Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Times Apart That Were Just In Time-Paris in Winter (2)

When Marcie told me she was going to Paris, I smiled and stood up. She hugged me but she was a bit stiff. I pushed her gently so I could look in her eyes.

"What's the matter?" I asked.

"You're going to be mad, Frank," she said. "I know you. You're going to be pissed off that you're not going to be with me."

I shrugged and decided to hold my tongue, then surprised myself with my own words. "I'll get over it," I said. "I want you to be happy."

She gave me a very smug look and shook her head, then shrugged and looked in my eyes matter-of-factly. "I wouldn't be too sure of that," she said.

"Why?" I asked, suddenly a little worried. "What's going on?"

She watched me closely and I knew i was about to be tested. I steeled myself. She spoke and I waited for her words to sink in.

"I am using my credit cards," she said.

I gulped down some bile and nodded somewhat insincerely, but took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. "Maybe you won't have to charge too much. I'm sure we'll be okay."

She looked at me stubbornly and leaned to the other side. "I am going to have a good time. I am not going on a tight budget. I am going shopping and I am going to stay in a nice hotel."

I nodded and breathed. "Well, whatever you want. Maybe i can give you some cash to help out, too."

"I don't want you money," she said. "This is something I will pay for myself. We live together, we sleep together, we love each other, but this is for me, it's not for you at all, so you won't be paying for it."

I looked up a little hurt at her words and nodded, losing my patience. "Why? What's wrong with wanting you to be happy?"

She shrugged. "Maybe I wouldn't pay for you to go traipsing around in another country, either. Did you ever think of that?"

"So you're going traipsing around?" I asked, now pretty much ready to fight. "What are you trying to say?"

She shrugged and crossed her arms, stepping back. "Do you trust me?"

I nodded. "Yes, I do. But why are you trying to test that trust?"

"You just need to trust me," she said. "I am not going to say anything more about it."

The weeks passed and her departure date came. I saw the bill for the ticket. it was small, a few hundred dollars. The hotel took another $300 for reservations and first night's stay. she had two weeks planned.

"Honey, how much will your hotel cost?" I asked. It was a serious error.

"It will cost enough for me to enjoy it," she said. "Why? I thought you said whatever I want? It's my money, right? RIght?"

She marched over and stood in front of me, looking down with her smug look, arms crossed under her breasts.

"Yes, but I saw a bill for $300 dollars for one night... " it was the last thing I remember before the argument began and continued until almost midnight. I simply wanted to know how much it cost. But Marcie, at the peak of her pique, finally called the hotel and canceled in tears.

I was flabbergasted.

"I am canceling the whole fucking thing, Frank," she said. "You are such a bastard! All I wanted to do was go to Paris and have some time to myself and you just shit all over the whole thing. You didn't have to pay for anything."

I could not speak, she had simply refused to let me interfere with her call and now I was being blasted. She ran into the room and moaned over her shoulder as she closed the door. "It was my money! Oh my god, why are you so crazy and stingy?"

I slept on the couch, guilty and bewildered. I just wanted to know how much. It turned out I didn't need to feel guilty, but I didn't know that until a day before she packed. In the mean time, I felt like I should make other plans and get ready to break up. I was heartbroken and thought I had damaged us permanently.