Falling Dominoes

My eyes start to water and he brushes away my tears. He tells me what I need to hear, like he's reading my mind. By Natalie Marie Stefani Rice

Falling Dominoes

I'm not too sure exactly how I arrived at this place.

Have you ever woken up one morning, and thought, how the fuck did I get here?

Honestly, for us, it's been a series of unfortunate events. Like dominoes falling down.

Yeah, let's call them dominoes.

Lately, I just hate people. Somedays, we sit here for hours, and watch them roll by in their pumped up SUVs. Speeding by in their sports cars. Their motorcycles, motor homes and RVs...ugh, SMH. They use them for their vacations, I can live in one.

I live in less.

Over the winter a woman came into the place where I work rambling on to her friend, complaining about her basement flooding. She vented a bit before she placed her order, then paid with a hundred dollar bill, on a Tuesday. The small Midwestern town I live in, not many people have money come Tuesday. Most people are living paycheck to paycheck. It was mid January, she had money that day because she has money.

My job? Service with a smile. I'm paid to smile. As she complained about her moldy carpet needing to be replaced, I was biting at my lip, wondering, does she even know that she's talking to me? A basement?

I remember mine. My house, the basement. That was before the place on the lake. A time before with my son's father.

Before I ran away.

My son was young then, three years old, our first home. Our basement. It wasn't the best but it was ours. We didn't have more than we needed, but we had enough.

I created a playroom for him in our basement. I remember we all were really excited shopping for beanbags chairs and floor pillows. We even hung wrestling posters on the walls. He had his racetracks and his Tonka Trucks down there. When he got older he moved his PlayStations and XBox Systems down there. I brought down the stereo and a table for him to do homework on. I wonder too, if he remembers the basement. I wonder if he remembers his two dogs, his basketball hoop, my beautiful garden. If he remembers the big fenced in yard. The annual Mother's Day dinners, the pool, the parties. It hurts to remember. Even now he still shows resentment towards me, a deep rooted anger, but I know why. I understand this pain.

He was only ten when I gave up and I walked away.

Perhaps this is the place where my dominoes started to fall.

I remember listening to this woman's petty complaints. Listening, but not really listening. In my mind, I was trailing back to a time that was simpler for me. Even though it always ends hard, in my mind and my heart I still trail back. And for all of us; my son's father, my son, me it really ended hard.

I told the woman what I thought before I could catch myself saying it.

You know, I said louder than I honestly intended, do you know how lucky you are that you have a basement? Do you?

I don't think she knew quite how to take me. She looked at me and said, yes, you are probably right.

It's evening and we are just sitting here in the car. Thank God for this car. His sister was kind enough to let us use the car temporarily until we can "get our shit together." Another temporary bandaid, the tags expired seven years ago. Him with a suspended license, my license on restriction, no insurance. Thank God for this car. Oh, and I don't drive stick shift. Just a couple reasons I flip out when he drops me off, besides the fact that he never has a solid destination. He gets so pissed off if I ask where he's going to be, or even later when I ask where he's been.

We sit now, late evening, watching people. They stop here for various reasons. Truckers, travelers in cars, like I mentioned before, RVs, sports cars. They park, and jump out and they all do this ridiculous stretching thing. My husband calls it callisthenics. Some stop to use the restroom. To throw out trash, switch up drivers. The most questionable thing we see is when they arrive in separate cars, park one, then leave together. Only to return a few hours later to leave separately again. Mostly they come to buy snacks and cold drinks. I think to myself that it's 88 degrees. I would like a cold drink. I must have said it out loud because we both feverishly start to dig for change.

He adds up our change while I hold it in the palm of my hands like little nuggets of gold. He says out loud what we have, not enough he sighs. Its ok, I mumble, as I reach down for a penny on the floorboard of the car and toss to the pile. We come up short again for a pop, go figure. Not enough for nothing really. And without words, he reaches for the used up water bottle we have been sharing. He gets out of the car and goes inside to use the tap and fills it up for us.

I want to blame him. I want to scream and yell and shake him. I want to just get up and walk away, I honestly want to run. But it doesn't matter. It won't change things. I don't think that it would matter to him if I left. I think that it would relieve him in a sense. I certainly know screaming and blaming him won't give us back our stuff. All the stuff we lost, all the stuff he sold for pennies on the dollar, traded, pawned, all the stuff that been taken from us, stuff we left behind. Stuff we stuffed at friends barns. Friends garages. Friends?

