Saving You: The Escape by M.S. Hanson

"He was the saddest happy man I ever knew."

"The happiest sad man, you mean"

-Waldo Emerson and his wife, Lydian in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee

I spend an extensive amount of time planning my escape (faking my own death; causing my own death; leaving I said, escaping)

I can never pinpoint the precise reason why. My marriage seems perfect and my daughter is the best thing in my life. Mary-Kate was born almost two years after I married Rebecca. I was twenty-one at the time and she was turning twenty-five that March. We were young and in love by reflex. We had had our first date when I was fifteen and she was finishing up her first year of college. We dated up to her matriculation at Med school, had a short falling out, and I proposed the day she graduated.

Mary-Kate was a catalyst for me. Just as I was beginning to learn how to be a husband I had to become a father. My approach to her was cautious. I changed her and held her and fed her when Becca couldn't. Cold as it sounds to say, I was never the one to baby-talk her, push her swing or tell her where rain comes from. Those types of things always were left for the maternal instinct. But later, it was Mary-Kate who crawled to me and first said, "dadda." And it's she today who tugs on my pant leg and instigates play. I love that baby girl. I'm no good for her, but I love her.

Mary-Kate's three now and Becca is twenty-nine. Becca gave up her aspiration to be a doctor for authoring prestigious medical books. It was her decision. She said she wanted to be able to work at home and be with us, her family. If she's ever regretted it, she hides it well.

Becca brings in so much from her publishings that I could easily have gone unemployed. But because of my non-diminishing pride and various "sugar momma" jokes from my friends I took a small job at a coffee house, far from greatly effecting the tax return. 9 to 2 Mondays through Fridays, 11 to 4 on Sundays and Saturdays off. Becca didn't see the point at first but eventually came to understand, sympathizing with my situation. She now makes me bring her home a low fat cappuccino and a strawberry muffin every day.

She can understand the need to be self-reliant because Becca's family is one of those bloodlines wealthy and respected just about everywhere. Bill, Becca's father was the most successful lawyer in West Virginia of his time. He began a law firm that he passed on to his youngest, his son, Jackson that's highly successful to this day. So successful in fact, that our grandchildren probably could have been financially secured if Becca hadn't cut herself off from her family.

Becca's always wanted to work and more than anything work in the medical field. It was an expected end that she'd become a renown oncologist, carry on her family's wealth and marry an equally wealthy and famous doctor or lawyer.

I, being the son of a retail worker and a cars salesman didn't come close to stacking up to what Becca's parents pictured for their little girl. But it was a case of the wealthy man's daughter abandoning her riches for true love, which I assume was me. However, Lillian wouldn't have her daughter walking out of her life like that and forced her husband to at the very least "consider me." Well, I give him credit. He's done a good job of it, and sometimes I think he genuinely approves of me. It may even be possible he likes me...possibly.

I'm told that Ronalds women are all born matriarchs, and I believe it. Only now, Becca wasn't a Ronalds any more. She was a Ralleigh, Mrs. Jonathon James Ralleigh. I told her that she didn't have to take my name, that I understood if she wanted to keep her own. I wanted to give her my name, but by that time I understood well the prestige of the Ronalds name. However, Becca insisted and therefore, of course got her way.

But I never wanted to put a claim on her.

She persists I didn't.

Now, my twenty-sixth birthday is quickly approaching and I find myself torn. I love my wife and daughter more than I could ever love anything in any lifetime. I have a small, steady group of friends, just the way I like it. My parents are supportive and loving. I'm financially secured. I am technically still young, but still I'm overtaken by not unhappiness but rather reprimands for not being happier with my life and appreciating everything I have, because really, it's a lot. Becca says I am "in a funk, just a lifelong funk." It's all shrug-worthy to me.

"What do you say we go out to dinner tonight, huh?" Becca wraps her arms around me. "Just get out of the house. C'mon," she prods me, " you need it."

I hold her waist and my forehead brushes against hers. Whenever we're like this all my plans for escape, every conscionable reasoning I have that I shouldn't be here, with these people, these wonderful, beautiful people vanish. I know I could never go through with any of them. It's absurd to even think that I could leave this.

For the moment I'm peaceful and sigh softly. You always tell me I do things softly: Walk, talk, eat, live. Whenever you say things like that I only half pretend to take it as a personal blow to my masculinity but then again you're only half serious...I hope.

"What are you doing with me?" I ask, wanting so desperately to know.

"Saving you." The standard response.

A/N: This is a slightly revised edition. I can't find the quote and I don't have the text. If someone's surethat the quote from The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail is backwards, please tell me. Sequel on it's way