The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
By Sam Reilly
After a weekend away to Graceland, my wife returned with a strong infatuation for Elvis Presley. Adorned with golden hoop earrings and a shirt covered in rhinestones, guitars, and the hip-swinging rock legend himself, she threw open the door of our apartment and proclaimed we had to get out of the ghetto. “Without a proper home,” she said, “we’ll end up in the jailhouse!”
She was wrong about us living in the ghetto. Our apartment was already over our price range. But, Celeste didn’t like when I reminded her of what we could afford. She hated when I suggested Applebee’s instead of Morton’s; that we ended up buying the Prius instead of the Porsche; and when I told her that her housing selection--a 2,000 square foot colonial with Greek columns and salt water pool--was way out of our budget, she again didn’t react well.
“That’s just like you,” she said.
If she meant it was like me to not act reckless with our savings account, then yes…it was like me.
But, it was also like me to make my wife happy, even if that meant more frivolity than I was accustomed to.
Celeste and I met at a Dylan cover band concert in grad-school. The raspy voice of The Bard subtly gave me courage to rebel against a tendency to discount my worth. More explicitly, it gave me the balls to kiss her after only a few hours knowing each other.
I was an idiot, babe.
When we closed on the house that July, I suppose I expected a little more excitement and contentment, but who was I to expect anything? Her infatuation quickly became more of an intense obsession.
She demanded that we make our home like Graceland.
“Mirrors above the fireplace! And drapes—blue drapes!”
A month or two passed in the year of the King before Celeste began complaining about our sex life. I had mastered the missionary position, but that was about as far as my prowess beneath the sheets went. So, when she began her experimentation with handcuffs and role-playing, it caught me off guard. I wore the white, rhinestone covered suit and she begged me to (in her words) “hit her from behind.” But, this was not me. We finished, and she turned on “How’s the World Treating You.” She hummed along and swayed in front of the bathroom mirror while wiping herself with a towel.
And, so my tastes began to evolve in order to keep her attention. During my lunch break, I streamed porn on my phone, fixating on the smacking noises people’s skin make made when the sex was just right. Intimate. There was a time when I could remember Celeste and I melting together perfectly, but times were a-changing…
Autumn came and the early rock classics mellowed to gospel. The raucous, crowd pleasing “Blue Suede Shoes” wandered away into “How Great Thou Art.” “Tutti Frutti” became less inclusive and converted to “He Touched Me.” I could tell this channeling of her exhausted icon in his final stages of celebrity was somehow related to dissatisfaction with our marriage. She stopped waiting up for me after long days of work. My promotion drew little attention. Mostly, she started going to more and more of what she referred to as “Networking Events” with Margaret and Emma and Louise—a group of women the town bluntly referred to as “sluts” because of their propensity for handing out blow jobs at the local watering hole. Bar tabs piled up, and credit card bills filled our mailbox.
It was December and already dark when I got home and looked around the front yard. The numerous lawn gnomes I referred to as the “King of Rocks” were gone. I thought that maybe our time with The Pelvis ended.
I noticed two notes on the front door. One was from the bank, a foreclosure notice, and the other from Celeste. I glanced through the front windows and saw the walls dotted with picture nails, the Graceland clock that mockingly played “Burning Love.”
“I haven’t loved you in a while…”
It was seven p.m. Through the door came:
“I'm just a hunk, a hunk of burning love.
Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love.”