The Car Wash: 2

Chapter 2

“I want a divorce,” his wife said again. The first time she had said it softly. As if it had been rattling around in her head looking for an exit. The second time she said it with assurance. It was funny since the words came out how she could feel both peaceful and excited at the same time. What was the word she was looking for to describe her current mood? Resolute. She still kept her eyes forward not looking at him. Instead, she turned and watched as the water dripped off the passenger side mirror.

Chadwick snorted.  “Is this some kind of joke?”

Finally, she looked at him and could feel her cheeks turn red.  “No, no joke.  I want a divorce,” her words were clipped as she attempted to control her anger.

“Twenty years,” he said as if she wasn’t aware.  “We have been married twenty years.”

She nodded.  He didn’t need to tell her.  She was well aware.

Twenty-one years ago she was eighteen and fresh out of high school. Her plans were to go to college. But that was just because that was what was expected by her father. She’d work for the summer and then go to college while living at home. It wasn’t ideal but what else would she do? Her dad expected her to continue her education and she wasn’t too fond of striking out on her own. So, she would live at home and go to school.

Her best friend since grade school, Marlene, had invited her on a two-week road trip to the beach.  Since she had never seen the ocean, she was keen to go.  Her father though, thought it wasn’t prudent.  She needed to work and save money.  For the first time in her life, she didn’t listen to him.  Instead, she found a way to do both.  She worked two jobs which allowed her to save more money than she would have working just one all summer. Right before the trip, she quit her least favorite.  The other job let her take a two-week unpaid absence.  Her father still objected but she went on the trip anyway.

What she discovered was there was a whole big world she had been unaware of up until then.  There were cities that had more people in them than her whole home state.  There were stretches of road where the two travelers didn’t see anyone else.  There were also stretches of road where there was so much traffic they sat in the car for hours barely moving.  Then there was the ocean.  She loved it the first moment she saw it.  Its sheer massiveness impressed her.  She had seen mountains that seemingly reached the sky but never water that had no end.  After she realized she couldn’t turn down the volume she grew tired of it quickly though.  The constant noise bothered her the whole time she was there.  She discovered she loved quiet.

Halfway through the second week she bumped into Chadwick at the beach.  He had sunscreen on his nose and a big floppy hat to protect his face from the sun.  She was attracted to him instantly.  But really, it didn’t take much.  She hadn’t dated much in high school and was not used to receiving any attention.  After a short conversation, she found out he was ten years older than her.  A college graduate embarking on his career.  He had worked as a model through college.  And he was single. 

How fortunate she had found such a man! And the best part, he paid attention to her.

When she returned home they communicated with each other almost every night. They talked for a good solid month and decided to get married. He flew to her small hometown and asked her father for his blessing.

Her father did not want to give his blessing to Chadwick.  He had so much hope for his daughter to aspire to great things. None of it included marrying someone he didn’t even know.  But he recognized the sad fact that if he put his foot down she would be too eager to jump right over it.  So, he watched as his brilliant and beautiful daughter settled for someone who was obviously not right for her. Her wedding was one of the saddest days of her father’s life.  But he never told her that. 

Her great-aunt Carol, however, did share her misgivings on the matter. Her great-aunt Carol was her dad’s aunt and a favorite of all the nieces and nephews. Her likeability extended to the next generation. So, when Chadwick visited her again shortly before they were married she, of course, took him to her great-aunt Carol’s house to visit. It was winter and Chadwick was not accustomed to the snow or driving in the snow.

The visit was pleasant enough. Chadwick could be charming and he laid it on pretty thick since he knew Carol was a favorite. After the visit, they climbed into the car to leave and discovered the car was, in fact, stuck. Chadwick had insisted on parking in the street near the curb. Two wheel covered in a rather big snow drift. As much as he revved and gunned the engine, it did not budge.

After letting him attempt it several times, she finally spoke.

“We’re going to need to push it out.”

He looked at her. “That’s ridiculous.” He stepped on the gas a little more.


What they didn’t realize was great-aunt Carol was watching them from her living room window. She saw her niece get out of the car and attempt to push. Chadwick sat in the car and continued to step on the gas. Another couple stopped and helped them out.