No one can change this but us.

Lately, when we sleep, we wake up to birds chirping. I open my eyes so very slowly just to be sure I'm still in the same place I remembered to be. Some nights he will drive while I sleep, being "not legal" he's super careful. I hate waking up and he's gone. I hate waking up alone.

Some mornings I just hate waking up.

You gotta switch it up, he says. I wake up so fucking angry. I'm getting stress migraines every day now. At first I thought it was because I wasnt eating right. Then I blamed it on no caffeine. Then no chocolate, then lack of sleep. But it's stress. Stress.

The migraines hurt, they make my vision blurry. The light hurts my eyes, causing me to squint. And it just adds to all the other shit. Like icing on a birthday cake. The cherry on top of a sundae.

Ten years ago we were perfect, complete. We fell madly in love, but we were actually friends first. I remember stressing that fact that to people who were curious how we actually hooked up. He would say, I waited three and a half years to get with her. I would giggle and blush, people would smile, happy for us. We were happy for us. Us.

A simple story we would share is how he cooked our first meal together as a couple. We were staying in a dilapidated duplex we rented from a local slum lord. Complete with holes in the walls from previous tenants and a basement we dare not enter. The musty smell was enough to keep you away.

He prepared a beautiful steak dinner with sauteed vegetables; onions, mushrooms, greenbeans. It was amazing. He is an excellent cook. He spoiled me with many meals to come. When we had a kitchen I was truly blessed. He plated the steaks and vegetables and served us. We had a tall boy can of Bud Light to share. We kissed and I thanked him, complimented how lovely the meal looked. And he reached down for his fork and I did as well. And we both began to laugh hysterically. We have no knives, we both announced. Nothing at that moment could be funnier. We ended up putting the plates under foil and made our way across town to his nephew's house to borrow a knife. We came home later that evening and microwaved the meals, we shared the knife, and made love the rest of the night, until the morning sun came up. It was perfect then, complete. Beautiful.

We started out with nothing and funny how shit comes around full circle because we ended up with absolutely nothing. Nothing funny about it really.

It's now the month of May, ten years later. Unfortunately, now you will find us broken, totally ripped apart. Scattered into a million pieces, shattered like our dreams. I really didn't want want him to have to spend his birthday in the car.

I light our last cigarette, smoking only half and putting the piece left in the box.

We don't say much lately, not much to say. When we do, it mostly comes off as idle conversation, or bitter words carried by resentment. I'm frustrated, so damn frustrated.

He's angry too. We both are.

It was June 14, 2009. Our first Summer officially together, it was his birthday. He told me months prior to this that he never had his own birthday cake or even a birthday party.

Even as a kid? I found myself asking him, I remember being so curious about him. About his life, his childhood. His dreams. I listened to him for hours, we would stay up all night getting high, playing cards or dice, talking about everything and anything. Laughing, listening to music, he listened to my hopes, my disappointments, things I hadn't done yet, what I wanted to do. It was nice then. I thought we were happy.

No, not even as a kid, he said softly. Before the hostility, before the hollering and the bitter words, he was gentle with me, patient. Yeah, he was patient with me.

That year I threw him a big surprise party. He was very surprised. I bought a big custom made cake, complete with skulls and his name written across the top. We sang for him, drank, took lots of pictures. This was before the internet destroyed my marriage. He was happy, we both were then. I invited everyone we knew and some people that we only knew from the bar. All our friends came. We had lots of friends then. We talked about the party for years to come.

Eventually the party stops, less and less friends came around. Mostly when they needed some thing they couldn't find else where or on their own.

I'm tired of running for people I told him a million times.

But nothing I do can change what he is. What I am.

Hustlers, shakers, movers. Back then you could hand one of us a phone and we can find you basically whatever you needed. Or move whatever you had to get rid of. For a stretch there, we both were brilliant at it. But even that dwindled down. It's imperative you maintain the bar scene for that kinda of fast lifestyle to flow. And that scene got old for us. The drinking grew troublesome. Thank God, alcohol is no longer an issue. The drugs will always be there, I'm afraid. Some demons just won't go away and I will probably carry these bastards with me to my grave.

My husband? Yes, most definitely, but his demons are more vicious, they are never satisfied.

