This is one of the short fiction practices we did for class last spring. It’s simply about a married woman who self-doubts and creates poor assumptions about her husband.
I don’t know why I keep exploring themes of marriage and trust. Nevertheless, happy reading.
Here’s where they can get out of the city, where they can hide in the rustles of the trees – distance away from the hustle and bustle, and furthest from the screeching silence between them, two bodies resting on the same bed.
Every evening it would take a long commute just for him to give a dry peck on her cheek, no hugs. She, however, would pretend it was all the same as it has been three years ago – ever since they’ve vowed their “I do”s and reminisce the feel of his lips cushioning on her cheek, and she would turn pink. They would go to rest, with her wrapped in his arms.
Now, the distant memory plays like an old movie in her head.
She got out of the bed. He even brought a suitcase to this escapade. Escape from where? She thought it was the crowded streets, the honking cars, the giant skyscrapers, and all that they’ve agreed with each other in the first place.
No, we’re not on a dry spell, she tells herself, like she does everyday. Not until she saw something blue, a tiny baby blue cotton panty sandwiched in-between his endless manila folders.She swallowed hard. Her gulp was probably ringing in his ears, as he suddenly stopped snoring.
All through the night she wept. Her body oceans apart from his arms. She watched him silently, he was breathing in and breathing out again, loud like a filthy pig. He must have drifted away into his dreams once more, must be involving the mistress of that thong.
Tree leaves tremble, she quivered. The night was cold, terribly cold.
To espouse in holy matrimony, leave the lady raw and naked. Let her innocence to the heavens to bloom. Until the wedding day arrives, gently touch her. Keep her close. Coalesce your soul with her until mixture is blend. Add a flavor of spontaneity. Dust a modicum of mystery. Sprinkle effort and magic to serve.
This is the second big assignment from my writing class this last spring. This is may be fiction, but I’m pretty sure you can tell where I got the inspiration from (if you’ve been following this blog, of course). Enjoy.
Every Sunday is a family day. We were on our way to brunch in daddy’s new Mercedes-Benz, when mommy turned her head and asked, “What would you like to eat?”
“What do we have?” said the eldest.
“Anything and everything,” said my mommy.
“That’s a lot of choices. ” My brother turned his head away from us, interested in the traffic outside the left car window.
“I don’t know. You decide. You’re the youngest.” My second elder brother on the right said to me.
If there are anything and everything out there, I’d still prefer a familiar taste.
“I don’t know. Thai?”
“Thai it is,” mommy affirmed.
So we went to a Thai restaurant, and the food was superb. Pineapple fried rice tasted exactly like nasi goreng, if you leave out the pineapples.
Occasionally, my father takes weekends off. He can have that because he’s the owner of our family’s import/export business, specializing in auto spare parts. That’s how he affords a Mercedes-Benz and weekly getaways to five-star hotels, like the one we’re having now.
We got a top-floor, double-bed suite. Our deck manifests the long stretch of white sands and azure waters us Balinese are proud of. It’s like a whole new world.
Back then, mom and dad slept on the same bed, and I would have my eldest brother on my left and my second brother on my right. We would get through the night in the comfort of what felt like home. Home is wherever we are, as long as we stick together.
“Daddy will sleep on the couch. You stick with momma.” My mother chirped while unpacking her toiletries.
Daddy’s practically attached to his phone all day, and my brothers were stuck in front of the TV. “Sauna?” My mother takes my hand before I said anything.
My mind wandered to places in the mist. Warm bubbles massaging my body, the loud burbles deafening my hearing. I rest my head on the edge of the tub. Everything I see starts to blur.
I don’t see mom and dad talking to each other much anymore. Maybe dad’s busy, or maybe mom’s having her period. All she talks about to me these days is period, period, period. How long is a period, again?
I got up from the tub. My mom wanted to stay there a bit. Just before I took the first step off the wet floor, I slipped, hitting myself on the head. I heard the loudest thud ringing in my ears for a moment, and everything went white. Why would they choose a glass tile for a sauna room? I opened my eyes. My vision became clearer.
Mom was panicking. She immediately called dad, and then everything fell into place after that. “No it doesn’t hurt, mom, And dad, I’m fine,” I said.
Finally. They communicate as a happy couple would do.
Both of them were caressing me as they discuss only the terrible things in the future, like finding a doctor in Jakarta and selling the Mercedes-Benz, if ever I should slip again.
Sundays are now nights out with my mother alone. We never have weekly brunches or getaways anymore. My brothers are overseas to further their education. They each have their own lives. We get in touch through the occasional text messages, like “How are you?” and “When will you come back?” My phone’s ringing silence is the usual reply.
“Do you think it will ever be OK if mom and dad separated?” Mommy asked while we’re on our way home from dinner. She was driving the Mercedes-Benz, the old one my dad gave her as now we have two flashier cars in the garage.
I’ve gotten used to hearing mommy and daddy’s screaming voices through my wall. Over the years, the wall grew silent. Whenever I go into the master bedroom to choose a midnight snack (they have anything and everything in their fridge – I don’t have to go to the kitchen downstairs), I would watch them sleep on that same bed they’ve had for years, each head facing opposite directions.
One night, I went back into my room and decided to make my night productive.
I tore the five heads on the family photograph into separate pieces. I tore many other jagged scraps of blank papers. Then I threw them away, but the five heads stay.
I pasted the these heads together using a double-sided scotch tape at the back to hold them all into one piece. Then I used superglue to attach this piece onto an empty drawing board, a huge artboard for me to draw anything and everything I want.
She stared at her. The disfigured lady was staring back – the broken pieces are still attached to the wooden board. Luckily, the largest piece was the one that still hung right at her eye level. It’s big enough for her to do her makeup everyday. Besides, there’s no need to spend extra money just for a mirror. There’s the rent, the bills, the premium protein shakes.
She brushed a dash of bronzer on each cheek, lined flawless strokes above her youthful eyes, then finished her ritual with raspberry lip gloss. These are the features appearing on the biggest fragment still hanging on the board. Other pieces reveal distorted sizes of her breasts, waist, and thighs.
Off she went to fetch her boyfriend. It’s been months. They couldn’t wait to meet each other again.
A taxi driver caught sight of her and smiled. He reversed the wheels, letting her in. “Where to, love?” “The airport, please,” smiling back. My diet’s been working, she thought. And when he sees me, he shall not be able to resist me.
She spotted him in the crowd. He beamed. Then he glanced at another woman. She’s in her late thirties, in a French bun, minimal makeup, and a handsome trench coat. For a moment there, she’s a sight, the center of all attention.
Her heart slipped with a thud, her shoulders fell into gravity. One day she will no longer be pretty. One day, the shattered fragments will obscure her. One day, the wood will age and cripple, and nothing between him and her will ever be as they are now.
She felt a hug from behind: “I’ve missed you so much.”