Solemn, Natalie walked through the door of their home, a 1930’s Bungalow, a few miles outside of Emmett on the Old Black Canyon Highway. The five acres it sat on and the mature trees offered a nice level of privacy. It was a cute little place, with ornate details, lots of built-ins, a beautiful old growth, fir floors. It was just a rental, but Natalie loved it as her own. It was always clean and she kept it just so. The flowers were all dead now, down for their winter naps, but Natalie had a quite a green thumb. During the fair weather months, their quaint little cottage and beautifully landscaped yard could appear on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. As lovely as it was, financially it was a bit of a stretch at eleven hundred a month plus all the utilities. Kevin could be happy living in a single wide out in the weeds, but Natalie liked nice things; so that was that.
Kevin was drinking Coors on the couch when Natalie entered. He was almost afraid to ask, but as was customary, “How was your day, Hun?” Natalie just shook her head, put down her keys and shrugged off her purse. She looked absolutely defeated, like a stray, injured dog out in the cold.
“Babe, you gotta get outta there,” Kevin reasoned. “Just quit, we’ll be okay.”
“I’m trying, Kevin, but not until I have another job,” was always her reply.
“Nat,—NO job that pisses on your whole day and sends you to the pillow in tears is worth it, and Bolts-Inc. sure as hell ain’t worth it.”
“Don’t you think I know that, Kevin?! I cannot quit until I find another job!”
“I understand that, babe, but c’mon! It ain’t worth it!”
“You don’t understand, Kevin. It’s so easy for you to say, we’ll be okay, but you’ve said that before and we wound up living in fucking van at the tail end of winter! Or do you not remember?——Well I remember, and I’m not living in in a goddam van again, EVER. We are barely getting by! There is no way on God’s green earth I can quit my job, and we will be okay in any way, shape or form! Jesus, you just need to grow up.”
“Fuckin’ whatever, Natalie, I guess this conversation is over.”
“You think?!” She rushed to the bedroom in tears, anxiety and panic her companions. Kevin remained on the couch with Miss Coors and she soothed him. He wished Nat could just chill. Have a beer or whatever and chill the fuck out. She was always so stressed and the bigger part of that was that crappy job.
Natalie cried into her pillow, seeing no way out… no-way-out. She could call her parents and ask for money, but even if they gave it, the price was way too high. The lecturing, the, I told you so, and the blow to her pride. She just could not face that right now. Amy Ward had always forced her daughter to grovel in the past while Dean bellowed his drunken conjectures in the background. No, no thank you very much, not happening. What sick satisfaction did her mother derive from breaking Natalie down anyway?? Natalie suspected it was a simple case of, shit runs downhill. Of course it does. These days she would rather step aside than be buried in their waste....