November 20, 2006
The man, holding a bowl of peanuts in one hand and a glass of beer in the other, walked
into his living room, and without looking at the woman seated on the couch, sat down cross legged on the floor between the couch and the television and watched at the tv. The man’s name is Rob. He is thirty seven years old, has medium length curly back hair that wraps around his ears and sticks out over his shirt collar, has no facial hair, has a body that is long and thick, as if his muscles are now covered by a layer of fat. He is wearing baggy blue lounge pants that drag on the floor under his feet, white socks and a grey long sleeve t-shirt with NC State Medical School printed on the front and he has glasses. The woman seated on the couch, who is his wife, is younger than him by ten years, has hair that is blonde, short and straight, a body that is thin but taught, as if her muscles are not covered by a layer of fat, is wearing blue jeans, a grey sweatshirt with the same printing on the front as is on her husband’s t-shirt, and her feet are bare. Her name is Gina and she hadn’t watched him enter the room but now, noticing that he chose to sit on the
floor by himself instead of on the couch with her, turned her attention towards him.
“Why are you sitting on the floor? There’s plenty of room up here,” she asked him. She patted the cushion next to her. “Come sit up here with me, we’ll keep each other warm.”
Rob turned around and looked at her. “I’m not cold” he replied while turning his head forward and again watching at the tv. Gina shook her head slowly and sighed gently, her eyes narrowing. “Neither am I asshole, that’s not the point. Maybe I just wanted to be close with my husband” she said through clenched teeth.
She sounded exasperated, like she couldn’t understand why it was a big deal for him to watch television on the couch with her instead of on the floor by himself. She leaned a little forward, lifted herself up onto her knees, pulled up her feet and curled them underneath her and grabbed a pillow and placed it on her lap.
Rob noticed the change in his wife’s tone and again turned his head around, but this time not fully around but quickly glanced over his shoulder at his wife then turned back to face the television. “Don’t call me an asshole.” His tone remained calm and even, like he was used to talking patiently to impatient people.
“Well, don’t act like an asshole and I won’t call you an asshole.” Gina’s tone had
returned to the tone she used when she first spoke. Before she felt like her husband was ignoring her.
Rob turned again and this time facing his wife as he talked to her. “Look, you know that
every Wednesday I watch tv at nine. This is the only show I like to watch. I never watch anything except this show. It’s on now, so can I please watch it in peace?” Rob paused, looking at Gina, then turned again to look at the tv. The familiar sudden sound of a heavy metal door slamming shut sounded, signaling that the show was beginning. It was Wednesday night, and every Wednesday night Paul watched the mildly entertaining but mostly boring adventures of a fictional group people lost on an island somewhere in the middle of the ocean. He had been doing this for two years now, only without the pestering. And now he watched it in Boise, Idaho instead of in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Gina spoke again, still gritting her teeth and now also holding her breath, “I know that this is the only show you like to watch, and I know you watch it every Wednesday night. You’ve been watching it every Wednesday for two years. And for two years you’ve watched it sitting on the floor and for two years I’ve laid on the floor with you. I thought maybe now you’d like to watch it sitting on the couch with your wife in your arms.”
It was Paul’s turn to shake his head in disgust. He knew that she was right. That for two
years she did indeed lay on the floor with her head resting on his thighs while he sat tuned into the program and little else. Occasionally he’d run his hands through her hair, but that was before when it was long. “Well why don’t you come lay on the floor like you usually do?”
“It’s cold on the floor, I want to lay on the couch.”
“Fine, if it will shut you up, whatever,” he said, while grabbing his peanuts and beer
and beginning to stand up.
Gina wasn’t satisfied with this sudden change of direction. “Don’t make me force you, you don’t have to if you don’t want to for Christ sakes. I’m just your wife after all. And don’t tell me to shut-up. You don’t say that to the person you’re married to.”
Rob ignored her, walked over to the couch, sat on the opposite side of it as Gina, set his
peanuts and beer on the coffee table that was on the floor in front of the couch, leaned to his left against the arm rest, stretched out his legs and rested his feet on the top of the table, then held out his right arm in his wife’s direction, like he was opening up something and inviting her into it. Gina didn’t hesitate in sliding over, putting the pillow down on his stomach and chest and laying down with her head on top on the pillow.
“There, happy?” Rob asked her, straightening up in his seat so that her head shifted to a position more on his thighs than on his stomach and sounding no less aggravated even though he up.
“You like her, don’t you?”
Rob grabbed the glass and held it in his hand, resting them both on Gina’s hip. “What?”
“Her,” she repeated, nodding her head at the tv, “you like her, don’t you?”
Rob looked from Gina to the tv. The woman was stooped over and rinsing a mass of long
dark brown hair which hung down mostly covering her equally dark face. “What do you mean?” he replied, beginning to squirm.
“You like her, she’s the reason you watch this show.”
“You mean her? She’s all right I guess. I watch this show because I like it. ”
“Whatever. You like her, I can feel it.”
“Feel what?” Rob put emphasis on `what,’ sounding indignant
“This,” Gina said, tapping the pillow with the side of her head, “I can feel it through the pillow.”
“I don’t have a hard-on, you’re imagining things.” Gina lifted her head and looked directly into Rob’s face, then stuck her right hand underneath the pillow.
“Oh? What do you call that?” she asked, not shifting her gaze.
