“Are you listening to me?” She listened to the words coming out of his mouth, not really registering them.
“I’m not in love with you anymore”
Megan? As in Megan, Megan? Her best friend of 30 years? The one she first told when she started her period, had sex for the first time, fell in love, and found out she was pregnant? That Megan?
He kept talking. She was listening, but had already started to think of all the things that would follow this conversation. She wasn’t really surprised by his confession but she was surprised about Megan.
The rain tapped gently on the window. She noticed that the yard needed to be mowed. He was too busy on all of his “business trips” to take care of it. Had he really been traveling? Or was he spending all of that time with her?
The breakfast dishes in the sink had to be done. She needed to vacuum. And she had a hair appointment. So many things to do.
“Are you listening to me?” he asked again, this time not so kindly.
But she couldn’t respond. There were credit card payments and they had just bought airline tickets for their summer vacation with the kids. The kids! How would she tell the kids?
What? She said quietly.
He looked at her and asked her if she had anything to say.
She could kill him. But how? In his sleep maybe, a knife? No, too messy. Cut the brake lines on his car like they do in the movies? She realized she had no idea where or what they were, and she couldn’t Google it because the police would find the search when they confiscated her computer. Or maybe she could kill Megan. Go to her house for drinks and poison her? Where do you even buy poison? No, she could never get away with murder. She’d watched enough of those police shows to know that.
She listened to the silence, thinking that she may actually be going crazy. The silence is deafening when you actually listen to it. It’s noisy and chaotic. It screeches constantly. It’s like white noise turned up to top volume.
Maybe she could just play the bitch and take him for everything he’s worth, leaving Megan with nothing. Maybe she would sell his coin collection, just to spite him. Trash his car. But there was an easier way…
Okay. She said standing while looking directly at him.
“What does that mean, okay?”
Whatever you want it to mean Tom. It sounds like you already have your mind made up. I can’t do this right now. You said it wouldn’t happen again. The last time it happened and the time before that. You said that you had changed. You PROMISED me that you were done with the lies and sneaking around and cheating. So okay. I’m done. Just go away.
He stood to leave. Presumably going to Megan’s. She was too exhausted to deal with it all again, so she wouldn’t.
After he left, she stood staring at the front door. He had carried her over the threshold the day they bought the house. She had carried their first, second, third, and fourth children through that door from the hospital. She collapsed in that doorway the day she found out her mother had passed away. The kids went out that door to school, dates, and eventually to begin their own lives.
She walked slowly, a death march up the stairs to the room she’d shared with him for over 30 years. She went to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and filled her water glass to the top. She took the sleeping pills out of the medicine cabinet, and carried the water and pills to the nightstand that they’d refinished together.
She dumped all of the pills out, slowly brought her hand to her lips, and put them in her mouth one by one. They were chalky and bitter but she didn’t mind. She chewed slowly, adding a new pill each time there was room. And then she drank that glass of water, happy that it was the last time she’d have to deal with that bastard she called her husband.
I wrote “Are You Listening?” for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #1: Write a blog post inspired by the word: listen. Interestingly enough, the last time I wrote fiction it was inspired by Mama Kat, too! The title? Sounds of Silence. What a coincidence, huh?
You can find more of my fiction here.