Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award-winning novels "Monster", "Wounded", the poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and the new novel "Love and Happiness" He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben Burgess Jr uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book "Times Have Changed and Life is Strange" and his novel "Monster" are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan. Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management and an MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.
LOVE AND HAPPINESS:
Are you ready to taste what the fuss is about? Read the excerpt below:
Chris and I were driving to the Roosevelt Field mall to get outfits for my company’s Christmas party. As usual, he criticized everything I did.
“Jesus, babe. Can you speed the fuck up? You drive too damn slow.”
“I didn’t know we were in a rush to get to the mall,” I said snidely.
“We’re not, but I’d like to get there sometime today.”
“Next time, you fucking drive then. Better yet, we can take separate cars, so I don’t have to hear you complain.”
“Damn. You’re extra bitchy today. Is it that time of the month?”
“Chris…oooh, I can’t deal with you right now.”
We parked, walked through the mall and roamed around Express looking for outfits. I was really feeling the dress I tried on until Chris looked at me and scrunched up his face.
“What?” I asked, feeling self-conscious.
“You like that one, huh?”
I rolled my eyes and sighed.
“What’s wrong with it?”
“It’s not bad, but it’s not the most flattering on you.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’m just saying, it’s a little clingy, and it makes you look chunky.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. I was coming apart at the seams, but I’d be damned if I’d cry here and embarrass myself in public. I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand, went into the dressing room, took off the dress, and slammed it back on the rack.
“Are you happy now?” I asked him.
“Stop being so sensitive.”
“Stop being such an asshole, you insensitive prick. You know I’ve been dieting. I’ve actually lost fifteen pounds.”
“I know, and that’s good, but you still have a little ways to go, and that outfit wasn’t your best, that’s all I’m saying. I’m not trying to be a dick about it.”
“It’s too late for that.”
Chris threw up his hands and walked away.
We went from store to store; Chris thought he was being discreet when he checked out other women, but I noticed. It made me feel insecure when I saw him staring at women who looked like the size I used to be when I first met him.
An hour later we went home and got ready for the party. I put on a dress that I knew he liked, and then fixed my hair in the bathroom mirror. Chris sprayed on his Polo sport cologne and shook his head as he passed me.
“What is it now, Chris?”
“If you’re going to give me a fucked up attitude, don’t worry about it.”
“Say what you want to say.”
“Your hair looks better when you wear it up with that dress.”
Out of frustration, I styled my hair the way he wanted it. I felt like I was always doing things the way he wanted them. It seemed like he didn’t like me anymore and nothing I did was good enough for him.
I stood in the doorway of our bedroom while he fixed his tie in the mirror.
“You never acknowledge any of the positive things I do or qualities I have. You’re always quick to comment on my flaws. You don’t appreciate what I sacrifice to make you happy,” I said.
“Look, drop this drama queen shit. I’m not fighting with you before we go to this party. I didn’t mean anything bad by it, all right?”
I put the argument on hold for the time being. In his mind, I know that was his way of saying he was sorry, but that wasn’t an apology to me.
We drove the entire thirty-minute ride to the party in silence. The radio was off, and we were both lost in our thoughts. Once we got there, we went through the motions and acted like the perfect happy couple, but I was hurting inside.
When we got home, I decided to put all our bickering aside and make love to my husband. While Chris pleased me sexually, our busy work schedules had reduced our lovemaking to mundane quickies. I knew if I was bored, he must be too.
To spice things up, I’d read magazines, watched porn, and gathered tips from my friends. He loves lacy lingerie, so I wore my black bustier, black French cut panties, and fishnet stockings. I lit scented candles and put on soft jazz to set the ambiance in the bedroom. Chris walked in.
“Damn!” he said.
He tugged on my lingerie to take it off. I couldn’t hide my smile. His hands hungrily roamed my body.
“Easy, baby. Enjoy what you’re looking at.”
I felt self-conscious as he groped me because his earlier comment about me looking chunky, kept replaying in my mind.
We made love. I used a lot of the new ideas I learned to spice things up, but he didn’t seem to notice. Chris always has the decency to make sure I cum, but again we ended up having another quickie because he had to wake up early the next morning. He rolled over on his side and went to sleep almost immediately after. I frowned, shook my head and stared at the ceiling. Was it me? Is this how marriage was supposed to be? Had we both gotten too comfortable?
I decided I’d start going to the gym and get a personal trainer. I hoped working with a trainer would change me enough that even Chris would have to say something positive about it. I didn’t imagine how much it would change me.