Thursday, April 18, 2013
Jimmy Phoenix - 11 - Happy Families
Zoe couldn't sleep next to Jimmy. The sense of dread she felt overwhelmed her, and she sneaked out and back to her hard single bed, away from her family.
When Jimmy awoke, it took a while for the sleep to leave him, and to realise that something had happened with Zoe last night. He looked over to where she should have been and saw that it was cold.
"Thank Maxis for that." he muttered under his breath. "What a mistake to make."
He lay there trying to work out what he was going to say, what they could do now. He could hear the boys' alarm go off and them starting their pre-school bantering.
"BOYS! I want you in and out of the Bathroom and dressed in 20 minutes! Or there's trouble!" He shouted through the wall at them.
Five minutes later, there'd been no movement in the bathroom - and Jimmy was ready to take action.
The boys looked up from their dart game, and scooted into the bathroom as soon as they saw their father's glowering look. He was short and grumpy with them over breakfast as well. Zoe hadn't said anything to him at all as she lay the breakfast down, but she started to seethe as the boys got more and more stunned by their father's angry mood.
Jimmy clenched his fists, and bit his tongue as sharp words at both the boys came pouring out of his mouth, as if he had no control over his tongue.
As soon as the boys had gotten onto the bus, Zoe turned on Joe.
"DON'T YOU DARE!" She yelled at him, "Don't you dare take out your frustrations at me on them. You're hurting them for how you feel about me. That's not fair on them!"
She followed him up the stairs. "Not so fast Jimmy. We had better have this out, right now. I don't know why you have to be mean to the boys this morning - but I'm not going to stand for it. You can be as mean as you like to me. But don't you dare hurt those boys."
"That's supposed to be your prerogative is it? You can hurt us as much as you like, but I've got to be cool, and calm at all times. You're a piece of work Zoe. And I've had about enough of you."
"Have you now? Well you know, I'm not over-flowing with tolerance for you either, right now. You've been a rotten husband, and I'm not going to stand for you being a rotten father as well."
"Rotten Husband? Rotten Husband? You whore! I wasn't the one who was sleeping around with other women. You couldn't wait for the kids to get out of the house before you brought your tart into this house. You didn't even care if anyone found out - you just got slutty in the middle of the shopping centre! Don't talk to me about being a rotten spouse. You've won the championship on that."
"And as for that trick you played on me last night - seducing me to get back into my bed. Why for Maxis sake did you think it would work on me? I told you from the beginning that I wasn't going to take you back. Do you think all that soppy stuff you put on for my benefit was going to make me change my mind? You may be a good woo-hoo but I will never, never take you back. You're a no good whore and Stacey was right."
Zoe felt every word slap into her, and she reeled at it.
"You Fool! I didn't put on anything for your benefit. Don't you realise how miserable I've been? Of course I'd be crying when I thought no-one was around. If you'd had an ounce of politeness you wouldn't have come into my room without knocking. What makes you think I want to get back with you? Perish the thought - that's not what I want from you! And you damn well kissed me first!"
Zoe poked at him "And as for seduction - that's your trick! you were the one "Oh Zoe I've missed you. You're the one making it into a huge deal. Was I in your damn bed this morning? It was a mistake - and one I'm not going to make again."
"Damn right you're not!" Jimmy poked back. "You're out of this house today."
"Fine - lets screw up the boys some more." Zoe exploded, "Do you know why I was upset yesterday? Because they were getting teased about our situation, and they'd gotten into a fight over being told their parents were divorcing. So what are you going to tell the boys? Huh? That we are divorcing?"
Jimmy stepped back. "No. We're not divorcing." A cold chill settled down his spine at the thought. "No. definitely not."
"Why not?" Zoe stepped towards him. "You clearly can't stand me. This isn't doing the boys any good."
"They need their mother. What I feel about you is not the issue."
"Yes it is - what makes you think that our relationship isn't affecting them? You jerk! They need us to sort this out, if they're ever going to have a happy childhood. Isn't that what you want for them?"
Jimmy turned on his heels, and stalked out of the house.
