I used to be married. Her name was Roberta and she was a good woman. She really was. I really never appreciated her when I had her and now that she’s gone, I don’t so much miss her as I just wish I didn’t always have to wash my own bloody socks all the time. Seriously, this woman had a special touch when it came to doing laundry. She could get your clothes so clean that you felt like you were putting them on fresh off the rack. Amazing woman, she really was.
When we were still married, I would just get so bored with her. Every day, I woke up and there she was. Every night, I went to sleep and there she was. I’d come home from work and there she was. She was always there. It got to the point where just the sight of her made me feel as if I was trapped in some Roger Corman B-movie and the walls were slowly closing in on me.
How did I keep from going crazy?
I cheated on her every chance I got.
Now I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it is easy to get a mistress when you’re a lawyer. There’s a whole generation of women out there who grew up watching L.A. Law on Thursday night. They hear lawyer and they think it’s all glamour and German automobiles.
Roberta was a brunette so I never had a mistress with brown hair. I limited myself to blondes and redheads. (Of course, there really aren’t that many redheads out there so it was mostly blondes.) A few of them were clients but I never allowed those to get serious. Too much drama, to put it politely. Most of them came from juries I had argued in front of. Fighting to keep the blonde on the jury, that was the best part of the whole pretrial process for me.
I never told them I was married, of course. Some of them wouldn’t have cared but still, it’s always good to keep things simple. Have you ever seen Last Tango in Paris? I like to think of myself as Marlon Brando.
Roberta, she never knew. What’s strange is that I always assumed she did. I would look at her and sometimes, I’d find myself troubled with feelings of guilt but I’d just tell myself, I’m sure she knows. She has to know. And the fact that she hasn’t said anything proves that she’s okay with it. As long as I thought that was true, our marriage was actually a pretty convenient little arrangement.
Well, turns out that, for most of our marriage, she didn’t actually know.
She did find out eventually, though.
She walked in on me while I was with a juror by the name of Shauna. (Shauna, I might add, was a redhead.) Roberta came home early, walked into the bedroom, and there I was with Shauna.
Roberta gasped and just stood in the doorway with her hand in front of her mouth. She stared at me and I stared at her.
Finally, I said, “What?”
Roberta lowered her hand. I thought she was going to yell but instead, she whispered. She said, “Warren, what’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Who’s this woman!?”
“That woman!” Now was when Roberta started yelling.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I replied, “There’s no woman here.”
“Is that your wife?” Shauna asks.
I looked over at Shauna and said, “Huh?”
“In the doorway. That woman – is that your wife?”
“There’s nobody in the doorway,” I said.
“I’m in the doorway!” Roberta yelled.
I turned my head back to Roberta and said, “I know. I can see you.”
“You just said I wasn’t!”
“Two seconds ago! To that woman!”
“Roberta, there is no woman. Now, do you mind if I get some sleep?”
Of course, now, Shauna started in on me with, “Warren, what’s going on? Is that your wife?”
“I’m not married.”
Roberta: “You’re married to me!”
Me: “Yes, I know. And I love you.”
Shauna: “If she’s not there, why are you talking to her!?”
Me: “I’m not talking to anyone.”
Roberta: “You’re talking to me!”
Me: “Of course I’m talking to you, darling. You’re the only one here, aren’t you?”
Shauna: “Fuck you, Warren—“
Me: “You just did.”
At this point, Shauna slapped me.
Roberta: “Don’t you slap my husband!”
Me: “Roberta, nobody slapped me!”
Shauna: “I slapped you!”
Me: “I didn’t know you were kinky like that.”
Me: “Roberta, you’ve obviously had a very busy day. Why don’t you come lie down and get some sleep?”
Roberta: “I’m not getting in bed with that woman!”
Me: “But there is no woman.”
Shauna: “Do you think I’m stupid, Warren?”
Me: “I think you’re the best in the world.”
Me: “Come to bed.”
Roberta, looking a bit shaken by this point, slowly come over to the bed and slowly lay down between Shauna and me.
Roberta: “Warren, are you sure nobody else—“
Me: “Yes, I’m sure. Go to sleep.”
Shauna: “I’m leaving, Warren—“
Shauna: “You’re married!”
Me: “No, I’m not married!”
Roberta: “Stop saying that!”
Me: “I didn’t say anything. Go to sleep.”
Anyway, to cut to the chase, it worked on Roberta. It didn’t work on Shauna. I haven’t seen Shauna since which is a shame because that one was quite a woman.
Roberta left me a week later. She said she had to go figure out who she was. I told her she was “Roberta Aackland, the wife of a lawyer who owns a Jaguar.” She said she didn’t know what that meant. I explained to her that a Jaguar was a car. Later, it occurred to me that I might have misunderstood her.
It’s been years since I last saw Roberta. My Dad says that she’s locked away somewhere but my Dad’s at that age where he says all sorts of things.
How’s my life been since Roberta left? Well, my socks no longer feel quite as fresh but I’ve found a way to handle that. I shoplift a new pair every other day. It’s strange to think that, with all of my money and my cars and my career, I’ve been reduced to stealing socks. But that's what you do when you want something and you don't want to pay for it. You tuck it under your shirt and you walk right out the door.