Crushing Crystal

Free Crushing Crystal by Evan Marshall

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Authors: Evan Marshall
week earlier. “A mistake d’unt gotta be a mistake if you put back what you done took. The Lord sees it that way anyhow,” he said.
    Lofton was a dullard but he earned great public admiration for his straightforward honesty. I had to admit, he did seem sweet. Perhaps in his simplicity, Lofton figured out what public relations experts have struggled with for years. How to look like a hero after years of wrongdoing. If only it were that easy with Reilly. All I’d have to do was find Reilly a new wife to replace me once I left. Marital redemption. Maybe I could be on the cover of Time , I laughed and closed my eyes. Thirty seconds later, Operation Wife of Reilly was conceived.
    When I arrived home Sunday night Reilly was already in bed. I tiptoed into the bedroom hoping not to wake him.
    â€œWelcome home, Prudence,” he whispered.
    â€œYou’re still awake?” I asked, leaning across the bed to kiss him.
    â€œHow was Ann Arbor? I saw the highlights on television and it looked like a hell of a game,” Reilly noted.
    You don’t know the half of it.
    â€œIt was a lot of fun,” I dismissed.
    After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I crawled into my familiar bed with Reilly and asked if he was asleep yet.
    â€œNot yet. What’s on your mind?”
    â€œWhat if something happened to me and you wanted to remarry. What would you look for in a wife? I mean, describe your ideal woman.”
    Reilly sighed, exasperated. “Prudence,” Reilly said while turning on his lamp. “You’re my ideal woman. That’s why I married you. Enough with this morbid talk. With all the traveling I do, I’m far more likely to go down in a plane wreck. You don’t see me grilling you about who you’re going to remarry.”
    I didn’t get to sleep until two that morning. Half the time I spent thinking about Matt and our blissfully happy future together. The other half was thinking about how I was going to find a new wife for Reilly, inarguably one of the most decent people I’ve ever known. Good. Kind. Smart. And wonderful. But not the love of my life. Not Matt.
    That night I realized that my whole marriage to Reilly was a reaction to being dumped by Matt. We met at Wharton where Reilly was also earning his MBA. I was a waitress at one of the restaurants near campus where he used to eat his breakfast and read the Journal every morning. There was something about a guy that ate at the same place every morning that was extremely appealing to me at the time. We also had a few classes together where he showed himself to be extremely diligent and committed to making things work. We were both assigned to the same mock project management team in class, and ran into some serious financing and cash flow issues. Other problems were also threatening Acme Widgets’ viability; the company was on the brink of bankruptcy. By midnight, the three other students in our group threw in the towel and said they’d think about solutions the next day. I was so impressed with how Reilly stuck with the task at hand, and finally came up with a workable strategy for the fake company. It was five in the morning, and he looked like he’d been through the spin cycle of the dryer, but the man finished what he started, just as he promised he would. Anyone with that kind of determination was the guy for me, I decided. A month earlier I had put together a list of the five character traits I was looking for in a husband: Stability, consistency, reliability, dependability and sensibility. Reilly was better than a new washing machine.
    He was also cute, funny and had a daffy charm about him. Over the months I grew to really love and respect Reilly. When he asked me to marry him, I saw no reason to decline. I convinced myself that passion is something that would build over time, but was later informed that it was actually the other way around.
    What we lacked in

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