Leaving The Flag On The Moon
Chrissy rushed home from work every day to make sure dinner was prepared and waiting for Tex when he arrived an hour or so later. They had been together for twelve years, ten of them as man and wife, and Chrissy wanted to keep Tex as happy as she could.
Cooking his meals and keeping the house clean made Tex happy and Chrissy made sure that was the norm, no matter how tired she was or how much Tex took her efforts for granted.
Money was tight – Chrissy's job as a teacher's aide didn't pay much more than minimum wage and she only worked nine months out of the year. Tex was constantly after his wife to get a "real" job but Chrissy loved working with the children and she hoped one day to return to college and finish her degree so she could become a full time full-fledged teacher.
Chrissy quit college her sophomore year at Tex's request a few months after they started dating. She became pregnant twice but miscarried both times and her OBYGN later recommended removing her uterus when she was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer. This was after months of vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, pain urinating and pelvic pain but she had held off going to the doctor because of limited insurance coverage, money issues, and Tex's impatience with her 'woman issues'.
Chrissy became cancer free but her sex life had never been quite the same. During one fight, Tex said Chrissy was "less than a woman" which cut deeply. Still, Chrissy refused to give up on her marriage. Her widowed mother was a devout Christian woman who taught Chrissy (short for Christian, of course) that she should always maintain a high regard for the patriarchal family structure that emphasized hierarchy, authority, and strict gender roles for men, women and children.
Chrissy accepted the idea of biblical submission which gave the man the ultimate responsibility for the well-being of his family as patriarch. It was why Chrissy rarely confronted, argued with, or questioned her husband. She felt it was her duty to acquiesce to his whims, desires, demands and requests.
Tex worked for Davidson Trucking since high school and he had been expecting a promotion into management for years – but it never came. He and Chrissy purchased a starter home a year after they married but with Chrissy's medical expenses, ongoing used car problems, a busted furnace and other expenditures, their debt increased while their cash flow decreased.
Yet Tex insisted on season tickets to the local Triple-A hockey affiliate and other expensive quirks that kept them behind the financial eight-ball.
It was Tex's idea to let his down-on-his luck co-worker Max move into the spare bedroom for a while. Chrissy wasn't clear on the circumstances of why Max needed a place to stay and she didn't ask. The guest paid a generous rent and he was hardly noticed when he was in the house. He bought his own food and he insisted that Chrissy not wait on him hand and foot like she did her husband.
Chrissy enjoyed Max's presence and his friendly banter when they conversed – usually, she noticed, was when Tex wasn't around. Chrissy appreciated Max's compliments and positive attitude, praising her for her positive attitude and warm presence in the house, something Tex rarely bothered to express.
Chrissy liked how Max talked with her – not at her – and how he was genuinely interested in what she had to say. Tex rarely listened when Chrissy offered her insight, opinion and advice and in recent years she stopped giving it.
Tex came home just as Chrissy placed the meal on the kitchen table. He didn't have much to say which wasn't unusual. She wished he'd take that stupid red 'Make America Great Again' ball cap off at the table but she knew better than to say anything about proper meal etiquette and decorum.
Chrissy took her seat across from her husband as always and she watched him eat the casserole as she ate her serving, hoping he might have something nice to say about the meal. Instead, he grumbled about the trucking route he made that day and it didn't take him long to finish the casserole.
"Where's Max?" Chrissy asked, liking it more when Max was around.
Tex shrugged his shoulders. "What do I care?" He grunted as he left the table.
Chrissy heard him brushing his teeth in the bathroom as she cleaned up in the kitchen. Then the television was on in the living room, Sports Center blaring through the house.
"How 'bout a beer!?" Tex called and Chrissy dutifully brought him a 16 ounce can of Budweiser.
She took her customary place on the couch with her book which she read while Tex watched his Sports shows, not saying much. Chrissy brought Tex three more beers during the course of the evening.
At 9:30, she excused herself to begin her evening routine. She went into the bathroom and started the shower before undressing in the bedroom. Tex appeared in the doorway to watch and Chrissy kept her back to him when she sensed his presence, covering her front with a towel before she turned and walked past him into the bathroom.
Chrissy felt uncomfortable when Tex lurched around watching her undress or perform other womanly duties. One time, Tex stood in the bathroom doorway talking about incidental nothingness the entire time she sat on the toilet trying to relieve her bowels. She didn't like his obsessive presence when she was vulnerable.
Tex followed her into the bathroom and he stood at the toilet peeing while Chrissy kept her back to him, put the towel on the rack, and stepped into the shower. She was singing when he returned to the television but when he heard the water turn off he returned to the bedroom door as Chrissy came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel.
Once again keeping her back to him, she dropped the towel and quickly put on a long white night gown but nothing else as Tex didn't like her wearing underclothing to bed in case he was in the mood for 'relations' during the night. Chrissy slipped under the bed covers and took a magazine off the bedside table.
"Coming to bed?" She asked pleasantly.
"Soon," Tex replied, returning to the living room.
Chrissy was sleeping when Tex finally came into the bedroom, well after eleven. He took off his work clothes and folded them across the back of a chair before climbing into the bed in his underwear and tee shirt. He could smell her scent in the dark once he turned off the lights and he reached out to gently touch her, just to make sure she was actually there. Her breathing was deep and regular and he listened to it, wondering what she might be dreaming about.