence followed for some time, they were both early and just sitting there unsure of what to say to one another. Finally, Nathan spoke up,

“How’s Yolanda?”

“She’s doing great Nathan.”

“Good, good. You know I think of her and you every day.”

“Really, I thought you would’ve moved on.”

“I haven’t been able to bring myself to dating again.”

“After all this time?”

“Yes.” He looked down in shame.

“Well, I have tried myself but I have come up dry.”

Nathan thought about what she said and before he could say anything, the concert started. The music was incredible, they were always better live. After it ended and after plenty of encores, the lights came back on in the concert hall. After both of them applauded Nathan leaned over and said to Alejandra as he breathed in her perfume,

“Alejandra, please give me another chance. I know I don’t really deserve it but I swear I can do it.”

“I don’t know, you are asking a lot, Yolanda doesn’t even remember what you look like.”

“That is sad but I’m not surprised,” Nathan put his balding head in his hands.

“If you are willing and you promise to care more this time, I will let you come by once for a dinner and see how it goes.”

“Thank you, Alejandra, you won’t regret this. I have changed, I have not had a single drink in years.”

“I hope you can just follow through on your promises. I wouldn’t have accepted this but I think about you every day too.”

Nathan kissed her forehead and they set a date for him to come by and eat dinner. Rosario advised against it and protested even more thoroughly than when Alejandra wanted a wedding that didn’t involve the church. Alejandra was going to give him a chance, if he was able to be the kind of person he promised to be, Yolanda would have a father in her life again. She put on one of her best dresses and did her best to look good. Thinking that she no longer had her youthful beauty. The doorbell rang and she jumped in her skin. She gathered herself and opened the door to see Nathan holding a bouquet of orange tulips and had a big goofy smile on his face. He handed them to her as he blushed. She noticed how his tanned skin lit up when he did that, something she missed. 

“You look amazing Alejandra.” He meant it too, that dress looked incredible on her and to him, her beauty never faded. 

“Come in.”

“It smells great, what are we having?”

“Tortas.”

“Oh, you know how much I love your tortas.”

“Why do you think I made them?”

“Where’s your mom?”

“She is out on a date of her own.” Alejandra cocked her head at this with a smile. 

“I am shocked but I hope it works out for her.” He was silently thanking that Rosario wasn’t there to scold him. 

“Dad?” Yolanda looked at him with a vulnerable excitement look on her face.

“Yes, I’m your dad.” Nathan tried to not tear up and looked at Yolanda thinking how he could’ve ever walked out on her. 

Yolanda shook her head and kept looking at him, not knowing what to say.

“This looks great, can’t wait to eat your delicious food.”

Alejandra started serving the food and they had a nice meal. Afterward, Alejandra and Nathan spoke.

“You were great with her.”

“Really, I wasn’t sure?”

Alejandra laughed and said, “I could see you shaking.”

“I was nervous, I still am actually,” explained Nathan as he rubbed his hand anxiously. 

“Well, calm down, you did well.”

“I’m glad, so where do we go from here?”

“Slow down there, this was a success but you are going to have to prove that you can come back into our lives.”

“I’m willing to put in the effort, that’s a promise.”

Alejandra was proud of him but held in her mind all that he had been in the past. She found it hard to reconcile what he was like before they got married when things were so good. Before their divorce and to now when Nathan was able to be welcomed back into her life. She was pleasantly surprised, it was like their love had been sparked again. Instead of punishing him verbally for how he had destroyed their marriage before she decided to make things work and appreciate what they had now. Their divorce was soon thrown to the wayside and they were remarried. 

February 15, 2021 05:01

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