Rudy is feeling down, questioning himself, his life, wondering where it all went wrong. Wondering why, when he has worked himself to the bone, he can’t seem to get himself on track, find a job that will not only provide financially, but more so, will satiate his need to be a productive human being. He needs me, needs my support during this dire time, a time he’s feeling underwhelmed and depleted, without hope.
I find it curious when listening in on, being a part of, conversations that select women have, whether it’s happened to them or not, how they wouldn’t stand for their husband not adding to the bank account, that in fact they’d kick him to the curb, which is then validated by women who had already done so, not wanting to deal with such a dead-beat kind of guy, and how much better their life had become since they’d lost the weight.
I don’t get it. Life is full of obstacles that come and go, beat you up, push you down, and expect you to get right back up, and try again. I listen quietly as women, who seem to live in relationships with conditions, bash the men who aren’t living up to the standard of what they believe a male provider to be. The kind of man Rudy has become. Or, so they’d say, most likely when I’m not listening, and they’d add how they can’t understand why I’d allow him to hang around.
I don’t question the fact that I’ve never wavered, never considered stepping out, looking for someone else who’s, what? better?, because I announced during our vows, for better or worse, that’d I be with Rudy until, well, death do us part. I married Rudy simply because I truly like him as a person. So, as I listen to these women, the ones who wouldn’t put up with such nonsense, I realize that it’s most likely possible that the person, their husband they denounced as unfit, wasn’t the right person for them in the first place.
Rudy has spent his life honing his skills in the dyeing business. Over the years he learned his craft of coloring fabric to the specifications of individual clients, perfecting the combinations of dyes, always presenting an exact match to their color-coded swatch. Several years ago, due to the economy, the highly paid position Rudy had earned by persevering during his life’s work, fell through the cracks of the company’s bankruptcy. Over the following several years, he worked overseas at a dye house, went to culinary school (as a possible career change), and accepted a color-analyst position in Arkansas. After two years of feeling lonely, living in the Ozarks, Rudy began to wonder if the income was worth more than the relationship with his family.
Here, I believe, is when his grieving began, that has left him waiting, desperately, for someone to reach out and use his skills. Rudy just quit Arkansas. Walked out of the job and returned to California, happy. Ironically, and sadly, having Rudy home, cooking gourmet meals, doesn’t uncomplicate life. A career, specifically for a man, is a validation, a contribution to society as a functioning citizen. And this is where Rudy’s midlife crisis comes in, wondering why after a lifetime of hard work he finds himself slouching on the couch cushions, struggling with the fact that those he’s worked with, who he helped both personally and professionally, who valued his input, and appreciated his work ethics, aren’t anywhere to be found during his time of need.
Read more from Daphne Romero on her blog,