Friday, 2 October 2009

Something Wrong

Something was wrong. I looked over the newspapers. Jane was quiet, eating her toast. She was quiet. She’s never quiet. In the thirty-six years of our marriage, she was never quiet. I had gotten used to tuning out her chatter while scanning the business portion of the morning paper. I looked at her over the paper again. She was still eating her breakfast - quietly. A welcome relief. But certainly something must be the matter.


She didn’t even look up. She must be angry. Maybe it’s her birthday? Our anniversary? I scanned the landscape of our important dates. Nothing.


She got up and took her cup and plate to the sink, saying nothing.

‘Well, fine then, if you’ll be like that.’

I straightened out my folded paper with some noise and pretended I was greatly absorbed by it. And then the doorbell rang. I wondered whether she would ignore it, just to make me get the door. No, she quickly dried her hands, and went straight to the door, stopping only to touch up her hair. That’s my Jane – never angry for more than a meal. She opened the door, and Mark, my business partner, walked into the hall. I rose from the table. What could be the matter? He never came in the morning. Maybe there was an emergency at the office. He gave her a rather overly familiar hug, I could see that much from the table. I made a mental note to mention to her just how inappropriate that was later. I was still standing at the dining table when they started talking. I couldn’t hear much, it all sounded muffled. Why don’t they come in? I cleared my throat, khmmmmmm. That should be enough. But they kept talking and even walked couple of steps into the hall, moving away from my direct view. What on earth is happening? Maybe there was a fire at the warehouse and they don’t want to upset me.

I walked two steps toward the door and could hear Mark’s baritone. I resented feeling as if I’m eavesdropping in my own house.

‘I know, Jane, it was such a surprise to us all. It all happened so fast, we never had time to say good-bye. But at least he would have liked to know that his friends are there for you. Such a pity, for a vivacious woman like you…’

Good-bye to whom? Who would have liked? What the hell is going on?

‘Oh, it’s all right. I had gotten used to it – it has been a year already. Funny how quickly things change, one moment you are a married woman, and the next, you’re a widow.’

I heard Jane’s voice, as if through the glass door. It was warm and moist, just as it used to sound at the beginning of our marriage.

They walked into the dining room, right next to me, right through me.

‘You know, Mark, sometimes I forget he’s gone. I keep thinking he’s still there at the other side of the table, reading his papers, drinking his coffee. Funny how thirty-five year habit plays tricks with my mind.’

She glanced at him, sweetly, the way she used to glance at me.

‘But, anyway… why don’t you come in, I was just about to bake a lasagna, you mentioned you liked my lasagna…”

1 comment:

Fran said...

I loved this. I had no idea where it was going...

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