Emma pushed her leftovers around and kept her eyes on the plate; it was a mistake, she loved him, she told herself again as he gazed out of the window, chewing his food in that way that annoyed her—moving the food from side to side, holding it there before taking a gulp of beer—after he placed the plate in the sink he retired silently to his shed with a six-pack to watch TV; the middle of the bed had become a cold divide that kept her awake at night; and the quiet eating, the deliberate chewing, her averted guilt, her silent love, and her hopes for his would resume over breakfast.
How did this happen, this silent imperceptible drifting like two paper swans stranded lifelessly in their own lake, blown slowly apart by the cruelty of time and nature—is this really what marriage becomes?
She’d been flattered by the young man’s attentions over the week—a woman her age, and he so full of life and confidence coming up to her on the beach like that—let me show you a place, he said; Emma followed him foolishly thinking it would make her husband jealous, wishing he’d throw that damn fishing rod into the waves and show some affection on the sand; but he hadn’t even noticed, he remained on his fold-up stool at the shoreline, his hand on the reel as she lay in the cold, dark hut full of other people’s litter, the saltiness of the sea on the towel underneath her listening to the young man’s affections before pushing him away—’I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘it’s been a huge mistake’—she ran back into sunlight hoping her husband was still fishing.
Written for Three Line Tales, Week 97.
Image credit: Bogdan Dada via Unsplash.