A few days later, after Chadwick had returned home, great-aunt Carol asked her about it.

“Chadwick thought it would be better since he is the better driver,” she defended him.

Carol nodded her head. “I see, dear.” There was a moment of silence. “It’s just that he is probably about a good six inches taller than you and at least,” she decided to be conservative, “30 pounds heavier. It just seems to me that he would have been more effective at pushing the car out.”

She just shrugged her shoulders and gave her aunt a hug. “No worries, we got out.”

That night while talking on the phone, she told Chadwick about her conversation with her aunt.

“What is she saying?” he whined. “I don’t appreciate her accusation.”

What she thought was a humorous story suddenly became serious.

“I had a feeling she didn’t like me when we met. She seemed to be judging me. Just like the rest of your family. I’m sure your dad doesn’t like me.”

The rest of the phone call she tried to convince Chadwick her family liked him. But he didn’t believe her. While she loved her aunt very much she decided the best thing to do was to side with her fiancée. After that conversation with her aunt their relationship became strained.

After their marriage, they settled in the city by the coast.  Now she would have plenty of time to get used to the ocean.  She loved the colors but she never did get used to the sound.  The quiet was an unnegotiable love she craved. Over the years, she realized how important the quiet was to her.

Her parents had been married for twenty-five years when she got married so she tried to copy what she had seen in their marriage growing up.  Things like getting up when her husband did so that they could talk about their plans during the day.  She’d fix him breakfast and when he came home she had dinner ready.  It didn’t take too long before their son joined them.  Chadwick was ecstatic he had a son to carry on the family name.

A few years later, a daughter also joined them.  She remembered the details of that all too well.  Chadwick had come home early from work. He came home so that he could go to a sports bar and watch Monday Night Football with the guys.  Although he never admitted it, she found out he had placed several large bets on the game.  And won.  When he got home that night he was in a very good mood.  Partly because of the alcohol and partly because he had a serious wad of cash in his wallet.  He planned to use the money on a down payment for a sports car he had his eye on.  That night, all things were in his favor.  So, he was in a playful and charming manner.  She couldn’t resist him. 

When they found out she was pregnant, he was not happy.  He didn’t want another child.  He blamed his wife for not taking precautionary measures.  Now he had to feed a family of four.  In California of all places.  How was he supposed to save any money for himself?  Goodbye sports car.  At least, for another year or so.

That was the time she started saying no to him more often.  She would not be available or in the mood at his beck and call.

After the children were both in school, his wife asked him about getting a job for herself.  He didn’t think it was a good idea.  She needed to be available for the kids if needed.  But what about going back to school?  By this time, she had a better idea of what she wanted to do career wise.  Again, he didn’t think it was a good idea.  So, she didn’t work and she didn’t go to school.  She took care of the home and she took care of him.

After ten years of marriage, she discovered Chadwick had a gambling problem.  They almost lost the house.  He recovered his losses quickly.  But he didn’t relent on her working and earning her own money.  She thought it would be better if she handled the family’s finances but he didn’t agree.  That was his job.  That was his responsibility.

That was the first year they went to couple’s counseling.

He didn’t like it though and threw a fit whenever they had an appointment.  She gave up on the idea and let it go.  Year after year, he settled into the perfect life.  Year after year, she became dissatisfied with her life.

At eighteen years of marriage, she convinced him again to go to counseling.  This time, she gave him an ultimatum.  Either they went to counseling or she left him and took the kids.

He attended counseling.  But it didn’t go well.

The car lurched forward interrupting her thoughts.  Soap covered the windshield and the couple sat in a soap cocoon in the car.  The more soap that enveloped the car the angrier he became.  His mind raced to find blame for everyone that had destroyed his marriage.  Starting with her father.  That man never liked Chadwick.  It was obvious.

However, her peace started to build.  For the first time in years, she felt hopeful.  And that was unfamiliar territory for her but she liked it.

Previous Chapter: Chapter I

Next Chapter: Chapter 3

2 thoughts on “The Car Wash: 2

  1. Pingback: The Car Wash | ck's days

  2. Pingback: The Car Wash: 3 | ck's days

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