As Arlene approached her house, she saw Hadrian’s car in the driveway. He had gotten home before her. Lately, things had gotten a bit strained between them. Last night they had had a row because he wanted to make love but she was too tired. He ended up sleeping on the sofa. And, she didn’t sleep well. The bed felt empty without him. Sighing heavily, she pulled up beside him and after switching off the radio, she grabbed her handbag and got out of the car. She ran up the steps and opened the door.
After locking the door, she removed her shoes and walked through the foyer. She called out to Hadrian but there wasn’t any answer. She went into the kitchen, the living-room but he wasn’t there. He must be upstairs, she reasoned. She climbed the stairs and went to the bedroom. He wasn’t there but she could hear sounds coming from the study. So, after putting her handbag down on the bedside table, she went to the study.
He was sitting on the plush carpet, wearing only his pajama pants, going through some papers. She leaned against the door frame, arms folded, watching him for several minutes before asking, “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
Hadrian glanced up at her, his expression dour. “I did.”
“So, why didn’t you answer me?”
“I was in the middle of something.”
“You’re still upset from last night, aren’t you?
“How would you feel if you were in my place?”
“How do you feel?”
“You and I are supposed to be married but lately we’ve been acting more like roommates than lovers. Do you remember the last time we made love?”
“I know that you wanted to last night but I really was very tired—“
“You’ve been tired a lot lately. This new job is ruining things between us, Arlene.”
“This job is very important to me, Hadrian.”
“And our marriage isn’t?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“No, but you’re acting like it isn’t. Right now, it feels like you’re putting your job before our marriage.”
“That isn’t true!”
“Well, that’s how it feels to me. You and I hardly spend any quality time together any more. I’m happy that you found a job you love but it’s putting a strain on our marriage.”
“Look, the last thing I want is for us to get into another argument.”
“I’m not trying to get into another argument with you. I’m just telling you how I feel. We’re both busy people but we need to make time for each other. It’s very important that we find a balance between our careers and being attentive to each other’s needs.”
Arlene placed her hand on his arm. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I know that we’ve been spending less time together because of my work.
He set the papers aside. “I’m sorry too,” he said. “I know that I may have been too hard on you and not as supportive as I should have been. It’s just that I miss you–us. It has been a while since we’ve made love. There was a time when we had a very healthy sex life. Lately, though, when you come home, you’re too tired. Women can go without sex for a while but it’s hard for men. It’s hard for me. Since we haven’t been making love for a while, I find myself fantasizing–”
Jealousy clawed at her. “About other women?” she demanded.
His expression darkened. “Of course not,” he snapped. “I fantasize about you.”
“Oh.” Relief washed over her. She had heard stories of men fantasizing about other women although they were married or in relationships.
“A husband shouldn’t have to fantasize about making love to his wife, Arlene.”
“You’re right, Hadrian.” She reached out and touched his chest which began to heave as his breath quickened. Yes, it had been a while. As their eyes met, she realized how much she missed this physical contact. “You shouldn’t have to fantasize about me when I’m right here.”
His eyes darkened. “Are you in the mood now for…?”
“Yes,” she murmured as she lowered her head and kissed him on his shoulder. Seeing him shirtless and touching him had put her in the mood.
Groaning, he pushed her down on the carpet and feverishly responded to her kisses. They ended up making love right there on the carpet. When it was over, they showered and had dinner on the terrace.
After that things changed. They made time for each other. Arlene worked regular hours. What she didn’t finish that day, she completed the following day. As soon as she walked out of the office, she switched off her cell. The evenings and weekends belonged to Hadrian and her. If it weren’t for the Corona virus, they would have gone on a long overdue vacation to Turks and Caicos. Still, they found fun and romantic ways to enjoy each other. Arlene was thankful that she didn’t have to quit her job in order to save her marriage.
No job, no matter how much you love it or how big the salary, is worth risking your marriage.