My desk was covered with papers and picture frames of my family. One from my wedding day, another family photo of my wife, son and I that was taken a few months ago, and then a single one of my my two year old son on his first birthday. Anyone who took a look at my desk would assume that my life was perfect, aside from a picture perfect family I had an amazing job at my dad’s company, I had it all.
I met my wife years ago when we were stupid and young, but madly in love. Never once have I questioned how I felt about her. She was my oxygen back then, my reason for breathing and fighting to build a good life for myself, and for her. The unfortunate truth is that sometimes people grow apart and that’s exactly what happened with Alexandra and I.
Do I love her? Of course. She’s the mother of my only child and we have a long history together, but I wouldn’t say that we’re as happy as we used to be at one time.
I took marriage seriously, I only ever wanted to get married once in my life which is part of the reason that I’ve fought so hard to keep this marriage together, the other part of the reason is Thomas, no child should have to grow up with their parents apart.
Working was far more difficult when I had a lot on my mind, Alexandra’s birthday was today and we had family coming over to celebrate. I would have to paint on my usual fake smile and mingle with our family for the entire evening.
I wouldn’t say that I’m miserable in this life, just unhappy and searching for a meaning. Wanting something more was making it more difficult to try to be happy in my current situation so I constantly attempted to push that need away.
My office phone rang, catching my attention and I answered, “Yes, Janet?”
“Mr. Reid, your wife is on line 1,” My secretary informed me.
“Wonderful, thank you,” I replied before ending the call with Janet and selecting line 1, “Hey, sweetheart.”
Alexandra responded instantly, “Matthew, where are you? You were supposed to finish work early today, we have company coming over.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m getting ready to leave the office now,” I began to pick up the papers scattered on my desk, placing them into a pile, “I lost track of time and I’ve been flooded with work here today.”
I could hear the irritation in her voice but she managed to keep her composure, “Just get here, please. Thomas has been cranky all day and I really just need you here to help tonight.”
“Alex, I’m coming,” I told her again, “I’ll see you soon.”
As I hung up the phone, I stood from my chair. I enjoyed work more than I should, my reason being that I was away from having to pretend. Someone can only pretend for so long before the facade crumbles around their feet.
I arrived home with a dozen roses for Alexandra, as I pulled into the driveway I could see that our guests had already arrived and I silently scolded myself for not being faster. It wasn’t Alexandra who I had to worry about, it was my mother. My parents are uptight, as much as I hated to admit it, it was the truth.
When I walked into the house, I could hear chatter coming from what I assumed was the main living area. I heard my sister and parents, along with Alexandra’s. Taking a few steps slowly, I pushed my messy hair back and entered the room, seeing everyone’s attention turn to me.
“There he is,” My younger sister Amelia said from Alex’s side, “I was beginning to thing you weren’t going to show.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, this is his wife’s birthday, he has to be here,” My mother added, “Matthew, honey. How was work?”
I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, “Busy.”
As I walked over to Alexandra, I pecked her lips gently and handed her the flowers. An enticing giggle escaped her lips as she held onto the roses, “They’re beautiful, Matthew. Thank you.”
“Happy Birthday,” I added, moving my arm around her waist while facing everyone else, “Where’s my boy?”
Deborah, Alexandra’s mother pointed to the ceiling, “He’s upstairs trying on a new outfit that Brad bought for him.”
Brad is Alexandra’s brother and I hated that guy more than I should. If fancy pants had a face it would be him. We never hit it off and I’m pretty sure the guy didn’t like me either. I could care less, though.
“In other news, I have women coming to be interviewed tomorrow,” Alexandra took a sip from her wine glass and smiled at everyone, “We’re looking for a nanny for Thomas so I can focus more on my work at the office rather than at home.”
I hated the idea. I hadn’t agreed to it but Alexandra had went ahead and done it herself, insisting that it was necessary. I didn’t want my child spending so much time with a stranger, it surely couldn’t do any good.
“I still don’t know why this is necessary,” I commented, unimpressed with her going ahead and telling everyone.
Alexandra turned her head to look at me and sighed heavily, “I told you, I need more me time, Matthew. You know how much I love my job and I just really want to be able to get back into the office atmosphere.”
I had practically begged Alexandra to be a stay at home mom, god knows we could afford everything with just my pay alone, but she loved working and I understood that. Her company had agreed to let her work from home, yet she still wasn’t happy with that compromise.
Now my son would be forced to spend every day with a random.
Before, we had Esther, a fifty somewhat woman who was a friend of someone Alexandra worked with. She was a certified childcare professional. Unfortunately, Esther moved away and that’s when we agreed that Alexandra would work from home, now we were back to this shit.
“I think it’s wonderful that you have such a headstrong woman, Matthew.” My dad praised Alexandra, he always admired her. If not for my father I probably wouldn’t have met Alex to begin with.
“Thank you, Henry.” Alexandra grinned from ear to ear, “Sweetheart, it’ll be fine. Thomas is a wonderful little boy and he gets along with everyone.”
“Not the point,” I muttered under my breath.
I didn’t wait for her to respond, instead, I went to the kitchen to distract myself. I mindlessly looked around the counter and in the fridge to keep myself busy.
I grabbed a beer from the fridge and popped the cap off, tipping the bottle back and taking a swig.
“You may wanna take it easy, we don’t need to getting wasted so early in the night,” Amelia smiled as she entered the kitchen.
I roughly set the bottle on the counter and sighed heavily, “Oddly enough, it helps.”
“I’m sure that it do, but it’s Alexandra’s birthday and Thomas will be down any second.”
Amelia was close with Alex, I may be her brother but I knew she would always defend Alex. It annoyed the fuck out of me but I learned to live with it.
“She doesn’t take what I say into consideration. I mean, we talked about this and since we didn’t agree we were supposed to discuss it again later. Now she has interviews set up tomorrow without my knowing?” I was firing myself up and it was frustrating. Being a father basically meant that I was there whenever Alexandra needed me, but she always made the final say, because she’s the mother.
Amelia placed her hand on my shoulder, offering me a gentle smile and surprisingly she didn’t begin to tell me how I was blowing things out of proportion. Instead, she just pulled me into a hug. I didn’t realize how badly I needed one until I had my little sister there, hugging me. It was a sense of relaxation. Sometimes people just need to feel like someone is there for them, even if no one is.
“Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet,” She finally spoke again, “I see where you’re coming from, I do. But maybe if both you and Alexandra try and see things from each others perspective, you would both understand each other a little more.”
I pulled away from her embrace and looked down at her with an eyebrow raised, “You are wise beyond your years, you know that?”
Amelia shrugged a shoulder slightly and snickered, “What can I say? I try. Plus, you never know the good things that will come out of this.”
“How can anything good come out of this?”
“Well, for starters, you and Alexandra can get more one on one time together whenever this new nanny is available to babysit?” Her suggestion made me sigh. Sometimes my sister was far too optimistic for her own good, “This could end up being really good for your marriage.”
What my marriage needed was a miracle, not a nanny.