Back then, when both of our phones were pretty busy, we seemed always good; they call it holding. And now a days what comes around isn't in excess, probably because we can't afford it. Not enough people to hustle to now a days anyways. These young kids do their own running, which in the long run is better for us, less there for us. Only some of you that read this will relate, and that's okay. Some of you have already given up reading this. That's okay too.

If you knew us then you knew we were hustlers. Thinking back, I was naive, I guess, a term I have never used in reference to myself, but I really thought we were happy then. Life's volume was on low, and I couldn't hear the falling dominoes, but I'm certain now, they were beginning to slowly fall. But I wasn't listening, I didn't know how to listen then.

Now I hear.

The next car pulls in and the driver gets out to stretch. Inside the vehicle, the woman is complaining loudly to the driver, her husband obviously, about Toby. Who the fuck is Toby? I want to scream, shut the fuck up. Toby must be their dog, gotta be. There's no kid in the car. He still stretches, ignoring her, and simply walks to the restroom. She gets out of the car, lights up a smoke, and leashes a small Terrier. This must be Toby. She sets the dog on the ground and walks off in a different direction. The husband looks in both directions when he comes out of the bathroom and gets in the car, almost too quickly. As if to avoid any confrontation with her.

I'm thinking, what is he thinking, how does he just ignore her so blatantly? She returns, carrying the small dog and plops back into the car. Takes the leash off Toby. I watch as the eager dog climbs him and jumps to the back seat. Nice to meet you, Toby, I mumble out loud. My husband looks up at me, and says, huh? Nothing baby, nothing. Just thinking out loud. All you can hear at the rest stop, at that moment is her bitching as they drove away.

We had several pets over the course of ten years. The last two dogs, were our babies. The last two we never will forget.

I remember bitching about those two dogs. I complained about them all the time. I'd say, geez we couldn't fucking take care of one, who's idea was it to get two? They shit on the floor, they got into the garbage, they stink.

He really never did have much to say towards our last few months at the trailer on the lake. Did I mention we lost the trailer? We lost them dogs too. He misses them so much, they were his companions. I miss them too. When they first got away, we both felt so bad, we cried together for them, but now not as often. I hope they both are in happier homes. He will always regret losing those dogs. Me too. Regret.

I look over at him, finishing the last of our last cigarette. He extends his hand, offering it to me. No, thank you, I shake my head, no. Now I'm wondering if he loves me and how everything got so fucked up. My eyes start to water and he brushes away my tears. He tells me what I need to hear, like he's reading my mind. But still I wonder. I guess at this point, I will always wonder.

Don't be so fucking insecure, he bellows the next morning, as he takes me to work. Feeling less than fresh, after the morning ritual of washing up at a fucking public bathroom sink, I spout out, fuck off, as he is pulling away.

Always a lady, eh?

Happy? Seriously? No man, I don't know how to be happy. But I don't think I want to be happy.

Him dropping me off, homeless, leaves me very unhappy. I know he has no where to go. I know he will pull off some where and surf. Or maybe it's just not knowing where he will end up, feeling as lost as he is. Feeling as desperate at this point. Feeling like a complete failure not being able to get over the blasted obstacles that keep holding us down. Knowing he's so beaten trying to take care of both of us. Wondering if I wasn't here if his life would be easier. Wondering if I should just disappear. Wishing I could just disappear. So fucking lost. Wanting to go grab him and hold him and needing him to want the same, need the same. But I know he's too angry, so much damage. We are both so fucking beaten. I can barely breathe. All I do is cry. My crying aggravates him completely. He feels like he is the cause of this pain, this stress. But we both are to blame. Not just one. We are together, we need to fight together. Not fight each other. I think that when and if I leave, he will let me walk away. I believe this with my whole heart, that he won't stop me. Even though I may beg him to. He will simply just let me go. But the thought of this fucks me up. Just fucks me up. I want to kick and scream and take those dominoes and throw them across the fucking room. I want to stomp and punch and hit and destroy. I'm so fucking angry about everything. I am mad at everyone. So I cry.

I tell him constantly that I know what he will do while he is away from me. But in reality I am frustrated, angry, bitter, jealous, and probably a bit crazy. But you see, he crosses over into a whole different world when we're not together. This internet bullshit, his other life that he denies, but refuses to give up, the secret life he refuses to live without. I can't ask where he is, or where he's going. Where he's been is a problem too. He says he just doesn't know where he's going. But I do.

I think I know.

I see the emails he says don't exist, the files in his drive that I imagine. Some times I try to ignore it, most times I can't. Most times my mouth takes the lead, running to protect my heart.

