She Asked For Nothing

On retake days, we usually have to fill out cards before we take our subject’s picture. For teachers, this means a last name followed by their preferred courtesy title.

Blandings, Mr. — Doubtfire, Mrs. — Love, Dr. — Pepper, Sgt.

I’m about to ask the kindergarten teacher helping me out if she knows how to do this when she answers a question I didn’t have.

I’ve spent 20 years putting up with his crap, and now I’m free. I can’t wait. I mean, I can do what I want, now, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

I can’t decide whether she said it out of the blue, or if I just wasn’t listening, but her cheerfully fake expression belies what she really feels.

She giggles in such a way that I decide it’s polite to pretend that I didn’t see through the lie, to pretend that I didn’t guess at her real situation. I smile back at her, and she giggles some more — more than even necessary.

I’m getting a divorce now. I probably should have said that, first. Oh well. It isn’t like it wasn’t long in coming.

She spares me the details. I ask her whether she’d like M-R-S or M-S on her ID card.

No, just Mrs. M-R-S. Though, I guess I could use Ms. because I’m getting a divorce. M-S. Nah, I don’t think I want to. I think I’ll just stick with M-R-S.

She pauses. Suddenly somber and devoid of façade, she stares into space almost wistfully:

I’ve always been M-R-S.

I dutifully put down M-R-S under her courtesy title. I also change the subject.


  1. Kevin

    Damn, keep writing Ben. If today’s post wasn’t sad, it would be funny. Not unlike watching the Office.

  2. For me, it’s mostly sad because it’s mostly true.

  3. doesn't matter


  4. Even cougars need some lovin’.

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