I’d never heard of this guy until he’d banged my ex.
She’d called me sobbing. It was from a friend’s phone, because she’d caught on that I only picked up every five calls if I saw her name on the Caller ID.
“Frank, I feel terrible. Can you talk?”
I was actually in the middle of my thesis. A document that would be of great significance, if not to the foundations of the universe, then to me and my career as as a mathematician. I’d finally, between my shit job at the sushi restaurant, grading assloads of papers, and making time for Veronica, had found a few hours to bring it closer to an acceptable submission.
But, sure, whatever. I could talk.
Through wails and teeth-gnashing, she told me about meeting this guy in student government. He was that quiet type she likes. Wasn’t actually there to run for anything. Seemed to have no interest in the accolades. He just wanted to build websites for the SGA. She approached him, he’d invited her to a party, and they hooked up. Once.
I don’t know what she was expecting.
“…But, Frank, the things he said to me afterwards…We stayed up for hours and he has…he has this vision. And I was a part of it, you know? He made it sound like I…” She choked on her words. She descended into babble.
I listened to her prattle for about another forty-five minutes, getting about four or five of my own vapid platitudes in before she told me her roommate had come home to console her. (The friend who had lent her the phone was apparently passed out after blazing himself into a stupor). I tried to focus on my thesis after that, but somehow found myself feeling thoroughly stupid.
I never got that PhD.
“Frank, you’re quiet.”
“You’re never this quiet.”
“So what you’re saying is, if over the course of our marriage, I continue to evolve as a human being and learn to become more reflective and contemplative, you’re always going to nag me for being quiet?”
“Oh, you asshole,” Veronica went back to her phone, likely bitching about me on Twitter.
“Guys…” Adele muttered. I looked up at the rearview mirror. She was was looking at the back of our heads with exasperation.
“Sorry, babe,” Veronica said, finally putting the phone back in her purse. “We’ll behave.”
In even tones, Adele said, “To remind you, I’m not your surrogate child for you to practice your bickering on. I pity whatever spawn has to actually tolerate you two taking snipes at each other, but I haven’t been out in months and I’d like a night of fun without drama.”
“Sorry, darling, mother and I will save our fight for when we get home,” I called back. I caught Veronica briefly grin.
Adele chucked a rolled-up piece of paper from her sketchbook at my head. I yelled out, “OW! Oh, SHIT, Adele, you’ve jostled my brain. Oh, SHIT, I feel woozy.” I checked the mirrors, saw the road was clear, then made a big dramatic show of swerving the car in and out of our lane. The girls screamed.
“FRANK, THIS ISN’T FUNNY!” Veronica cried.
“Oh, come on, would you rather I be stonily silent?”
“FRANK, you absolute PRI–”
She was cut off by the sound of the sirens and the blinding flash of the cop’s highbeams into our car.
Never waste your twenties being married, kids.