Rob shifted uncomfortably and pushed her hand away, not returning her look. “Maybe
I’m hard because my wife is laying on top of me. Have you thought of that?”
Gina’s eyes widened into a look of disbelief, “That’s for me then? That’s what you’re
“It’s not for anyone. Just drop it.”
“Fine. I’m going to bed.” Gina stood up abruptly and walked purposefully out of the
room. Rob took a drink of his beer and turned back to the television. “Great, the show’s over now. I hope your happy.” But Gina didn’t hear him, she was already half way down the hall towards their bedroom.
Rob grabbed the remote control from the table. `Tow what’ll I do” he whispered to himself as he flicked through the channels. Not finding anything to watch, Rob turned off the tv, sat in quiet of the living room and wondered if he should go directly to bed or wait. He thought back to last week when a similar scene played out, only without the jealousy.
He had sat down on the floor. Gina was on the couch flipping through a magazine. She had also asked him why he sat on the floor instead with her, but that time his answer of that was where he always sat while he watched didn’t start a fight. Was Gina trying to tell me something this time, he asked himself. What the hell is going on with her, he also wondered. Then he thought of what she said about the girl on the show. Was that really the reason he watched it, was it because of her? She’s pretty, and young and hot but so is Gina.
Then he thought of that night’s episode, with the girl in her underwear taking a bath; her full head of long brown hair dripping water over her barely clothed tight little body, and it made him think back to the day after he and Gina first arrived in Boise. He had gone to the hospital for new employee orientation, expecting that Gina would be at home unpacking. When he got home he saw that she had gone out and had her hair bleached blonde and cut down so that it was barely an inch long. That morning her hair was a
dark brown color, thick and curly and stretching out halfway down her back. He asked her why she cut it and all he got was a quick `time for a change.’ This was three months ago and she had kept it that way, no matter how many times he asked her to grow it back.
Rob had got so lost in thought he didn’t realize how warm he had gotten, and he noticed
he was getting hard again. He started to rub it at first over his clothes then as it got harder he reached under his pants and rubbed it again. He was thinking about Gina with her long brown hair and pulling on it up and down and up and down, imagining her gorgeous tan brown face half hidden by her wet stringy hair and he kept pulling on it faster and faster and faster, breathing louder and louder and still thinking about Gina then she was on the beach at the waters edge rinsing her hair then she held up head shaking it back and forth like she was in slow motion. Drops of water sprayed from her face then suddenly she looked up and over at Rob and it wasn’t Gina but the girl from the show looking right at him, she was talking to him saying `Will you come for me Rob’ and he did.
A few seconds went by, Rob trying to catch his breath, still holding it though it was no
longer hard. He opened his eyes, saw the mess he had made and tried to remember who was it that he saw right before he came, but before he had time to figure out which one it was the floor creaked. He looked up and saw Gina’s furious figure standing at the entrance to the room. Her teeth were clenched, her fingers curled into fists, arms at her sides straight and tense with her body weight leaning forward on the balls of her feet.
“What the fuck are you doing?” The anger he heard in her voice unfroze him. He pulled up his pants and wiped his hands on his pant legs. “Urn, nothing.” His face was burning hot and turning red and he looked away, too scared to meet his wife’s glare.
“Didn’t look like nothing to me.” She was now holding up her fists in front of her,
squeezing them so hard they were turning white. “You mother fucker. I knew you only watched that show for her. You fucking asshole, this whole fucking time you’ve been thinking about her. That’s why you told me to get off of you, so you could be alone to think about her and fuck yourself in peace.”
“No, that’s not it. I don’t know how this happened. I’m sitting here thinking about you and coming to bed, then I started to picture you when your hair was still long. I got an erection and didn’t want to bother you, so…”
“Bother me? You thought I’d be bothered by my husband wanting to make love to me?”
“Well you were asleep and went to bed angry and why did you have to go and cut your
hair anyway?” With this last exhortation Rob’s courage started to return. He looked up and glared back at Gina. He had wanted to ask her this but couldn’t ever bring himself to do it. “You knew I loved you hair when it was long like that. Why would you go and cut it without asking me?” Gina gasped like she had been punched in the stomach.
“Ask you? Ask you? I didn’t ask you for the same reason you didn’t ask me before deciding we were going to move out here. You liked my hair? Well I liked living in North Carolina. Ask you if I can cut my hair you fucking prick, mother fucker fucking bastard. I knew I should have never quit med school and marry you. Fuck. I knew, I knew it, I knew it.” Gina was visibly shaking from the force of her outburst, her head was down, tears ran down her cheeks.
Rob paused, unable to decide on how to respond. There were two ways he could go. Ask her why then did she marry you and risk making it worse, or comfort her, say he was sorry and he would make things right. But before he made up his mind Gina raised her head, and like she could read his mind, answered for him. “Because I love you that’s why. And the way I was raised was to always support and follow and take care of the people you love, even if things end up not exactly the way you wanted them to, that’s why.”
“I’m sorry” was all Rob could manage to say in response to his wife’s emotional outpour. “Well, we’ll see who’s sorry next week.”
“Next week, what do you mean?”
“Tonight was the last episode before `Lost’ goes on hiatus and won’t be on again until
“What do you mean?”
“I mean the show won’t be on for three months, that’s what I mean.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“I didn’t think so.”