My wife still doesn't know that I've been fired from my job as the "photocopy guy" (at an accounting firm) for over three weeks now. For the first two weeks, I hid out in a café near my former place of employment while entertaining myself with garage sale goods. I've now been banned from all this city's cafés because all are claiming that my "stuff" takes up too much space inside their establishments and leaves none for their "paying customers" (an exclusive club of which, apparently, I'm not a member of).
Every day since this all-city, all-café ban, I've been taking the subway with my wife as she goes to work and I get off at my station, pretending to go to my own job. I then make my way to an alley where all my garage sale wares are hidden underneath tons of restaurant trash, and proceed to lug my old wooden wagon and shopping cart filled with things like an ancient exercise treadmill and a giant 1980s rear-projection television with wood paneling as I search for a place to plug in all my things and then play with them.
I also have to wear some of my second hand purchases just so I don't have to physically transport them. This includes a fabulous floor length, faux fur coat worn over a pair of extra thick, overalls-style snow pants, and a faux raccoon hat with a tail that reaches down to my derrière.
I've been pushing and pulling my property across this city for eight hours a day for six sweltering days now and I still haven't found a place where they will just allow me inside to fully enjoy my belongings. Yesterday, at 4:30pm, with only thirty minutes left before I had to meet up with my wife, I sat atop my heap of possessions and broke down, crying, and exclaiming, "My life sucks."
It was high time to end this ruse or as I like to call it, my "Charade Parade Masquerade".
I hauled my wagon and steered my shopping cart toward a public outdoor pool in a park and when I was certain no one was looking, I shoved everything into the water, including the faux fur and snow pants which I just ripped off my body. I thought this was an ingenious way of getting rid of all this "baggage" without taking up anymore of anyone's space since it would all be under water and no one would have to see it or deal with it.
My stuff, however, made a loud splash as it landed into the water and people yelled things like, "What do you think you're doing?" and "You almost killed my four-year-old! He was swimming right under your junk avalanche!" and "Don't run away! You can't just leave all your garbage in this pool!" but I didn't let on that I could hear anything as I sprinted out of the park as fast as my feet could take me.
When my wife and I arrived home from the subway, my wife exhausted from a long day at work, and myself completely beat from having to heave a lifelong supply of crap across town for over a week now, I felt the time was prime for the Charade Parade Masquerade to be unmasked. I would tell my lovely wife the truth.
ME: I have something to tell you.
MY WIFE: What is it?
I looked into her eyes. They appeared so drained of energy, and compassion, and gave off a hue of slightly "pissed off".
MY WIFE: Well... what is it? Tell me already, for crying out loud. I had a really long, horrible day at work. And you're making it worse right now.
I swallowed hard. I was so scared.
ME: I got a promotion.
MY WIFE (disbelieving, and maybe annoyed): What? How?
I nodded my head excitedly. Repeatedly.
ME: It's true. I barely believe it myself.
MY WIFE (skeptical): What's your new position?
ME: I'm the branch manager.
MY WIFE: But you're not even an accountant.
ME: I didn't need to be. They just wanted someone to manage all the accountants and since everyone's always doing what I tell them to, they thought I'd be perfect.
MY WIFE: Did they give you a raise?
ME: Yeah. And a signing bonus.
MY WIFE: How much?
ME: Seventy-five thousand dollars.
MY WIFE: Oh my God, Eric, that is such fantastic news!
My wife threw her arms around me and hugged me, squeezing me.
MY WIFE: Let's celebrate! I'm inviting everyone over!
Within a few hours, we had a full-blown party, with a caterer being called in at the last minute and family driving in from out of town. Aunts, uncles, and cousins that I hadn't seen in ages, all raced to our home, from both my family and my wife's. We had a blast, and I got completely wasted and danced the night away.
As I swung my wife around the living room which was transformed into a impromptu dance floor, my wife looked up at me, in a romantic daze.
MY WIFE: Let's have a baby. We can afford it now.
ME: We can afford to have a multiple birth now. That's right. We'll see the doctor tomorrow and they can start pumping you full of drugs.
MY WIFE: Oh Eric...
ME: And you can quit your job tomorrow too if you want.
My wife held onto me tightly. It was the best night of my life.
When I woke up this morning, I found my wife in the washroom, with a smile on her face, and some kind of plastic swizzle stick in her hand.
MY WIFE: I'm pregnant.
We instantaneously hugged.
ME: Let's have another party tonight!
MY WIFE: All right.
ME: I'll be right back. I have to do something.
I ran out the door, thinking I am so poor. How am I going to raise a child and support my wife who's no longer working? We have absolutely nothing. We have no right having a child.
I was going back to the public pool. I wanted my snow pants back.