One paragraph story... July 21 edition

After the Parkers came over for cards two weeks ago, you knew you would leave him. A pleasant evening by all accounts; laughter, drinking. You and he won, he was gracious about it. When they left you said the obligatory, “We should do this again, sometime.” He took a shower and you cleaned up. Put the dip in tupperware, threw the garbage under the sink. The bin had been full so you took it to the curb. Cleaned the beer bottles and put them in the blue bin. When you came in from the garage he had already gone to bed, the lights out. You sat at the table with the cards and shuffled them while you looked around the room. The giant TV he had wanted but you knew you couldn't afford, the video game consoles, Two! of them, that he came home with one day after work that he has yet to play. You looked at the calendar, free from the bank, the picture was a sunset on a beach. You’d thought of the vacation you had saved for with your tip money that went to paying for the Visa you didn't know he had filled up with golf trips and parts for his truck. The promises he had made when he kneeled down in the park and asked you to marry him. The promise to spoil you, to take you on trips to far away places, and most of all his promise to take care of you. You had put the cards away and when you leaned over you remembered the last time he had touched you without you having to ask. You were right there looking for the liquid plummer to clear the toilet he had poured the Barbecue ashes into instead of the trash. His hand had passed across your bum and you felt electricity, but then he apologized because he hadn’t meant to touch you and was only reaching for the bottle opener on the fridge. You had turned the lights off and checked the doors. You stopped at the bedroom door and looked over at him, he woke up and asked you, “Are we having sex, tonight?” You were lost in thought and paused, he added, “Thought not.” and rolled over. He was asleep before you had slipped your cotton nightie over your head. When he began to snore you knew it was over. You would find a place to stay and be gone before the end of the month. You told your Mom in the morning on coffee break. She cried. You wanted to but couldn’t for some reason. Two weeks later he pleaded with you to stay, he would do anything. You knew he wouldn’t, he had done nothing for so long. A month after that you smiled for the first time in years.

James C.