Hello this week I was working on Dialogue in the SSM classroom. Let me tell you this was challenging and envigorating. Here is my assignment. Enjoy and if you want to, leave your thoughts on it.
He’s standing wearing only jeans. He left the top button undone, she hates looking at the tightness of the stomach she works so hard at keeping slim on her own body. In the doorway, he’s steadying himself, arms stretched, hands pressed to both sides of the frame. Still, he calls out like a spoiled child, pleading his defense.
Louise, no one is blaming you of any wrong doing. I’m only curious as how many hours you need to give this new boss every week. I remember you stating; “It’s policy. No overtime at The Firm”.
The woman, neatly dressed. Form fitted in a navy blue two-piece skirt suit stands facing him in the hall outside the apartment, both arms falling to her sides for seconds before she looks up in a controlled fury. Summoning the words, she is obviously tired of repeating to come out.
I told you weeks ago when I started working. Mr. Powers picked me out of the Legal-Assistant Pool of nine to work on this high-profile case. You knew this was coming. You’ll be busy with your hockey anyway.
She bends her head, wanting to go in under his held up arms. He resists, teasing her, then lowering them down to keep her from coming in.
Oh come on now, let me in so I can get my lunch bag and head on to work. I’m late and I still want a divorce Hank.
Whoa honey, slow down now. You know how I hate the divorce word.
He holds her by both her shoulders. He smiles at her with only one corner of his mouth lifting, he peers down, in her eyes. She looks down, at least escaping momentarily. His height and built given him the advantage.
I think I remember you telling me about some overtime, he says carefully picking a bunch of her neatly coiffed hair, to let it fall, unruly on her shoulder. She flinches.
You should know I can’t hear anything while I’m watching hockey.
He presses his lips to her neck in a half-kiss. She doesn’t move. She feels the pressure of his hands he’s measuring just so looking to meet her eyes, while she turns her head to one side and the other. He tries moving her out of the doorway and into the apartment by pushing his body against hers. But she backs outside again, just as the elevator bell rings and a couple come out, stopping to look at them. Louise fixes her hair. They give the impression of a couple who can’t get enough of each other. The neighbors nod, making their way down the hall. The surprise gave Louise time enough to put a distance between Hank and herself. Still, she stays and keeps arguing. Angry at the way he almost won her over.
Sex won’t make me change my mind Hank. I’m done with you ignoring me. Hockey is only one of our many issues…
Okay, okay, settle down, not so loud he cuts in. He tries to quiet her down. Afraid he’s made her cross. Here let me get your lunch bag and we can talk this over when you get home this afternoon. I’ll cook you your favorite dinner.
He goes in and comes out with the bag. Hands it to her. He leans in waiting for her to give an answer.
She waits a few seconds before she speaks again.
I, I can’t tonight, I have to work overtime.
What, what for? he says. The words barely come out. This is not what he had been imagining her response would be.
He feels cornered strangely wearing the disadvantage he’s feeling. It doesn’t sit well with him. His body is fighting not to go at her, he knows to slip his hands in his pockets which helps him calm down. He fights inwards a battle he’s not used to. His biceps can’t save him now. He slumps down, his back sliding down the door. All he can find are words now. They need to hurt, cut even. Instill fear like a hard pinch to wake her up. But he changes his mind and simply asks her if she can make something up to tell her boss and come home early.
Can’t you just tell your boss you need to be home early?
No. Hank, I love my work. As a matter of fact, my work has nothing to do with the fact that we are not compatible anymore. I don’t want us to go round and round anymore. It’s useless. You know it is. I know it is. Let’s get this divorce done and over with.
He looks up at her slowly registering changes in his wife. He thought he had her cornered a few minutes ago. He could have sworn, she felt it also, but something in her didn’t give in. He then noticed her beautifully sculpted black silk covered legs. The new clothes. She used to dress so unassumingly down for him. He remember having convinced her she look sleazy because of her curves. All I want is to protect you from dirty looks.
Now, in this navy blue jacket and skirt, she looked sophisticated, well-educated, and anything but sleazy. Even with the tug he’d put in her flat ironed hair, she was still stunning.
Someone else was coaching her into this woman-of-the-world look and persona. Someone else was telling her just how beautiful, powerful and smart she was. Someone else…
He understood that this was a battle he would lose. She had been warning him for so long about this moment. The moment when he’d understand that he’d lost her for good. The moment when she would give her heart to someone else. He asked the obvious question to her.
Are you seeing someone else?
Yes Hank, I am.
Okay then. You got a lawyer?
Yes, she dug in her shoulder bag and took out a card and handed it to him and left. He took the card in his hand and pushed it in his back pocket. He waited until he heard the elevator bell ring making sure she had made it safely to the downstairs lobby before he took a few steps to peek at her walking away. When he saw her getting in a big white limousine. He realized that was her someone else.
He would find later on that same day that her someone else was Justin Powers.
Peggy Elms, writer.