His job? Yes, he works nights at a local fruit packaging plant. But he also is a scraper, he is usually all over, hunting. It drives me crazy.

One day it's going to catch up to you, I hear myself telling him. One of these days, one of these whores is gonna come knocking on the door. Then what will you do?

We are in the trailer, a couple years back, and it's cold outside. I remember putting on my snow boots, my coat, getting that damn deep-in-my gut feeling. I hate this feeling. My gut, my instinct, telling me some thing's going to happen. I sincerely believe in trusting your instincts. It was winter. I was cold. I was cleaning off the car, he didn't do that for me anymore. We had vehicles that we were financing then. We lost those vehicles, both within four months of each other.

Instinct, I tell you. I looked towards the trailer park entry, as if on queue, and this black car pulled in to the long drive. Our place was down towards the end. I tried to steady my eyes to focus on the driver. She was a red headed girl with wide eyes. Her music was loud for first thing morning, giving off the impression that she was much younger, but perhaps, It's just me getting old. She didn't expect to see me, but when she did her smile quickly left her face. She spun her car around as if she saw a ghost. By this time, he was already at the door, smiling, until he either saw me or saw her turning around. Angrily, I marched back in to ask him if I ruined his plans. I told him; I told you this would happen. Who the fuck was that? WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT RED HEADED WHORE?

He chose not to listen. He chose not to challenge me. I couldn't pentrate him. The louder I yelled the deeper inside he went. He really never came back out of the shell he created that day, like I crossed the line. I attacked his manhood. His ego, his pride.

Now, you see, I know.

He knows that I know. The disappointment from that point on becomes so apparent, so obvious. It becomes so freaking loud, people can hear the dominoes fall from across the lake.

We both are disappointed; him in himself and me in him. And I just can't stand myself any more, I can't stand him. What I have been saying for years, accusing him of, what he has always denied, was proven to be true that morning. Instinct.

I remember standing in my last kitchen, hollering to him, trying to get him to feel anything. To fight back. To fight for us. To feel remorse, to be sorry. I wanted him to beg me to stay. But he didn't. He didn't want to. I wanted him to tell me not to go. He sat quietly at the end our bed, nothing. Please, I cried, say something, damn it! He couldn't even look at me.

No answer. Nothing at all to say. He stares down at his hands. Frustrated, I stomp back and forth through that tiny trailer on the lake, loading my car with what would fit. I didn't know it then, but a year later we will lose our tiny place on the lake too. I had to leave that home twice.

The second time there was no return.

This is when my ego and self esteem shattered, when I started to feel insecure. Now there was a real person, not just juiced up emails from girls wanting to see if my husband wants to see their private pictures and videos. Or text messages from from Jessicas and Emilys that live five minutes away and want to know if my husband is interested in just a fuck. Not to mention the crazy call volume, numbers from all over, but never from no one in particular.

What the fuck, dude, for real? Who are these people calling? Telemarketers. Scams. Sabatoge. Not him. Who gets private messages that are sent to a file in Google Drive? No way, no how. I don't know how they got my number, he would argue back. There's a million people with the same name. Don't you know that? Well didn't you? Then he would say; you tell me who these numbers belong to. He would say it in such a tone I could barely stand anymore. Dominoes. Narcissistic tendencies; he steadily reverses the questions, it can be quite maddening. Who, Natalie, who do they belong to?

Today is another hot one. It's going to reach 91 degrees the dude on the radio announces. He's pulling in to the parking lot where I work to drop me off. You know I really do wish I could say my days start out nicely, but it's so hard. I tell myself to be nice, to try to not be nervous or pissy, but it's so hard. I know the lick, the drill, the way the day will go. I don't want to give him the leverage either; for it to be easier to do what it is he does. Easier because he's angry with me or we are arguing. It begins slowly, I usually start. So, where to after this? What's on today's agenda? Where you gonna be babe? You gonna answer if I call? Respond to my text? The air in the car begins to thicken, he begins to get frustrated, and I pissed. We leave each other angry and in silence.

He's working nights now. He's got a lot of time to explore and hunt, looking for scrap. Time to get himself deep into a world of hurt. I still toss the red head at him like hand grenades. No, she wasn't there for me dumb ass. Seriously, does she know you deny her? He peels out the gently used station wagon, we're borrowing from his sister. I think how stupid he looks, just cause it's stick, does not make it a sports car.

