One Paragraph story... December 3 edition

Every night is the same; he comes home from the dock yard, he eats his dinner without asking how my day has been, watches some whatever mystery show is on that night, and insists himself on me with his bulk. In the dark, I feel the tears on my cheek and I work to not make a sound as a I cry. And then the snoring. I don’t want to sleep yet, but I don’t get up. This is where I fantasize about killing him. Before we were married we had to take classes with our Pastor. To ready us for the married life: Bills, how to argue productively, how to forgive, how to talk. To Talk. But how do I talk about this growing need to take someone’s life because when they are asleep their body makes noises without their consent? I suppose Pastor Robinson would ask me if maybe my hate for Joe’s snoring is more about something else, his lack of conversations, that he has never fulfilled me (as the smutty books say) in the bedroom. But, I have thought about that, and I think I have grown to like not have to talk to him, I have my sister Brenda to talk to, and I have Mother, too, I suppose. And the sex, well- I just imagine myself with one of the detectives in Joe’s mystery shows and they are in a rush before they solve the big case, and they can only do it quick before the culprit escapes. Oh how Joe made me feel safe, when we first met. Large shoulders, tall, a clear foot over me; and when he held me it was like a blanket of warmth. I had never had than at home. Some could describe growing up in my house as a function over fashion. The war had just ended, when my parents married. It was their patriotic duty to pair off, work their job, and have their children. Mom never hugged us, Dad never told us he loved us; Joe did that. He did, anyway. Now he tells me he loves me by coming home every night and not drinking at the Dorchester with his buddies. So, yes, I think about slipping a pillow over his face and waiting for the life to leave him; yes, so I count the stains on the ceiling (23) and think about where I put the good steak knives and how easy I could push it through his eye. But, I don’t do it, I just think it; and, instead, beneath the sheets I slide a hand over his heaving chest and run my fingers through his chest hair, and watch from outside myself, as my life slips away in this almost-good life.

James C.