Darnell and Lisa Morales decided to divorce Tuesday evening after spending more than 72 hours together without the air conditioning, internet, or television needed for their marriage, and society in general, to remain civil.
The Morales' 11-year marriage is the latest wreckage caused by Hurricane Irma, which has reportedly already caused upwards of 250 break ups, 180 called-off-engagements, and 110 divorces, numbers that are expected to rise dramatically after your spouse finds out how much it will cost to remove that fallen tree. You know, the one they asked you to trim months ago!
As for the Moraleseseses, the tension began to build between the normally blissful couple the Wednesday before Irma hit. Darnell insisted the couple "ride out the storm" at their South Miami home while Lisa wanted to leave and "not just willingly stay in the path of the biggest fucking storm to ever hit Florida." Ultimately, however, Lisa capitulated to her husband and agreed to "wait here and just needlessly suffer, Darnell, even though we don't have to, if that's what you really want."
"It will be an adventure," Darnell told his wife after she passively agreed. "We'll be fine, you'll see."
After spending several days nervously watching local news reports about the storm in their shuttered and darkened home and failing to pick up literally any useful emergency provisions from crowded stores, the couple fell asleep in each other's arms Saturday evening only to be awoken by the sound of a large tree falling in their backyard.
"I guess the powers out..." said Darnell as he turned on the one flashlight he found buried in his kitchen's junk door. "Let's go back to sleep," he said to his wife, who obliged but was quietly freaking the fuck out inside about how loud the winds were. It was really scary.
By the next afternoon the couple's cell phones had run out of juice so they spent the day quietly staring off into the inactive TV, flipping through but not really reading magazines, and eating literally every snack they had in the house.
"I feel so disgusting," Lisa told her husband as she ate a fourth bag of Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies. When the winds began to calm Sunday evening the couple went outside to survey the damage.
"It's not as bad as it could have been," Darnell said as he looked over their yard which contained several down trees. "We might not get power back for a while" Darnell said as his wife just took it all in.
Without the internet, television, or junk food to distract them from each other's faults, the couple, who was also wildly uncomfortable from more than 24 hours without AC, began to slowly resent each other.
"When do you think the power will turn on?" Lisa asked Darnell for the thousandth time.
"I don't know, babe! Not for a while. Can we just try to relax? I have a headache."
"So do I! It's because we're dehydrated and its like 100 degrees in here."
"Yeah, I know. What do you want me to do about? I'm suffering too."
"I don't see why we couldn't have just left like I wanted to. We could be in a hotel in Ashville right now."
"Can you stop bringing that up? We're here. I wanted to be here in case our house got damaged."
"Why would you want us to stay in a house you were worried would be damaged? It makes no sense, we may not get power back for a month!"
"Lisa, I can't right now. Can you just fucking stop!"
For the next several hours the couple took turns sucking on the already melting ice from their freezer and putting wet towels on their head.
By Monday evening they finally left the house to just sit in their car's AC, where they were able to charge their phones briefly. Without cell phone service or internet, however, the two just sort of scrolled through pictures and ignored each other as they stared into their devices; Lisa angry she was forced to stay in these conditions by Darnell, Darnell angry his wife was making him feel so badly about what he knew was a stupid decision.
"Let's just sleep in the car tonight with the AC!" said Darnell.
"We can't sleep in the car, we'll die of suffocation."
"What do you mean? Not if we are not parked in a garage, right?"
"No, I think its dangerous even if you are parked outside."
"Do you want to risk it?"
"Fuck!" screamed Darnell, as he typed in "Will I die if.I sleep in my car" into Google but couldn't get any service to find out whether he would or not.
"Fuck!!!!" he screamed again at the thought of spending another night sweating in his dark and humid house.
"This is why I wanted to leave!"
"Lisa, enough! I get it. Can you just stop telling me this every 10 minutes and making me feel bad."
"You're scaring me. I'm going inside," said Lisa as she left her husband to contemplate whether he should sleep in his car, and potentially die, or return to the wretchedly hot home and sweat through another night. He briefly cried to himself before deciding to go back inside.
The next day the couple barely said a word to each other. They took a drive around the neighborhood to awe at the many down trees but found most of the roadways around their house blocked or flooded and no stores open to provide air condition or cold drinks.
"I know this isn't ideal, but I'm sure we'll get power back soon," said Darnell as his wife looked off in the distance and quietly cried to herself.
"Why did you make me go through this? I hate this!" Lisa said to her husband.
"We're in an air conditioned car! What more do you want right now?"
"I want to not be in the middle of this fucking disaster area! God, I hate you so much right now!"
It was the first time she ever said that to him, and it hurt him to hear and her to say. "You don't mean that," he said and quietly drove back to the house.
For the next 24 hours the couple alternated between rehashing this argument and several other dormant arguments from throughout their years together that both had thought were resolved but apparently weren't. By Tuesday late afternoon Darnell finally said:
"So if I'm so awful and don't listen to your feelings then why are we even together? You don't have to be with me, Lisa."
"Maybe I won't then."
As the words left Lisa's mouth the couple stared at each other, both surprised as what the other was saying and how easy it was to say it. Was it possible this is what they really wanted? Would they be better off separated? At least for a while? They had been together for so long, maybe this was for the best."
"What are you saying?" Darnell asked his wife, his heart racing.
"I don't know. I think I may want a..." an electrical buzz stopped Lisa mid-sentence. "What was that?"
"I don't know. What were you going to say?"
"I was saying that I think I may want a..." suddenly another loud electrical buzz sounded, followed by the lights turning on and the sound of the air conditioner kicking in.
Darnell and Lisa stared at each other silently in a moment of elation before running toward each other in a loving, but disgustingly sweaty, embrace.
"WE HAVE POWER!" the couple screamed in unison as they danced around the house. After a few more moments of unadulterated joy, Darnell stopped his wife.
"Wait, what were you going to say? Do you want to get a divorce?"
"No! Of course not, I was just hot. I love you."
"I love you too."