What Women Don’t Say

Gregory Crewdson

Here’s a conversation.

Him: Oh, you’re home. I had a shitty day at work. *slams door*

Her: What happened?

Him: They’re restructuring the deal. This means I have to do a fresh set of due diligences. Fucking brutal. I’m going to be at the office till late every single fucking day this month.

Her: Oh, that’s awful.

Him: Awful? That’s the best you could come up with? Never mind the fact that I haven’t got any sleep in, oh, weeks and weeks. I’m running on empty. Less than empty.

Her: I’m sorry, baby. That’s so difficult.

Him: I should just quit. But then how the fuck would we afford the new place? Not with your job, we couldn’t make the rent. And in this fucking economy, Lord knows how long it would take me to find another job. If I even got one at all. Who wants a fortysomething dude?

Her: Lots of people! You have a great resume and work experience-

Him: Hah. They just hired a twenty-six year old. Making more than I make. Fuck me, right? What do I have to bring to the table?

Her: Dinner will be ready in a little while. Or, if you want, we could go out. It’s Friday. I could call the babysitter-

Him: We probably can’t afford to go to dinner if I quit. Fuck it. We’re not going out.

Her: Oh.

Him: Now you’re upset. Great. As if I don’t have enough to deal with.

Her: No, no, I’m not upset.

Him: Why do you have to get upset so easily? Jesus Christ.

Her: …

Him: I just wish you understood how hard things are for me right now.

Now read the conversation again.

Him: Oh, you’re home. I had a shitty day at work. *slams door*

Her: Oh, no. He’s in a bad mood. I was worried he would be. He looks so tired, the poor thing. And hungry. But dinner won’t be ready for quite some time. I knew I should have gotten it started earlier…Ugh. But I thought we could have gone out. It’s Friday night, our date night.

Him: They’re restructuring the deal. This means I have to do a fresh set of due diligences. Fucking brutal. I’m going to be at the office till late every single fucking day this month.

Her: I wonder if I should tell him about the senior partner trying to touch my knee. And what did he mean, ‘We’ll go on that trip together?’ Could it have been a come-on? No, I’m sure it wasn’t.

I won’t tell Him right now. He has enough to deal with. And it would only make him more angry. I should have handled it better at the time. I should have told the partner that I wasn’t free that week…maybe I could still make something up, about depositions or something…I don’t want to go on that trip. I’m worried our hotel rooms will be on the same floor, and he’ll try something. How can I avoid that? But on the other hand, what if the knee-touching was an accident?

Him: Awful? That’s the best you could come up with? Never mind the fact that I haven’t got any sleep in, oh, weeks and weeks. I’m running on empty. Less than empty.

Her: I’m worried about his health. He drinks too much lately. It just puts him in an even worse mood. Oh god, dinner is going to take forever. And if he gets drunk before dinner, the whole night will be ruined. I wish he would just go to sleep earlier…look at those dark circles. I wish he would try those apps I put on his phone.

Hm, my own skin looks pretty bad too, of late. And there’s the ten pounds I gained. No wonder we don’t have sex anymore. I wonder if he’s still even attracted to me…I’ve let myself go so badly. Has the spark died out completely? No, I won’t let that happen. I’ll go on a diet. I’ll get a facial this weekend. I kind of want to try that new snail cream facial. But that sounds disgusting. Hm.

Him: I should just quit. But then how the fuck would we afford the new place? Not with your job, we couldn’t make the rent. And in this fucking economy, Lord knows how long it would take me to find another job. If I even got one at all. Who wants me?

Her: I wish he wouldn’t talk about himself that way. I don’t even really care about the new place. I’m happy to stay here. It’s going to be so much work, moving there. And it’s so far from my office…that’s going to add a good hour to the commute. Jesus. But I can get into podcasts or something, maybe? I’ll try to be positive about it. Think of all I could do in an hour!

Him: Hah. They just hired a twenty-six year old. Making more than I make. Fuck me, right? What do I have to bring to the table?

Her: Oh god, he’s getting sarcastic. I knew he would bring up the new hire again. I thought I had made him feel better about that. And dinner isn’t going to be ready anytime soon.

Maybe we should go out. It would be so nice to have a little quiet time together, without the kids. Some cosy little bistro where we could eat spaghetti. Though wait, not spaghetti. I forgot. New diet. Salad. I’ll eat salad, and we’ll hold each other’s hands. And I’ll call the babysitter. Though I should tell her to watch out for that nasty cold they’ve developed lately…I’m worried about them. How could they both have gotten sick at the same time? What is their school doing? I’ll make that extra special soup for lunch tomorrow. It really does work. God, will I have time though? I’ll have to get up early. And do I have the ingredients? I’ll make a quick run to the store on the way back, I think.

Him: We probably can’t afford to go to dinner if I quit. Fuck it. We’re not going out.

Her: He’s started drinking. And we’re not going out. I’m so sad. I wish he would hold me. I wish he would touch me. I wish we could be alone for one night. I know I could make him feel better, if only we could talk in a place where I felt like the kids weren’t right underfoot.

I don’t know why he’s so insistent on the money. We could still make rent. He could find another job. I could move to a different firm. God, I’m so tired though. Would that kill our marriage? Any more hours, and I wouldn’t even be here when he got home. What’s going to happen? I can’t think of the future, it just makes me tired. I thought we had a good life, I thought that at least we didn’t have the problems that other couples have. I love him so much. I wish he thought that we had a good life too, that we were lucky. Maybe we’re not. Maybe nobody is lucky, and we’re all miserable and trapped like dogs in hot cars in the afternoon. Maybe.

Him: Now you’re upset. Great. As if I don’t have enough to deal with.

Her: Oh god, he’s noticed that I’m sad. Quickly, make your voice seem normal. Ugh. I feel like crying.

I wish I could go upstairs and cry in the bathroom. I want to cry.

He’ll be angry if I cry.

Him: Why do you have to get upset so easily? Jesus Christ.

Her: Don’t cry.

Him: I just wish you understood how hard things are for me right now.

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