Leonora Rabkin fretted most of early December away, and got on her husband’s nerve too much; he couldn’t soothe the aching feeling of injustice she always picked at; she loathed playing second-fiddle to others and became a martyr in more melodramatic moments. Jim Rabkin could only listen, sympathize when his wife’s overabundant psychological need to point out unfairness reached a boiling point. He blamed this new play, the one she wouldn’t shut up about. She even wanted him to read it. He refused, time and again, acting was her thing, and even this made Leonora even harder to handle. He spent more time in the garage with his car. They loved each other unconditionally, made a good team, but defined the phrase opposites attract. While Leonora still thrived, working and building up her own realty office, the thrill of the sale, her husband enjoyed early retirement from a technical manufacturing business (Leonora told people her husband loved gadgets). He now drank scotch while watching Cosmos and MSNBC, shows about building treehouses; those that revealed a discovered secret from history (the Industrial Age especially caught his enthusiasm) were his favorites, and he’d share his observations with Leonora over dinner. Lately, even this had become a chore.
“I wouldn’t worry yourself so much. You’ll get the part, or some part, honey. You’re so good.”
“I only want the lead in this play, and I won’t underestimate that conniving Kate Denisov again.”
“I find her a bit icy.” He was saying what he knew his wife wanted to hear most evenings. She’d go read the play again, practice her lines, while Jim watched a few hours of television before shutting the house down for the evening. He’d run a bath for Leonora, try to soothe her nerves, and she was getting on his nerves more and more as Christmas day loomed close enough to touch. He was at a loss this year on what to get his wife, and even thought of a retreat, something that involved counseling, not psychiatry, but a group where she could talk to someone, maybe get help with her manic thoughts. He googled retreats and couldn’t find one that sounded fun. He’d have to go too, and if there wasn’t a nearby golf course available for his own needs, he continued looking. A silent retreat popped up in his search online one early December day and he read about those who attended and how they were comforted, group yoga, hikes, meditation, energy building, aura study, all in complete silence. No word could be spoken from the moment of arrival to the departing wave. He’d like to send Leonara there, box her up and ship her toot sweet.