You can find Part I here.
Harry was sitting poolside, taking in the afternoon breeze. He didn’t hear Jaz enter their home with the groceries. His mind was in another place. It has been for months.
“HARRY! Get on in here and help me with these groceries!”
Jaz wasn’t quiet by any means. She had a voice that clashed with Harry’s. It often intimidated him, called his manhood into question. He never won an argument.
“Jaz, why you gotta yell like that? Nate and Marcy can hear you and their door is closed.”
“How you know Nate and Marcy can hear me, Harry? What? You live there and here too? You know what’s going on over there just as well as you do here?”
Harry looked up at the ceiling. It was like he was piecing the cracks together in his mind, trying to jigsaw a jigsaw.
But, Jaz kept talking. Her words rumbled the air, sticking hard and long.
“You hear me, Harry? Every five minutes you disappear. Where do you go, Harry, huh? Where do you go? I am talking to you. You still haven’t picked up one bag. Those groceries aren’t going to put themselves away. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, where in the hell did I collect you?”
Her voice faded into a space between Harry’s ears, then bounced off of each one, landing to the floor. There was no need in picking it up. Jaz is good at repeating herself.
“Jaz, You know they got me working overtime at the job. Why do you have to get on me like this? 15 hours today, baby. 15. That’s how many hours I worked. How many did you work today?”
The hiss of the air conditioner prompted just in time to shoo Jaz’s rebuttal. Harry bent down, retrieved a bag, and walked to the refrigerator to find the best spot for the pickled beets. He thinks to himself, Why does she eat these things? and he quickly lets it go.
“I worked 18, thank you. 8 at my job and 10 here. You got anymore smart remarks? Who washed them clothes you got on? Who ironed them? Who cleans this house? Who is about to cook dinner, then wash the dishes, then sweep? Who will still have time to do what you want me to in bed, no less promptly at 10 p.m.? Me, that’s who? Anything else?”
Harry searched his mind for a comeback, but one did not appear. He verbally kicked himself under his breath for opening up this can of worms and tried to smooth things over with his wife.
“I didn’t mean anything by it, baby. I wasn’t trying to cheapen your worth or downplay what you do. I’m just tired.”
Jaz acknowledged his words, licked her upper lip, and breathed out a worried sigh.
And, I’m just tired of you, she thought.