It's been three weeks now and we are in the month of June. The dominoes are so loud, I cover my ears to silence them.

His birthday is June 14th. I have no idea what we will do, I have no plans. Today is the 10th of June, it's a Sunday. I've cried three times today, I'm thinking. We pull into our final destination, the rest stop, It's about 11:30pm.

Thinking of the earlier part of the day, we stop out at his cousins house to grab a couple of showers. I went first. It was amazing. I have learned that certain things like this should not be taken for granted. We lived in a barn loft after we lost the trailer on the lake. The barn loft had no water, no bathroom, no kitchen. We were there for a few months, then we lost that too.

The water cascades down my back and I lose it. Feelings I've kept buried inside, anger that's been building up, all comes rushing in on me. And I cry. I cried for a long minute. And I know that he can hear me from her kitchen, he yet doesn't respond. I know it's because he honestly can care less. This pains me deeper. I wish I was dead. There is no light at the end of this. All I know is that the darkness just gets darker.

The second time I cried today was when he was dropping me off. Trying to recall the situation and I can't. But I was hurt again. All he could say was that I'm doing this to myself. It's right here in your fucking phone, I'm pointing now. So you want me to believe that I'm imagining these files in your drive, they are right here in black and white. More nasty trash letters stored in an uncommon place. And you can't it won't tell me where you are going to be. Sounds cruel mean, designed to infuriate me. My imagination, ok. Fuck that. Fuck you, don't come back for me, I say to him as I get out of the car. One day he will listen. One day he will hear too.

One day he won't come back.

The third time I cried that day, was when he picked me up from work. The dash board of the car had this gash across it. I asked him what happened. He immediately gets hostile, stating that he put a bucket in the seat. I hear myself saying, looks like high heels if you ask me. Yeah, that's what it's from, high heels, he says. She did it while I was pounding her.

I hate you so much, I muttered. Intentional pain. He does it on purpose. He wants me to hurt. To feel belittled. Words he choses to slowly kill me with. I feel my blood begin to boil. My blood pressure rise. When he says things like this, part of me knows that he's fucking with my head. The other part of me is screaming at me to wake up, grab your shit and run. We are toxic together. He knows this. I know this. Still I can't leave him. I'm still so in love with him. And when I ask him why he just won't let me go, he says it's because he's still in love with me too.

Ten years married, he still subscribes to dating sites. Fuck sites. I find confirmation emails in his phone from all kinds of sites. Thanking him and welcoming him, they just need him to take a quick second to verify the email address he provided is correct. It's not me, for the one hundredth time, he calmly states. But that's your photo, your birthday, your damn phone number. I go through the rigorous ritual of arguing back and forth that no one else has access to his email like he is saying. What could they possibly gain from sabotaging your life, I'd ask. I don't know, but it's not me damn it.

The other night while we were bickering over petty bullshit he said it. He admitted it. Honestly, I really don't fucking care. I don't give a fuck what you do. Wow, I thought. I need to process this. So I swallowed it and now I carry it. Some wounds are deep and they just don't heal. Somethings just don't get easier. Sometimes you are left with scars. I have alot of scars.

So you ask what happens from here? I don't know, we both respond at the same time. We look at each other and grin. We don't know exactly.

You tell us that we can't live like this much longer. We know. He's looking down at his hands. When we first got together we worked at a growing company that specialized in tomatoes and peppers. We worked together there for the first few years. We were happy for the most part. I remember that he would wake up with such pain in his hands. I would place one if his hands over my breast and massage it. If I woke up first, this is how I woke him. It was really cool then. Our love was real. It was kind, not at all mean spirited. Not at all filled with anger, jealousy and spite.

We had fun, sneaking kisses at work. He'd grab my ass when he would walk by. Send me love notes, pick me flowers from the greenhouses. I should have never taken that time for granted, but I did. I miss those days. Before the internet, before social media. That's when we first introduced porn into our sex life just for fun. I had no idea it would become a festering monster. I had no idea we were creating a beast. I really thought we were happy then, in fact I prefer to believe that we both were.

We were together all the time. He proposed in September of 2011. And we got married October 21, 2011. Don't do it, people said, it will ruin everything. No, not us, right babe? Nope not us, he'd reply.

Now I'm wondering if they had been right. Marriage made him meaner, angrier. Marriage made me more demanding, needier. More inquisitive.

