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Nemesis (standard:romance, 1175 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: Sep 06 2009Views/Reads: 1716/829Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Katherine is the woman next door, living the American nightmare. Two kids, a dog, and a husband out of work. It was hard writing this short story; hard because I've never personally suffered the indignity of being out of work.

Katherine is the woman next door, living the American nightmare, two
kids, a dog, and a husband out of work. 

It was hard writing this short story, hard because I've never suffered
the indignity of being out of work. If someone you know is out of work, 
find a way to reach out. It could mean the difference. 


Every action brings about a reaction it seems.  But for Katherine it
didn't just seem that way, it was that way. For eleven years she'd 
successfully held everything together. The mortgage payment was never 
easy but it was doable, with enough left to get by - more some weeks 
than others = and it seemed, indeed she knew, it was just like this for 
so many of her neighbors and friends. Her husband, James, a hard 
working husband until the recession claimed his job. First with short 
time work and, after six months came the indignity of unemployment. 
Their American dream was over. The two children, Jamie and Sarah, never 
wanted for school supplies and paid for their lunches. But that was 
then. Jamie was uninspired after a fifteen-month saga of interviews, 
rejections, and now depression. It was an unspoken thing in the home 
but if Jessie, their dog, should need a vet Katherine knew what that 
would mean. But Jamie and Sarah played with Jessie without thought or 
care for what they did not know. 

Katherine's life was all about the endless errands - all the mechanisms
that go into keeping the wheels rotating; keeping the family going - 
not to mention holding down a responsible part time job at McDonald's, 
working with teenagers not much older than her own children, but she 
did the job gladly, for there were medical benefits, and that, she 
knew, was worth everything. 

But here comes Katherine, everyone agreed, the phenomenal one-woman team
with the other players looking on from the sidelines. Recalling old 
times, she chuckled softly to herself.  Not one to easily give in to 
self-pity, she sometimes played the guilt card; it had seldom worked. 
Love is a strange thing.  There were times when she would smile fondly 
at herself and remember all the silly, the private moments shared that 
aid in the continuity of a relationship, the familiarity and 
cohesiveness, the sense of couple-ness.  Then there were the times when 
she had to grit her teeth at the numerous, thoughtless actions of those 
who had confessed love for her. But she was also aware there were far 
too many of the smiling fondly moments than these irritations of recent 

She'd taken herself off to the doctor's office while her husband was
picking up the unemployment check and while the children were in 
school. She was going through middle of the night nervous stomach 
syndrome. She remembered how she entered into a romance - not expecting 
to fall in love - being so young when they met; so far from home, 
seeking a new life, adventure, new languages and skills. That was the 
plan. Actually, in the beginning, it just felt nice having someone who 
pulled out her 'baser instincts'. It was something physical and 
pleasant and Katherine enjoyed being with someone who made her laugh 
after a teenage life of discipline and boredom.  Back then they were 
both light hearted; the timing could not have been better.  Their 
conversations grew longer, their emotions more intense and then they 
were in love.  Or as close to it as either one had ever experienced. 

Katherine had just once contemplated the irreversibility of her actions.
How difficult it might be to walk away from a marriage, even a life, 
because her husband was not the person she wanted him to be and coming 
to the realization that he could only be who he was meant to be or - 
better still (taking a page from one of her endless self-help books) - 
the person he chose to be.  Take your lumps; she remembered her father 
telling her often, take the bitter with the sweet, etcetera...etcetera. 
 Truth.  Jamie was not a god-awful human being and neither was she.  
Yet, too, she understood something: the best of men and the best of 
women may sometimes live together all their lives, and for want of some 
consent on fundamental questions, hold each other's lost spirit to the 
end. Their marriage had faced some violent excitement. Love, she had 
pondered of late, could be too violent a passion to make, in all cases, 
a good domestic sentiment. Their marriage had thrown up not only what 
is best, but what is worst and smallest, in Jamie's character. He had 
become malicious with drink, brawling with anyone and virulent. Some 

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