Stan stood motionless, the ruled sheet of paper trembled in his hand. A grip, cold as ice clutched him, just where his heart was meant to be. He sighed.
Their marriage had come to such an end that when he walked in through the door, he hadn’t even noticed that she was gone. It was the letter, leaning next to the toaster oven when he went in search of dinner, which spelled out the facts.
I’ve tried to tell you, but you were always too busy.
On first reading, the line welled in him with anger. When, just when did she try? He ransacked his mind. She always wanted too many things. Like the holiday she was always proposing. Just the two of them. Those ridiculously expensive cooking lessons. Just the two of them. She sulked for a week, wouldn’t even look at him, when he refused her. Then she was besotted with the whim that led to joining a book club since he always said he wished he had more time to read. Just the two of them. She also had silly notions, like volunteering together at the shelter, since his hectic schedule wouldn’t allow time to have a cat or a dog. Just the two of them.
No, Stan shook his head, she never tried to tell him anything. He wondered if the children knew. Of course, they’d side with their mother. Children didn’t know the ins and outs of the mechanics of marriage.
Stan dropped the flimsy note, and reached for a fridge door, pulled it open and saw that she had set a plate with his favorite meat pies, and mashed potatoes, on the top shelf next to a six-pack of his favorite beer. As if that would appease him. He slammed the door on the microwave, set the timer for two minutes. Trapped within the minutes of waiting, the house seemed empty. A stillness where a heartbeat should be.
Of course, he could call the children, the in-laws, and his parents and ask if they had any news of her whereabouts. He guzzled half of his beer in one go. But that would be embarrassing, and he wasn’t in the mood to grovel. This was after all: just between the two of them.
By Monika R. Martyn
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