Married to a Stranger
By Joseph Logsdon
Beverly Green couldn't bear the thought of living with her husband any longer. He was, without a doubt, mentally unstable. Beverly wanted to divorce him, but sadly, she didn't have the patience to pursue that path. One afternoon, Beverly discussed her husband's illness with her psychiatrist.
"He's very sick," she cried.
"Why don't you leave him?"
"I told you, I still love him," she replied.
"Why don't you bring him to me?"
"Even if I wanted to do that, he would never go," she cried.
"How long has he been this way?"
"Ever since he returned from Iraq, he's been a different person. Sure, he still has his pride, but there's no emotion left. Every night, he tells me that he loves me, that I'm the only one for him. You know, for a time, I almost believed him, but I soon realized that he was only pretending. If I've learned one thing from this, it's that he's not the man I married."
"You mean, he acts like a different person?"
"He doesn't act like a different person, he is a different person," she exclaimed.
"What do you mean?"
"I can't explain it, but somehow, I just feel that he isn't my husband. I know it sounds crazy, and if I were in your position, I would be thinking the exact same thing."
"What am I thinking, exactly?"
"You think I'm crazy, don't you?"
"I don't think you're crazy, I just think you need to relax. In my humble opinion, your husband is going through a very difficult time in his life. Fighting in a war is, without a doubt, very traumatic. Trust me, if you give him time, I'm sure he'll come around," he assured.
"Do you really think so?"
"I don't think so, I know so," he replied.
That night, Beverly approached her unstable husband.
"Mike, I'm home," Beverly stated as she walked into the small bedroom.
"Would you like me to make us some dinner?"
"You can, I guess," he sighed.
"Oh, nothing, it's just that I'm going out tonight," he answered.
"I don't have to tell you everything, do I?"
"Mike, why have you changed so much?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Every time I talk to you, I get treated like shit!"
"I don't have time for this," Mike exclaimed as he headed for the door.
"You can't walk away from me!"
"Oh, I can, and I will," Mike laughed as he left the room.
Later that night, Beverly shivered as her husband returned home. As he approached the bed, Beverly attempted to hide her fear.
"I love you," Mike stated as he rubbed her shoulder.
"Where did you go?"
"I don't want to talk about it," he answered.
"Mike, something has happened."
"Something has happened to us," she exclaimed.
"It's your imagination, nothing more," he whispered.
"I wish I could believe that, I really do," she whimpered.
"Trust me, you can," he stated.
"I don't know you," she exclaimed.
"Just because I spent years in another country, doesn't mean that I'm a different person," he exclaimed.
"It's not where you've been, it's where you're going," she gasped.
"Where am I going, exactly?"
"You're going down a dangerous, destructive path," she whimpered.
"Nonsense," he replied.
"When is our anniversary, Mike?"
"Why do you ask?"
"If you're truly my husband, you will tell me," she sighed.
"I don't know," he answered.
"What do you mean, you don't know?"
Suddenly and without warning, Mike grabbed Beverly by the throat. For the first time in her life, Beverly was not only frightened, she was terrified.
"You're right, I'm not your husband," he stated.
"Let me go," she screamed.
"I'm his brother," he announced.
"That's impossible," Beverly screamed.
"You see, Beverly, after my brother died in Iraq, I decided to take his place. I know it sounds like a stupid plan, but believe me, it's not. No one, not even your psychiatrist, suspects that I'm impersonating your husband. I mean, let's face it, I'm more of a man than he ever was," he exclaimed.
"Mike never talked about his family," she gasped.
"If he had, I wouldn't be in this position," he laughed.
"What do you want?"
"I want to have everything that my brother had," he exclaimed.
"You can't have it," she replied.
"Unless you want to die, I suggest you play along," he commanded.
"This has to be a dream," she gasped.
"This isn't a dream, it's a nightmare."