I slammed the car door and shoved the keys into the ignition. I have to get out of here before I do something stupid. I held onto the steering wheel as I tried to get my mind in order. The dark car was a quiet comfort from the lighted chaos inside that apartment.
I love my wife but why does she hound me all the time? Doesn’t she know that I’m trying? Doesn’t she care that I work my tail off just to make ends meet? Doesn’t she care that she drives me crazy? That she’s driving me away?
Driving me away…
That would be so simple. Just drive away and never look back. Yeah, then she would have to find someone else to nag. Who would take care of her then? Who would raise that kid that she’s carrying? She can’t do it by herself. She lets me know that everyday.
Taking the keys from the ignition, I stepped out into the crisp night air. I better just take a walk and let off some steam. I’d probably just get a ticket or something which would just add to my day. I hate days like this.
The night air was frigid but needed. I walked quickly past the corner bar, not giving it a second glance. That life is gone. This one may be too. What on earth have I done to you, God? Are you there? Can you hear me?
My head hurts. My heart hurts. My hands are shaking. I’m just upset. Or maybe I’m just cold. Why do we fight? Why can’t we just get along like we used to. And now… we’re bringing a baby into this mess? I just don’t know. Sure, son, I love your mother but I can’t stand to be around her! No, that will never work. That’s not fair. How can this be fixed now? Marriage counseling… did that. Pastoral guidance… did that. Parental advice… did that. Lawyers… haven’t tried that, yet.
God, why won’t you help me? Why don’t you answer?
I stop to rest on a bus bench. The night lingers on as well as my pain. Tomorrow I will go see a lawyer. I clasp my head in my hands, lie down on the bench and cry like a baby. Time passes slowly. What seems like hours couldn’t have been more than minutes. I regain my composure and begin the cold walk home.
In my anger, I hadn’t realized that I walked so far out of my neighborhood. I hadn’t intended on going this far. In fact, I hadn’t intended on coming here at all. This is not good. Oh, God! This is not good!
Okay, I’m just taking a walk, nothing more than that, nothing to be nervous about, except that a person taking a walk in this neighborhood, at this hour, could only mean one thing to the cops, but there’s far worse things here than the cops. I have to get out of here.
My legs are heavy. My heart pounds in my chest. My lungs fill with fire as I run down the dark street toward home. Fear grips me as I try to escape the cities north side undetected, well known for violence, drugs and street gangs. I grew up in this city. I know the boundaries. We stay where we belong, they stay where they belong.
In the distance, a flicker of hope, the swirling lights of police cars. They can help me. My salvation is just a few yards away. With the onset of hope comes the uncanny ability to run faster and think clearer. They will understand a man that has had a stupid and selfish fight with his wife and stomped out of the house like a ten year old child. Sure, they will.
God, if you get me out of this… I’m going to hug them when I get there… then I’m going to tell my wife I’m sorry.
Sudden pain strikes my head and darkness overtakes me.
I wake to the sight of wires and tubes. My wife is holding my hand. I find complete comfort in that. She smiles down at me as tears fill her eyes. “God answered my prayers,” she whispers. “He brought you back to me.”
Suddenly, I remember everything.
“Honey, God answered my prayer, too. I’m sorry.” Tears filled my eyes and joy filled my heart. “Can you find me a cop? I owe him a hug.”