I took a week off, but it’s finally here: the continuation of my a-to-z stories! I’ve decided that I’ll continue to write them the day I post them and only editing minimally. In fact, I changed the title of this one right before writing it, since I didn’t know what Elephant Earrings was about. With them I’m exploring myself as a writer and what I can do. Perhaps I’ll edit and compile them someday, but for now I want to get them written. Here is letter E.
Tim adjusted the rear view mirror for the fifteenth time, moved his pennies from the cup holders to the armrest compartment and back again, then sighed. Nothing left to do. He entered the house.
“Honey?” He called out to his wife.
“In the kitchen.”
Tim followed her voice and, having arrived, pecked her on the cheek. “What’s for dinner?”
“Spaghetti and meatballs, your favorite.”
“Not mine. They were—” He stopped himself and glanced at his wife.
“It’s okay. I’m not going to blow up on you.” She chuckled.
He laughed too, high-pitched and hollow. “How was your day?”
“You know, the usual. Cleaned up a bit, did some knitting.”
“Yeah. I’m making a scarf. Dinner’s ready.” She shooed him towards the table
As they ate in silence, Tim examined his wife. Her face sported many well-earned lines, but she was just as beautiful as the day they met. He smiled, remembering the look of complete joy on her face when he proposed.
“What are you thinking about?”
“Just remembering something. I love you, you know.”
“I know. Me too.”
After dinner, Tim’s wife did the washing up and he went to their room and took his box of photos from under the bed. Looking at them made his heart ache, but they reminded him of what could be, of what had been, so he looked all the same. Lost in thought, he didn’t hear his wife sneak up behind him.
“Where’d you get those?”
Tim started and felt his muscles tense. “I didn’t think you’d be done for a while longer.”
“I told you to get rid of those.”
“They comfort me.”
“Well they mock me.” She took the picture from his hand and glanced at the grinning visage of a young boy. “Look at me, I’m so happy, life’s so perfect. Ha!” She threw the picture against the wall and, with a clunk and a tinkle, shattered glass covered the floor. “As if.”
“Maybe we should go to bed.”
“I’m going for a walk.”
The next morning when Tim woke he was alone. He fetched a bowl from the kitchen, noting his wife pretending to sleep on the couch, and carefully picked up the broken shards. He reached for the photo, hesitated a moment, and picked it up, clutching it to his chest.
A minute later, or an hour, his wife entered the room behind him. “This isn’t working, is it?”
“I want to hold on to the happy memories, not make these new unpleasant ones.”
“I love you.”
Hot tears streamed down Tim’s face. “I know. Me too.”