Until my last rejection, I never paid much attention to the ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ school of thought. I know the theory and I happen to be married to a man who has his share of Martian. But since he’s deliciously human most of the time, I don’t dwell.

So what if we approach life differently? That’s one of the things I love about him. I also love that he accepts my obsession with writing. That he’ll talk character development and submission strategy. That he’ll read the occasional chapter or brainstorm a nasty plot knot. That he brought me flowers once when I got a rejection.

He is supportive. Hugely so. In case you missed that part.

But a few weeks ago his Martian side flared. And I’ve been running scared ever since.

I’d gone east to see a family member. Before leaving, I reminded him that internet connections could be spotty at my destination. They were. For some reason, I could download email from my personal account but not my professional one. Since I had a full submission out and was expecting a response, I was antsy. (And, yes, I could have alerted the editor that I was leaving town but I optimistically hoped to access my mail. Plus, I didn’t want to give the impression I was nudging for an answer.) When I realized there was an issue, I asked the Martian back home to check my professional account once a day and let me know if there was anything from the publishing house.

He didn’t. To be fair, he had stuff happening. Work stuff. Home stuff. Teenager-getting-his-first-car and having-an-accident-two-days-later stuff. And a kitchen reno he was trying to finish as a surprise for my homecoming (Clearly the whole reno thing is a Martian trait; I would have been happier returning to a clean house and dinner reservations).

By Friday when my son’s accident happened and my relative took a fall, I didn’t think to ask about email. I was simply relieved everyone was still alive. Besides, it was the weekend. I’d be home Sunday. I’d deal with email Monday.

The Martian had a better idea.

His greeting as I came through the arrivals door was loving and warm. He knew my trip had been trying; he was being his usual supportive self. After collecting my bag, we headed to the car.

“What’s that paper on the dashboard?” I asked as he stowed my luggage in the trunk.

“Oh, that’s your rejection letter.”

I laughed. “No. Seriously. What is it?”

“Seriously,” he said. “That’s the rejection letter. I downloaded your email like you wanted me to.”

I still didn’t believe him. My Martian has a wicked sense of humor. Nevertheless, my laughter trickled to a stop. “It’s an acceptance, right? That’s why you brought it?” I was mentally jumping ahead to a waterfront table at my favorite restaurant. Champagne. Sablefish in a brown butter reduction.

He shook his head. “No. It’s a rejection.” Compassion flared in his brown eyes. “I’m sorry.”

My stomach turned upside down. “You brought my rejection letter to the airport?” I don’t think I screamed but people did stare. Who brings a rejection letter to the airport? Who puts it face up on the dash where anyone can read it? “What were you thinking?”

“I thought you’d want to know and face it and plan your next step,” he said as he reached the driver’s side. “I didn’t think you’d want to wait.”

I stared at him across the roof of our spaceship. Emotions danced across his face: sadness, disappointment, confusion. He clearly thought he’d done the right thing. He obviously felt bad. “It’s okay,” I said, squelching celebratory thoughts and climbing into my seat for lift off. It wasn’t okay on any level but why beat up a Martian? Especially one you love. “Let’s just fly on home.”

My Venus peeps were waiting.

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