Alicia and Kyle are tired of arguing. That's all they seem to do lately making their marriage shaky at best. In an attempt to bring them closer and save their marriage, they go on a romantic cruise to the Greek isles. Things are copasetic between them until Kyle becomes jealous of an entertainer's attention toward Alicia. They have an argument and Alicia falls overboard.
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“I can’t believe you went out with Doug and Rich last night,” Alicia Anders screamed at her husband, Kyle.
“Why not? It was Doug’s birthday and I’ve known the guy since grade school—”
“Yeah, I’ve heard that before. Going with me to the showing was so more important—”
“I know, on so many levels,” Kyle interrupted.
Alicia’s eyes narrowed to slits. One is a social thing— if you can call it that. The other concerns my career,” she said gesturing with her hands like a scale weighing the two events.
“What do you want from me, Alicia?”
“All I want is for you to act like my husband, for a change.”
“Whose husband do you think I act like?”
“Stop it, Kyle. You know exactly what I mean.”
“Really? Because half the time you’re being so irrational lately.” He turned to leave the kitchen.
“Where are you going? We’re not finished discussing this matter,” Alicia said.
“You may have more to say, but I don’t. In fact, I have better things to do with my time.”
“Yeah, like watching some stupid football or soccer game.”
Kyle didn’t answer. Instead, he grabbed his coat and left the apartment, taking the elevator down to the lobby. It was a chilly October night. After a warm summer in Manhattan, the weather had changed quickly with the temperatures dropping rapidly. He waved to the guy manning the desk and headed out, zipping up his jacket. Thinking that a stiff drink might be in order, Kyle headed down William Street to a bar several blocks away. He needed to think. Hell, that’s all he did lately— that is when he wasn’t verbally sparring with Alicia.
He pulled the collar of his leather jacket tighter around his neck. He looked up at the sky, noticing the clouds had rolled in blotting out the moon and stars, making the night drearier. At least it wasn’t raining. He hadn’t taken an umbrella with him. Several other people passed him, walking briskly. With Uber and Lyft available, many people used their services instead of walking. He and Alicia used to love to walk, exploring the city. They often found hidden treasures just like the quiet bar that he was heading for. Driving by, it would’ve been missed. It was located down a flight of stairs.
Kyle followed two men down the stairs and into the bar, which was aptly called
The Last Stop. There was an empty seat at the bar, which he took. Unzipping his jacket, he sat on an old-fashioned bar stool between an elderly man and a thirty-something guy. Bottles of liquor were displayed on glass shelves over an ancient looking cash register. In fact, the entire decor looked like it came from the 1920s. Perhaps, it was one of those speakeasies operating during Prohibition. He visualized having to knock on the door, while someone opened the small peephole and scrutinized him, before allowing him entry. The bar was a relic with numerous cigarette burns and initials carved into it. It ran practically from one end of the place to the other. That might sound tremendous, but it was a small place emitting cozy feelings. Against the wall to his right, Kyle saw an old Wurlitzer standing, most likely possessing records from the 50s. That’s probably when the machine stopped working. The walls were covered with neon advertising for beer and liquor companies. Several of them had lights that flickered or had gone out completely. Luckily, Kyle did not come here for the decor.
There was one bartender, a woman with red hair and piercings in her lips and eyebrow. She walked over to Kyle and asked what he was having in a smoke-laced, deep voice. Kyle ordered a bourbon and water, starting a tab. The bartender poured the drink in front of him and left to see what another man wanted.
Kyle’s mind immediately went back to Alicia. It hadn’t always been one argument after another. When they first met nearly 8 years before on a beach at Fire Island, it had been marvelous. Not the fact that they had been hit by a huge breaking wave and had been dropped by the retreating wave into a heap of arms and legs, but the laughter that had ensued and electricity that had passed between them. And that they had been together ever since.
He remembered the first real glimpse of Alicia as she emerged from the ocean, like a black Venus on the half shell, with her perfectly proportioned body that rose on long shapely legs, a toned stomach and large breasts covered by a skimpy bikini bra. She possessed a swanlike neck that beckoned to be nibbled on. But, it was her beautiful face that truly captivated him. Her café au lait skin stretched across high, exotic cheekbones and when she smiled, her full lips parted revealing perfect teeth.
“Another?” the bartender asked, interrupting Kyle’s thoughts. He hadn’t even realized that he’d finished his drink. He nodded, and another was placed before him in minutes.
Kyle took a long sip before replacing the glass back down onto the bar. He was wondering if he could merely walk away from his marriage and push aside all the good times, of which there were so many. He knew he couldn’t, but how long could he continue to endure the petty arguments that seem to erupt day after day? Something had to give. They had to change. After all, it took two to fight. They shared the guilt. Likewise, he knew it would take the efforts of both of them to correct the problems.
Being a financial analyst, Kyle set his mind to finding a solution. A good first step would be to make an appointment to see a marriage counselor. However, even before that crucial first step, he needed something to ignite and jumpstart the old feelings that brought them together in the first place. He continued to sip his drink while his mind sought out this trigger. And then it came to him.
Kyle finished the remainder of his drink. He settled his bill and left a tip for the bartender before rushing home. He found Alicia in bed, a book on her lap, surrounded by wads of used tissues. Kyle sat down on the bed and leaned back against the headboard. He drew Alicia closer to him. She didn’t resist. Sensing this was a good sign that her feistiness was over, he wrapped his arm around her. She lowered her head to his chest and began to sob. “Kyle, what’s happened to us?”
“Shhh, baby,” he murmured. “We’re still us.”