Spectral HORROR | Narrated by DYBORG | Season 3, Episode 2.
NoSleep Nightmares (Ep. 15) "My Wife Never Wanted Children" NoSleep by otempora1
I would like to thank otempora1 for letting me use this story.
My Wife Never Wanted Children
My wife never wanted children. Then one day, she tried to decide she didn’t want me anymore either.
I loved her with a hopeless forever kind of love from the day I saw her. It never faded. Seeing her is still the best part of my day. And every Saturday I still bring her breakfast in bed, though she’s still learning how to eat without any teeth. I’m getting ahead of myself.
We had a great story of how we met, repeated at dinner parties and our sunflower-themed wedding. Sometimes I’d pretend to be annoyed but I loved the pride in her voice when she’d tell anyone that he would listen, “He saved my life. In every single way.”
That day, Jan had been driving to the shelter on a Thursday to volunteer as a dog walker. That’s the kind of person she is. She gets home after a long day at the office and then changes into her oldest clothes and heads back out. She specialized in socializing the most aggressive dogs, the ones that were days away from euthanasia if there wasn’t a breakthrough. Jan’s favorite was a Shepherd mix named Rolo who had been partially skinned by his shitbag owner and in turn had nearly completely ripped off her left breast. I’d gone out on that 911 call, too, funnily.
They never bit Jan, though. She was like that. Everyone wanted to be around Jan. A little less so, now.
Anyway, she was on her way there and a delivery truck driver has been driving for 30 hours to pay for his divorce settlement and didn’t even glance up at the stoplight.
She stopped breathing for a full minute and I brought her back.
I check back in the hospital to see if my miracle with the gentle-eyed blond had stuck and it had. Before we knew it I was driving her to her therapy appointments, and pushing her wheelchair around the bookstore and following her like a 200-pound tattooed duckling.
Our first, official date, once she could walk on her own again and only winced a little sitting down and standing up she said it.
“I probably should have told you this a little earlier.” She murmured softly into her panna cotta.
“Oh, shit,” I said out loud, my heart tumbling out of my stomach. “Married?”
She scoffed that away. “Of course not. I’m quite available. Anyway, I like this and I like you and I think you should know that I just never saw myself as a mother.”
“That’s just fine.”
Her hesitant face bloomed into a smile. I didn’t tell that she’d age into wanting them or that she didn’t want kids, generally, but she would realize that she wanted to make me a father. I grasped her hand and told her everything was fine. I knew for an absolute fact that one day she’d see a toddler in a pumpkin costume and everything would change.
She was nearing thirty and that day hadn’t happened just yet. I’d learned patience in the army. I knew it wasn’t kids or Jan, I knew I could have all of it if I was still enough for long enough.
I’d bring it up sometimes and she’d always respond with, “Oh, god no,” or “I’m definitely better off being somebody’s aunt.”
But that isn’t what nearly killed our marriage. I supported her through her social work degree and her opioid addiction while she was still healing from accident. She held my hand when my father succumbed to his tumor in three weeks instead of two years and stroked my head when I told her about the kid’s insides I saw at work that day.
We were a strong, unstoppable, and, if I may say so, very good-looking couple.
Until one day we weren’t. She came home from work and began almost at the end of the conversation, explaining that she would like our divorce to be amenable as possible.
“What divorce?” I sputtered.
She was tired of my strange hours and night terrors. She’d been unhappy all year and has narrowed the possible causes down to me and her job. When she was finding excuses to stay later and later, she knew which one it had to be. She was ready to leave me. She had the papers here. The settlement was very generous because she thought she understood what she owed me. There was nothing to talk about.
I crumpled to the ground and cried for the first time since Afghanistan. She left the papers on the coffee table and carefully stepped over me, out the door, into another man’s arms.
The next few months were bad. I worked until I couldn’t work anymore, until my exhaustion-based mistakes pile up to the point where Paul, my supervisor, ordered me on a month of compassionate leave.
I went everywhere. I wandered the homeless camps where I’m known by name, ordered cups of coffees I didn’t finish in dozens of independently-owned cafes that blend together. I sat so still in parks that young girls asked their mothers whether or not I was dead. I punched the bag at the gym until the tiny bones in my hands shifted into each other. I was a man missing an organ that is crucial yet somehow, incredibly, not vital.
Finally, despite never reading anything longer than a Playboy, I found my way into the “Divorce Help” section of my local library. There is was. In between “Divorce for Dummies” and “Surviving Betrayal” a slim pink book. The title read simply “How to Actually Get What You Actually Want.” The front featured a slim black man shrugging in apparent bewilderment at how someone had gotten his photo. His baffled eyes seem to follow me as I flipped it over.
The testimonials were over-the-top, drivel yet still oddly appealing. One woman asserted that she’d been on her way to swallowing drain cleaner when she read this book and her husband was begging to return to to their marriage within the week. Another man was in danger of losing any custody of his five young daughters when his wife suddenly and irreversibly saw the wisdom of moving to gounging her own eyes out. The last testimonial asserted that after reading this book his wife literally never nagged him again, though he specified that it was because she didn’t have a tongue.
I told that story to Jan and she laughed and laughed. I like to think it helps her learn gratitude.
I’m good to Jan. She eats three times a day and still gets to volunteer at the shelter. Rolo won’t be in the same room as her anymore but she takes the senior dogs on walks.
Marriage is work, though, and we still have our little tiffs. Last month Jan once managed to cram her hand into the food processor in a moment of inattention. I’m not surprised. One of the reasons I always loved her was her determination. I stopped the bleeding and cleaned the stub but I still had her drink it.
The subtitle of the book makes me smile every time I see it:
“The Price is High But Someone Else Pays It.”
I never did return it.
We’re having our baby next week and I think we can both honestly say we’ve never been happier. I’m hoping to post a family portrait next week but it’s hell to get a shot of her where she isn’t crying.
I like to think I saved her life again.
Spectral HORROR is a series on YouTube which narrates true and fictional scary stories.
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