The words over at Three Word Wednesday are drip, hypnotic and sulk.
Here we are again. I did have something written for Wednesday, but it was too “Carrie.” So, here’s a fresh piece (that still feels like it needs work).
Their’s was a love based on collision avoidance.
She’d brag to friends during their courtship that they never, ever, argued. That they were on such a plane where common bickering gained no purchase.
Truth? She was prone to flash-fire emotions; he was a body of cool water that would douse her moods by the depth of his patience.
And from a general sense, it worked; the illusion of bliss.
It was during another flair-up (over the shade of red for an accent wall in their new living room) where things began to change. Like global warming or a pan of water on an old woodstove, his cool waters began to take less and less time to boil.
“We’ve got to eat healthier,” she said, pinching the fleshy part of her underarm in quick, hypnotic movements. “No more butter, no more steak. No deserts. I mean it.”
He was at the stove, gently stirring her favorite chicken mushroom risotto, shaking his head in the affirmative. But the pursed lips and throbbing veins in his head said something else; “Maybe if you’d lay off the half-bottle of wine a night…”
Since he cooked (another division of labor she was quick to toss in her friends’ faces), he also shopped for groceries.
“I’m going with you,” she said. “We’re going to eat healthier, I mean it.”
To depressurize himself in these situations, he waited until her back was turned, so he could give her the finger.
They had barely ventured into the dairy aisle when the slow burn exploded.
“Fat-free sour cream, how big?”
“Just get regular. Fat-free sucks.”
“But you promised,” she said, lips in full pout.
“It’s fucking sour cream,” he said in a low, threatening tone.
His response both shocked and embarrassed her. She dropped the tub on the floor, grabbed her hips, turn on her heel and without looking back, said, “I’ll be waiting in the car.”
The couple’s 13-year-old son stood by the cart, earbud out of his ear, mouth agape.
“She’s a pain in the ass.”
He steered the cart toward the cereal aisle, leaving his son to either escape to the car with his mother, or continue shopping. He trailed after his father, who was having a moral dilemma between Cheerios (her choice) or Frosted Flakes (his preference).
“Ahh, fuck it,” the man said, abandoning the cart. “Let’s go.”
Dinner, usually a jovial affair, was doused in heaviness. The man rested both elbows on the table and sulked, in direct violation of the good manners he preached.
The son chewed slowly, quiet, deliberate.
The wife bowed her head over the plate of simple grilled chicken, roast potatoes, steamed green beans. A tear rolled down her cheek, hung at her chin for a moment and in a single drip, audibly hit the plate.
The boy dropped his silver this a clang and rose.
“Low-fat sour cream, seriously?” he asked. “I mean Jesus, get real.”
And at that, the man reached for her hand, which she turned over and entwined her fingers within his.