Stop with all the fucking questions. You're doing this to yourself, I hear him telling me through gritted teeth. Years later, the monster is real. His other life he created is real. Tolerance. I just can not ignore this shit anymore.

How am I supposed to be? You won't tell me where you are going, I see this shit in your phone. And what? Have faith that you won't respond to them, that you will be loyal, even though just hours ago you told me you didn't give a fuck.

Stress, too much stress. It sheds dark clouds on what could be beautiful.

We pull in to the rest stop. It's cold tonight. I fall asleep first. He's out hunting. He discovered that some waste cans hold treasures. And on a good night we can cover a days smokes from a take. Combined with the scrap, it's not a bad hustle. I wake up about four am, alone, but covered with a thin throw. I'm still cold.

I shiver. Light up a smoke, look around. Sunday nights are busier that any other night here. People going home. Home.

Where are you, I'm thinking. I put my shoes on, prepare myself for the worst, and begin to look for him. The rest stop isn't real big, but there are two sides. He's not on the car side, nor the trucker side. I make my way to the welcoming center.

I listen first. I hear nothing but motors running. Motors gently running together to create a symphony of sorts; from cars, trucks, pop machines. I listen, then I softly call his name. Yes, he mumbles, I fell asleep again. He comes out about a half hour later, by that time I have fallen back to sleep. Alone.

I hate waking up alone. I hate waking up here. I hate waking up.

They pulled us over in the borrowed car, the feeling of dread washed over me. Oh no, I found myself repeating that about five or six times. He just looked at me and shook his head.

The first time this bandage came off it hurt like hell.

His sister took him to get the car back; Secretary of State, tow company. They were gone all day, hours. She spent $450 to the have the car title transfered to my husband's name and the tow fee from the impound. Technically you can not drive the vehicle off the impound lot without proper tags and insurance, but you can have it towed off. And that's what they did. Except it didn't happen when it was supposed to. The dominoes lay flat now taunting us.

So the day before his birthday he spent roaming the streets and I pulled an over night shift.

I was furious, I couldn't tell what he was. He's always so hard to read when it comes to me. Everyone else can see him clearly, I get the true self.

Some would say you're lucky.

Oh yeah, what if the true self is an asshole, just a miserable fuck?

The next morning was his birthday, not knowing exactly where he was the night before put me in a bit of a funk.

It does not help when the most of the time he spent was in a park across the way from the chic he dipped out with in October, two weeks before my birthday and anniversary weekend last year. When he wasn't in the park, he said he was at a buddies, who also lives around the corner from her.

Her, I hate that bitch.

She's everything I'm not, I guess. And the fact he said, she doesn't make me mad, just infuriates me more. Brunette, young, thin, slutty. Yeah, he likes them slutty and young.

Fuck, I could be her mother. She is another ten dollar dope whore I call them.

Our little town is full of them. You could get pussy here for a dime of dope and a pack of smokes. The sick part is they are young girls. Probably daughters of buddies of theirs. Go ahead, I dare you to. I dare you to ask her who's her daddy, or even better ask her what her last name is. I bet she really rocks your little fucked up world now.

He says I'm crazy, ok, I'm crazy.

Funny thing about the night before his birthday; Google Maps placed him at her house for three hours. Not in the park at that time, not at his friends at that time, but at her exact address. The tiny picture of the second house from the railroad tracks. At the address that is on her mailbox.

He said I was in the park. No, I'm tapping at the phone, the park is here, this says you were there. Think what ever you want to think, I don't give a fuck.

So, what do I think? Google Maps has been known to make mistakes, right? Right?

Oh, have I mentioned we haven't had sex, made love, fucked. Whatever you want to call it. Well, ok, once every couple weeks. I think twice since we have been in the car.

I'm so sexuality frustrated I could knock down a building. I'm angry he gets his time alone when he drops me off. I wish I had place I can go and get off at. So unfair. Probably what makes me so jealous, so mean. Honestly, who wants to play second fiddle to a video or a webcam and a hand job. I want to be the first one he gets off to. I want to be the one to make my husband of ten years cum.

When we were in the trailer, he would start with me, it seemed always like an hour before either one of us had to go to work. He wouldn't cum, and I'd be mad, knowing what would follow. Either him finishing when I left, or him pulling over to finish up when he left. I would bitch about why I couldn't get the best part. Who the fuck are you saving it for mother fucker?

