I met Libby through an online dating site after I graduated college. Our “In Tune” rating was exceptionally high. I tended to get nervous and tongue-tied around women, but it was different with Libby. We had so much in common we finished each other’s sentences half the time. I was so taken with Libby, I found myself growing more and more concerned about her spending time with anyone else.
I am a dutiful wife.
It’s Monday. Every Monday and Thursday, I visit Lucas. I always bring new flowers, and since it’s the summer they’re from my own garden. There are daisies and tulips and baby’s breath. It doesn’t matter what I add to the water, or how I snip them, they are always dead when I come the next time. The staff will have ensured there are no dead leaves scattered around the vase on his windowsill, but the stems will remain, withered stalks decaying in their coffin.
A chunk of ash-blonde hair, not yet white like the rest, is matted to Willa’s perspiring forehead. Her body is pasted to the damp sheet that’s pulled off the bottom corners of the sofa-sleeper, eliminating the soft barrier between her bare calves and the rough mattress—she must have been thrashing in her sleep again. She does that when she travels. Her husband, Riley, is standing over her. “There’s a diner down the road. I’m going for fresh coffee,” he says, banging his elbow as he turns in the narrow walkway of the motorhome. “Don’t feed the goat,” he yells, slamming the door behind him. It sticks.
Those women and his wife entered the coffee house and sat down. The girls’ day out shopping always ended at Yeoli’s. It was a gentrified coffee house on Banks Ave. It used to be a rundown storage facility. This was a smallish city, an old town. Pete sat outside Yeoli’s in his pickup truck, not directly in front, but down a short distance a little past the red brick trim. His wife couldn’t see him through the front glass.
I met a man named Frank today. He knows how to throw his voice. He said he learned it from his dad. Fun!
“I have a headache,” I told Clark, and came upstairs.
It was nine o clock and the kids were asleep, and I didn’t have a headache. But I didn’t want to sit downstairs and watch Clark get drunk on screwdrivers while watching old Seinfeld episodes, and then have to come upstairs and try to have sex while his penis stands at half mast no matter what I do.
It isn’t me. I have no doubts about that. It’s the booze. We aren’t as young as we used to be and after the kids are out, Clark can’t put the glass in his hand down. I guess I don’t care much anyway, anymore. I just don’t want to spend twenty minutes flogging and sucking a soft penis then trying to stuff it in while it wilts and bends. Then the excuses and the pity party. Having to make him feel good about himself while my vagina crawls up into my uterus. Might as well skip the whole shebang, and head upstairs with a book, and escape.
Dad and I are shooting brown rats at the Putnam County Dump. I’ve got me a .22 Long Rifle while Dad has a Winchester 70 with a scope. We keep a tally of the rats we shoot ’cause that makes it a bonding experience. So far, I’ve plastered six of them while Dad’s shot seventeen. We’re shooting good ’cause there’s a harvest moon out and we can see them like it was daylight. And Dad’s been swigging Johnny Walker to keep his hands from shaking. A couple belts of Johnny Walker turns Dad into Daniel Boone.