Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Meet Beth

Introducing Beth, the fourth member of "The Lunch Club." Dan's refusal to face the reality of the job market has led to yet another fight.

 “When are you going to stop being mad at me—and everything else?”
“What makes you think I’m angry?” His tone was level, but his eyes told another story.

“You are. And you know what? I don’t want to live like this anymore.”

After a long silence, Dan asked, “What are you going to do?”

“Oh God, I don’t know. Get a job, like Bobbi said. At least I’d be out of the house.”

Dan snorted. “Like getting a job would be easy. Haven’t you seen how hard I’ve been trying? Your degree is in library science and you haven’t worked since we moved to North Carolina. Good luck with that.”

Beth drew a long breath. “First of all, I’d be realistic. I’ll search for something available, like a sales clerk or receptionist. And I won’t make the mistake of turning my nose up at a job because it doesn’t have the cachet of say, a plant manager.”

“So you think some perverted kind of snobbery is my problem? I won’t take available jobs because they’re below my dignity?” He spoke without inflection, which frightened her a little.

“That’s what I think, yes.”

“So—I should go into the nearest pizza place with a sign out front saying they need drivers and go in and apply?”

“Why not?”

“You know what they pay?” He sounded both amused and incredulous.

The danger past, she relaxed and essayed a joke. “No, but I bet you’d get lots of free pizza.”

When Dan didn’t reply, Beth stood. “I’m going to bed now.” She left without waiting for him to follow.

After a few minutes, she heard him pad down the hallway. She continued dabbing on her night cream. Dan’s face loomed behind her in the mirror, like a rising moon. He watched her for a few minutes, his face devoid of expression as an egg, and then backed out, leaving her alone.

She hadn’t expected an apology—Dan never apologized—but he could at least have offered a civil “Good night,” Beth thought. She felt her eyes sting with tears. It had been so long since he had kissed her goodnight or even offered a hug. Sex wasn’t even on the horizon.

She picked up her brush drew the plastic bristles through her hair, hoping to prevent the inevitable snarls that appeared during the night. She tried to understand Dan’s reaction to her revelation that she had enjoyed her night out. He not only acted like he didn’t care, he acted like he would have been happy if she said she was leaving him. Are you going to see him again? A few months ago, the statement would have been ludicrous. Now, it showed how far they’d drifted apart.

Maybe he was tired of her. Maybe she was the symbol of his failure, and he hated looking at her, reminded of the man he’d been. Feeling old, ugly and unloved, she threw the brush down on the sink edge, not caring if the handle cracked.


  1. Beautiful, Sandy. I was right there with her and felt her sorrow. I say she holds a pillow over his face until he apologizes!

  2. Beth does have this thought--but darn, she loves the guy.

  3. You can draw your characters with very few words - and it works! Readers can empathize with Beth, but also wonder what's going on in her husband's mind. We need to find this out!!!