Three days later...
"I can't believe I agreed to this." Jimmy grumbled as they entered the reception area of the counselor. "I can't believe that you agreed to this."
Zoe said nothing, but she knew that if they weren't going to end up turning their boys into delinquents, then something had to be done. Even if it meant she had to move out. Her heart dropped at that thought, but she was determined that she would do whatever the boys needed.
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Phoenix. I'm Dr Bill." The older man stretched out his hand, and shook both Jimmy's and Zoe's. "If it's ok with you, let's not bother about surnames and formalities."
He showed them to seats, and sat down in his chair next to them.
"OK. So who wants to start. Lets start with talking about why you're here."
"Zoe. How about you start?" Bill gave one of his encouraging grins.
"That's Dr. Bill."
"Sure, Dr Bill. We're here because we need to deal with our relationship - so we don't hurt our kids anymore than I have so far." Zoe didn't look at Jimmy, as she said it. "Most of this is my fault Dr Bill. I cheated on my husband."
"Um. Why? Why did I cheat on him?" Zoe looked at the floor. "I don't know - it just happened. And then before I knew what was happening, it had destroyed my marriage." Zoe quickly ran down what had happened since Jimmy had caught her with Dina.
Jimmy listened, and watched the floor. He couldn't fault Zoe's summary of what happened but he felt left out.
"Jimmy - tell me your side to the story." Dr Bill turned to Jimmy.
"She's covered it. What more is there to tell?" Jimmy didn't look at Dr Bill.
"How about how you feel?" Dr Bill suggested.
Jimmy said nothing, as the seconds turned into minutes and the minutes turned into millstones around his neck.
Dr Bill stood up. Jimmy and Zoe automatically stood up.
"I mean it. It's time to talk or it's time to walk. I'm getting Zoe's cold summary, and your silence. Neither of you have said a word about what's going on with your feelings." Dr Bill's intense stare impaled them one at a time.
"Homework - Just one question to answer - do you love each other?"
Zoe looked at Jimmy, then at Dr Bill. "What has that got to do with it? He won't forgive me, and I just want to do whatever I need to, to stop the kids from hurting from my mistake."
"Zoe. Don't worry about what it's got to do with it. Just go home, and think and answer the question." Zoe shook Dr Bill's hand. "OK - see you next week."
Jimmy started to follow Zoe as she walked towards the door. "No. Jimmy - can I talk to you before you go?"
"Um. Sure. Zoe - I'll meet you back at the car."
Dr Bill waited until Zoe left. "OK. You need to decide if you even want to be here."
"I'm here aren't I?" Jimmy felt stung. "I've sat here listening to your claptrap for the whole hour. And I'm the one paying for this."
"No. Sitting like a dummy letting your wife do all the talking is not being here. If you want this to work, then you need to be upfront. And that means letting all that anger out that's just seething in you right now. Before it gets taken out on the kids."
"I'd never hurt my kids - They're my life."
"You're hurting them now. You're hurting their mother. If you can't see how sad and lost she is, then you're blind. And if you can't see how that hurts your boys, then you're more than blind. If you can't cope with her in the house - then move her out. But all this shilly-shallying on your part is dicking everyone around."
Jimmy stopped. "But I don't want her to move out."
"Then for Maxis' sake man, work out what your problem is, and find some way of dealing with her. And you might want to think about WHY you don't want her to move out."
Tears sprung into Jimmy's eyes. He mopped them away hurriedly. "OK. OK."
Dr Bill shook his hand. "I'll see you next week. And while you're thinking about all of that, you might want to consider why Zoe turned to you when she was miserable that night."
"What do you mean?" Jimmy asked.
"Nope - it's your question. I'm not answering it for you. See you next week."
Jimmy walked out on his own, with Dr. Bill's words ringing in his ears.
He thought about Zoe, miserable and lost - while he made her live in limbo. He thought about the boys.
"Well. It looks like I've got me some questions to answer."
Jimmy walked down the path to the car, and watched Zoe waiting for him.
"What am I going to do with you?" he thought at her.