From three o’clock in the morning till his mom’s neighbor arrived at ten a.m., Caleb found himself unable to get comfortable on that broken down futon. He was accustomed already to ongoing back problems and the mattress sagged in almost a foot, but this was not the problem this morning. With no driver's license, he had grown irritated at having to hitch a ride to his mother's house late last night.
All his life and especially for the last few years he had grown accustomed to living without any luxuries with the exception of one item. The XBOX 360 laid safely on his mother’s dresser right across from the room. This was the one item that he was proud of and the woman who bore his last name would not deprive him of this, even though she claimed it was hers. Under no circumstance would she keep him from being there for his sickly mother either.
Everyone claimed that the marriage wouldn’t work out. There was a significant age difference between them. His bride was barley 19 and a member of the U.S. Air Force. According to Caleb, “I can’t even fart without her permission.” Still, logically she was his best chance of having a somewhat stable home and access to medical attention, even if she was trying to control his every move. Due to the recent loss of one of his eyes after contracting an infection didn’t help in the process of finding suitable income. There was no hope now of wearing contacts again. He was unable to overcome the possibility that the infection could be contracted again and his other eye would be gone as well. This was another hard blow to the ego of an attractive 34 year old man who wasn’t fully ready to consider himself old and retired.
Up until now his life had been a series of failed attempts at relationships and sticking to potential job related opportunities. There was also that felony on his record. This would always be there to haunt him even though it was just a stupid attempt at trying to show off in front of his friends. He hated remembering the screw ups.
Caleb’s daughters sometimes had the opportunity to visit, but circumstances and that ever increasing failure list along with their nagging mothers kept him from being a proper father. Nagging was saying it nicely and insane ex girlfriend was a better way of labeling them but mother always said "you need to be nice and forgive." Always happy to have the little one's around but too depressed to interact with any of them, he would sleep the day away and allow who ever else was there to tend to the little girl’s needs.
The little brown Pug, who also belonged to his mother and would often use the restroom in front his bedroom door found a comfortable and warm spot right at the back of his neck along the hairline while looking for a bit of warmth and comfort. “Man she needs a bath.” The smell of a dirty dog would not move him from the uncomfortable spot that molded to his slender frame. It was comforting to have another lonely individual there beside him even if it was a stinky little dog that refused to go outside when it mattered the most. At least someone was showing him affection and that they cared.
By tonight things would play out like they always do. The wife would show up late and wanting to make up. She would then remind him of their first prenatal check up they needed to attend in a couple weeks but no appointment had actually be set for. After that would come the cuddling and attempted coercing while trying to get him to move back home with her. It was always the same every time a fight occurred.
Perhaps he would give in just once more, but time was running out for the young bride. Not even being sure that there would ever be actual love between them, it was still worth trying to make things work out as long as possible.
It didn’t matter that the pregnancy could very well be a controlling tactic from her. In six months she would be leaving for Alaska. Those plans were unchangeable in her eyes since signing up for the service she intended to accept her orders diligently, even if those deployment orders took her to some unforgiving frozen tundra. She would not change them even for the chance of having a child with her husband. Six months and things would change once more and Caleb’s hopes may once again be shattered.