Short story - Romance

Circles

‘Do you still love me, Pete?’

‘What sort of a question is that?’

‘The sort of question that I want you to answer. Truthfully.’

‘Of course I love you – I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t, would I?’

‘You might. You get all your meals cooked for you, your shirts washed and ironed, your children cared for, all your physical needs met…’

‘Okay, okay, okay. Why not just call me the world’s most useless husband and have done with it.’

‘You’re not useless, just…’

‘What? What am I, Lisa?’

‘Well, a bit neglectful, I suppose.’

‘You suppose.’

‘What I mean is, I don’t feel loved. You always have that phone stuck to your ear and you don’t do anything that makes me feel cherished.’

‘Cherished? Ha! I don’t have time for cherishing. Have you not noticed that I work all the hours God sends to keep you in clothes and food and holidays and everything you ever need?’

‘So you think that running this house and bringing up the kids isn’t hard work? You should try it.’

‘I’m not saying you don’t work hard, I’m just…’

‘What? Making out that what I do isn’t as important as your fancy job selling houses?’

‘No! Listen to me! Look, we both work hard, we’re both tired at the end of the day. I think we both need to make more of an effort to care for each other.’

‘Well, you need to.’

‘Lisa, do you love me?’

‘Don’t go turning the tables! I’m the one who’s feeling unloved, remember?’

‘Do you think I feel loved?’

‘Well, you should do, the amount of things I do for you.’

‘Actually, I’ve been worrying lately that you’d gone off me, stopped loving me.’

‘Pete, how…’

‘Let me finish. I appreciate all the work you put into looking after me and the kids, but when was the last time you sat down and talked to me?’

‘I’m always talking to you.’

‘Yes – about the kids needing new shoes, or how you got held up in a traffic jam on the school run. I’m talking about real talking, where you ask me how I’m feeling about life, about us.’

‘I’m talking to you now, aren’t I?’

‘You are, and I’m glad. But it’s still about you, isn’t it, Lisa? You want me to do something to make you feel better.’

‘Well, what’s wrong with that? Isn’t that what marriage is all about?’

‘Marriage is about mutual, unconditional love, Lisa, not about one partner making demands of the other and then sulking when they don’t deliver. Come on, don’t cry; let’s make a pact to show each other every day how much we care.’

‘I’m sorry, Pete, I…’

‘There’s nothing to be sorry about. I know you love me.’

‘But do you love me, Pete…?’

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