Tidbit Tuesday 17 December 2017: The Good Wife

Image by Marlene Bitzer from Pixabay

Here is a chapter from the forthcoming first book in Team Netherworld's flagship serial, Fetch.
Please share a Tidbit if you wish. No hard and fast rules. Any length, published or WIP, prose or poetry, flash fiction, even a picture.

A note regarding the image:
The model is probably 20 or more years younger than the character portrayed in this chapter, but it is nearly impossible to find pictures of middle-aged models. This model embodies something of the attitude I was trying to portray in the chapter and has a similar appearance to what I envision for the character as well.

The Good Wife
Anne Faith Harris Clifford had been a good wife as far as she was concerned. Being married to a musician wasn’t easy. Gerry Clifford wasn’t your standard fare, of course. He held himself to high standards, including not giving in to the plethora of available temptation on the road. He was a good provider, there could be no denying.

However, despite his admirable qualities, Gerry’s high standards tended to make him unavailable in other regards. Although he was no chauvinist, often lauded for treating female musicians with a more than commendable amount of respect, his long periods of absence tended to pigeonhole Anne into the role of caregiver for the couple’s two children, Amber and Daniel.

Daniel, born on New Year’s Day 1981, was the reason that Anne and Gerry married. They had been friends for four years previously, and the friendship turned romantic. Dallying with groupies had become hollow for Gerry; that it had ever held that much appeal for the sensitive modern-day bard was questionable in the first place.

Still, Anne often found herself questioning whether Gerry truly loved her or if marrying her just seemed the sensible thing for the pragmatic guitarist. Gerry told Anne that he loved her. He brought her flowers and jewelry. He did everything a good husband should do. Yet it seemed there was always some part of himself that he held back, and over the years this reticence to fully give his heart caused resentment to build in Anne’s soul.

Daniel was a well-behaved child, but from the beginning, his epilepsy made him fragile. Because of their son’s special needs, Anne and Gerry agreed that it was best that they never have more children. Anne went on birth control and Gerry always used a condom when things became heated, so it seemed as though having more children would never factor into their lives.

Gerry had a kind heart, but he also had periods of depression which rendered him emotionally unavailable. Using alcohol to combat his social anxiety rendered the rock and roll prodigy an addict. However, Gerry was nothing if not responsible, and the day after Christmas 1981, he checked himself into rehab. He had just turned thirty years old two weeks prior.

Reflecting on things, that moment may have been the point when the quiet undercurrent of resentment in Anne’s relationship with Gerry began building. He was trying to be responsible to his wife and his baby son, so Anne could never bring herself to outwardly admit that she seriously resented being left alone with a medically fragile infant.

Upon Gerry’s successful rehabilitation, Anne felt that the most appropriate gift for her husband was a night of passion that she didn’t really feel. A month later she would decide that this gift to her husband was one of her stupider ideas.

Anne had neglected to take her birth control pills for almost a week while dealing with a crisis with Daniel’s health. Gerry had used a condom during the encounter, but it failed.

When Anne discovered that she was pregnant, she considered aborting without telling Gerry. However, she realized that she couldn’t live with the guilt of doing so. Thus, on March 29, 1983, Amber Freya Clifford was born.

That Amber was a perfectly healthy baby was a great relief to both of her parents. That Gerry went on the road a month after her birth was both a source of relief and a source of resentment for Anne. Although Gerry was a more than competent parent, in some ways his presence made Anne feel as if she were having to care for another child. Gerry’s hypersensitivity once seemed charming; at this point, his fragile personality and his very presence were a burden.

Gerry was often lauded for his monogamous nature in an industry that not only accepted but condoned caddish behavior on the part of its men. Anne sometimes wished that her husband had been less noble. Gerry’s fidelity was commendable, but his valiant behavior made it impossible for Anne to justify divorcing him although the marriage had become stale.

During the thirty-five years that Anne and Gerry were married, she had a dozen lovers. It was understood by these men that Anne had no intention of divorcing Gerry and that they would have no part in her children’s lives. Being in a seemingly perfect marriage with rock and roll royalty afforded Anne multiple amenities that she had no intention of giving up. She and Gerry worked well together, and as Anne’s late maternal grandfather, Harald Mathiasen always said, “If it is not broke, there is no need to fix it.”

When Gerry began showing signs of cognitive deterioration during his fifty-seventh year, Anne’s many years of caring for a special needs child served her well. She loved Gerry in her own way although the romance between them was long dead. People lauded her for being a good wife.

Anne never mentioned to anyone that when Gerry’s cleverness combined with his confusion made him a danger to himself and rendered her unable to care for him at home any longer, she was relieved to leave him at Candlelight Ridge Care Home for good.

Anne was free. The husband whom she cared for but hadn’t loved romantically in years was being tended to by professionals. Her children were grown; her son’s condition was stabilized. Daniel lived with Amber and her husband Vance. He had a special seizure dog named Scarlet.

For the first time in years, Anne wasn’t worried.

The date of sixty-four-year-old Anne Harris Clifford’s emancipation was April 17, 2014.



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