I walk around like a shook up bottle of Cherry Coke, ready to burst.

I want my own, someone who wants to get off to me. Instead I'm pissed off, salty, horny and deprived.

The next day was his birthday, he scrapped while I spent the day in the hot car. It sucked. Now, I already know what you are thinking. We both have jobs that are at least thirty hours a week, him scrapping daily. We should be set right.

Why are we in the car? I'm not sure, yet. Maybe it's to write this. Maybe this is my ticket out. Tickets.

I mentioned before his license is suspended. He's got tickets in both counties, because of the impound, few more more to come now. Tickets and tickets. Hundreds and hundreds. I've got fines in one county. Not too bad.

I'm not sure I want to pay for a place. I've gotten used to the public toliets once I learned how to prop myself up on them. Skills, Napoleon Dynamite.

So, if I prop myself up with two hands in front of me, I can use the toliet without anything touching the seat but my hands, which we wash always anyways. Few other skills I hold sacred, I don't care to share right now, but here's a hint, always have an empty soft drink cup and lid in the car.

I have determined that writing this is the reason I have been put here in the car. I'm homeless now for a little over a month. What do I miss the most? Having a kitchen, my own bathroom, privacy.

I haven't had either of those for six months and holding.

It's been a very long six months. My dominoes are all over the floor, I haven't the energy to restack them. Nor the energy to kick them or throw them. Instead I sit and stare at them, piled up in a heap. And that's where they will stay. They have had their grand debut, their fifteen minutes of fame. And they will remain where they have fallen. My dominoes.

I want to go to Reno. My girlfriend works at a hotel casino there. She invited me before this volatile situation became so volatile. She invited me when she first sensed my unhappiness. She invited me when I first opened up to her about the internet bullshit.

See, many years ago, the father to her son did a number to her. She asked my opinion, I called it. She called him out on it. We were right. She took her son and she left him. It broke her.

Women that love beautiful men always fall for the same bullshit.

He wants to go down South, Georgia, to be exact. His kids are down there. He says there is work there for him. I guess that's different than the work he's doing here. I don't know.

I think no matter where you go your demons follow. Especially if they are the ones you prefer chilling with and spending time with.

We both are holding on to the jobs we have. I would like to think the money keeps us driven. My son keeps me here. He is the good I've done in life. He's my Purple Star. My Medal of Honor.

It's obvious that we need a change, only the two of us can change the path we are on. We can only make a difference to each other by taking care of ourselves. We know that we love each other. We know that it will be drastic when it concludes. This is the last straw here in Michigan. When his job goes, or mine, it will be time to make some choices.

Time to make some changes.

He pulls in to his parking lot dramatically, spins around. And parks. Tells me to give him a kiss quickly and that he loves me, as usual there are only moments to spare. And as quick as he comes in I watch him jog into the building he signs in at. I sit now I wait. My shift starts in two hours, he drives me over at lunch. Small towns. This is one of the beauties of a small town. Everything is so close together. I can feel the end of something getting near, it's all getting closer now.

I think we both feel it coming. Me desperately trying to hang on to something while he constantly pushes me away.

Articles I read about this subject tell me to let the man go. Stop chasing. Ok, but what if he just carries on, what if he just let's me let him go? Then I'm just as miserable alone I guess.

He will tell you that he loves me, tell you that he cares. What he doesn't say anymore is how it took three and a half years to get me and he ain't letting me go that easy. He just says shut the fuck up, you ain't going anywhere. That's love isn't it?

I want the romance back, I want to be in awe of him like the new girls he meets are. And I'm sure he would prefer me to use my words more carefully, and to hang on everything that he says.

It's so hard now all the damage is done. So hard now that I know that he still subscribes to these blasted meet and fuck sites. So hard now that neither one of us has that much left to lose.

I thought for a while that he may have heard my dominoes falling. I know once I learned to listen I certainly could. But I don't think he recognized the sound. I don't think he knew what to listen for.

It's like the opening of the final act of an opera. Drums beating softly then getting louder. Horns, trombones and at last the piano. Soft piano with the curtains opening. Opening for the final act. The final fall of my dominoes.

Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice
Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice
Read next: 'Chocolate Kisses'
Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice

I believe in fairy tales with a twist. 

I always thought you would be a success. It’s imbedded in you. Release it. Mark A. Valdez

It's nice when you read something that actually paints a picture in your mind, more than words. Roxie Tate

See all posts by Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice