It really wasn’t about the celery, Roger thought as he packed his bags. The celery merely proved his point. She put it in everything, even in the omelets. No matter how many times he asked her to stop using it, she kept on. Celery was the flavor of their life together, and as he packed his bags he saw a celery haze in the air that pervaded their home.
It really was amazing that they lasted as long as they did. Their life together had never really jelled despite seven years of marriage. It was not that they had stopped getting along. They still held the same views about life, money, politics. They were both straightforward people, no nonsense, and cut to the chase. Their life was vastly organized and quite comfortable to any outsider looking in, but even after their orderly marriage, they continued to build their lives apart from each other. Their individual lives had never intertwined, the edges of their being remaining solid and independent, with no blending or blurring of spirit over time. They remained two hard, straight stalks growing upward and never touching in the middle. When Roger contemplated their future together, he saw more of the same. Year upon year of the same life. Growing straight, upright, and apart. Rigid as the celery he hated so much.
Roger waited for a Friday evening to tell her he was moving out. There were never any messes in their life, and it seemed fitting to wrap things up at the end of a week. When he gave her the news he was surprised that she wanted to know why. She wanted a reason and he had difficulty getting the words out. After a very long pause of misty green silence, he plucked an argument out of the air and used the weight of his irritation to sound convincing.
“You put celery in the omelets last Sunday morning, and I realized then that you just don’t care about me and I wonder if you ever did.”
Her face was serene, and she had a tilt to the corner of her mouth that was more of a smile than not. Her calm demeanor irritated him and he was sure he saw a celery green tint to her face, more vivid in her eyes. He must be imagining it.
“I’ve been saying it for seven years how much I hate celery, and you go right on using it. My likes and dislikes just don’t matter to you. I don’t matter to you.” She never flinched, and her voice was even as she explained her rationale.
“Celery lowers the blood pressure Roger. It’s been proven scientifically. It has a chemical called 3nB. The father of a medical student ate a quarter pound of celery a day and his hypertension disappeared.”
“I have no problem with my blood pressure Tina, and neither do you.”
She nodded her head in agreement, and her look turned thoughtful yet distant. He realized she had always been distant, and he had accustomed himself to her crisp rigidity early in their relationship.
” I’m leaving now.” He held his shoulders back resolutely as he turned to leave. He tossed his key on the little entrance way table as he walked quickly to the door. The green mist seemed to fade as he walked closer to the door. He stopped and turned expectantly to face her.
She sounded amused as she spoke. “It really isn’t about the celery, is it Roger?” He knew it was the truth. They would not miss each other, and they would not feel any regret. He stepped out the front door and was immediately invigorated by the sight of the electric blue sky and the warmth of the sunny wind on his face. The celery was a ridiculous conclusion to their relationship, but it was better than none at all.
I am 42, a writer, and a communication specialist. I have been married for 23 years to my high school sweetheart, and I am mom to two wonderful teenagers. I have always loved to write. I am currently working on two books, one nonfiction, working title: Veiled Hearts, and one fiction book tentatively titled The Murder of Saint Charbel. I also expect to graduate in May 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Technical Communication from the University of Texas at San Antonio. You can keep update with my work and me at www.rosecontreras.com.