I look for Mercedes everywhere. Downstairs, in the yard, out on walks. When I do find her, she lies prone on the bed, popping sushi and bonbons into her mouth. She isn’t dressed and her hair could use a brush.
“Where have you been?” I demand, not my best approach.
“Here and there.”
Mercedes doesn’t look as though she regrets her decision to keep a low, very low profile.
“You’re supposed to help me,” I say. “In fact, I depend on you.”
More sushi. Mercedes chews before answering.
“That is your problem, not mine. You haven’t been doing much to help yourself or to inspire me.”
“What do you mean?” I feel defensive.
“Did you ever sit down to the computer and give me a chance?”
“I did. There was that day I took out the marketing binder. I even edited a story.”
Mercedes waves a dismissive hand. The look on her face is scornful.
“What was there in that to inspire me? Seeing that old story and feeling embarrassed that you ever sent it out? The idea wasn’t bad but the execution. Maybe that’s the right word. You killed my good idea.”
I take a defensive step backward.
“That’s so unfair,” I say. “I was inexperienced and I thought it was my best.”
Mercedes snorts. I wish she wasn’t so direct in her expressions. There is truth in what she says but there are different ways of saying it.
“It was so cold last week. I just wanted to hibernate.” The excuse runs out of my mouth before I can stop it.
“That’s a good time to hunker down and give me a chance,” says Mercedes. “What did you do?”
“I did that marketing.”
“Three submissions,” says Mercedes.
I ignore her.
“I wrote a couple of book reviews for my blog. The one edit was major and it takes time to find markets. Reading is a kind of professional development.”
“I suppose watching tv is professional development.” Mercedes examines the last bonbon before she puts it into her mouth.
“Television and reading are escapes,” says Mercedes.
“Not always. I read On Writing by Stephen King. It’s one of the best writing books there is.”
“Humphhhh, how many times have you read that particular book?”
“Three or maybe four,” I say. “And Stephen King reads all the time.”
“He also writes all the time,” Mercedes points out. “As I recall he wrote when he was drunk and stoned. So what is your excuse?”
“But I need your help…” My voice sounds whiny in my own ears.
“And I need yours,” says Mercedes. “Do you think it’s easy coming up with ideas? Even when you’re making one of your feeble efforts, it isn’t easy. When I do come up with a good idea, you don’t get at it. You procrastinate and think about it and overthink and before you know it, you’re watching tv. Honest to God, I am just tired of you. And I’m tired of this entire relationship. I think I need to move on.”
“OMG! Mercedes. Don’t do that. I can change. I promise. I will sit down to the computer every day. I’ll do it first thing in the morning. Didn’t I come to talk to you first thing this morning? I can do it. I know I can. Plllleeeeasse…give me one more chance.”
Mercedes stretches and gives me a look that lets me know she’s heard it all before. Then I see a flash of sympathy in her eyes. She finishes her sushi.
“One more chance,” she says. “But this is it and I’m serious. If you don’t change, I’m done and out of here. Now leave me alone. I have things to think about.”
“Thank you, Mercedes. Thank you.” I am too profuse with my gratitude but I can’t help it. I will change. I can.
I go down the hall to my office and lift the lid on my laptop.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.