The following is a piece written for the #WeekendWriter prompt. Please check out the other fantastic pieces written for this challenge!
The Folly of the Unaware
“You aren’t hearing me, Becca. I won’t meet you again. It should never have started and now I’m ending it.” The tinny words rasped out of the baby monitor. Vivian’s eyes closed. The hand stirring the risotto slowed, then stopped. The housewife set the wooden spoon on the rest as if it were spun glass and walked out of the kitchen.
Roger paused on the last step. His blood pressure throbbed in his temples, an unwanted reminder that perhaps he had cancelled and rescheduled his cardiologist appointment too many times. He counted to twenty, taking slow, measured breaths before sliding his silenced cell phone into his pocket. He rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the tension knotting them , then stepped through the doorway into the kitchen.
The empty room glared at him. He frowned as a pop splattered up out of the pan. Roger crossed to the stove and turned the pan off, a scrape of the spoon through the risotto revealing the burn on the bottom. ”What the-”
Roger found his wife sitting in the parlor. His stomach clenched. Vivian perched on the edge of her grandmother’s velvet upholstered Empire sofa, her feet tucked under and to the side, skirt spread just so, back straight, eyes fixed on the window looking out into the street. Her thumb moved in a little circle on the velvet, changing the color of the fabric as she moved the pile back and forth.
She didn’t look at him. The calm that filled her felt like that of a bottled storm, a restrained fury waiting for release. She wouldn’t release it though. That was unladylike. ”Thank you for putting Alex to sleep,” she said, proud of her serene voice. ”You forgot to change the batteries in the monitor yesterday…”
Roger shifted in her peripheral vision, his hands turning upwards. ”Oh, I’ll do that right-”
“Oh, don’t worry about that, Roger dear. I changed them this morning.” Vivian let her eyes track to him at last and watched all the color drain from his face save for two bright red spots over his cheeks. He really wasn’t an attractive man when he let himself get angry and even less so gone pale with fear.
She smoothed her hands down her skirt and settled back into the sofa more. She was both surprised and not by her husband’s foolishness. True, their marriage was one of mutual benefit, alliance, and familiar obligation, but he still needed to learn a lesson.
“I thought to call Daddy, Roger,” he jerked and his mouth opened and closed repeatedly like a landed fish. ”But I thought perhaps it best that we discuss things first before upending everything.” She watched his panic rise up in him and waited for him to clutch at his stomach. ”Now. Sit. It’s time we lay all the cards on the table.”
Roger moved like a man drugged to the chair across from her. When he sat, ramrod straight, on the edge of it she smiled gently at him. Really, Vivian mused as he fidgeted, why did men think that women had no strength of will? She crossed one leg over the over and let her pump swing from her toes.
She really didn’t care that he was fucking around. And by the end of the night he would agree that they could both have their “relief” from their marriage or she would, indeed, call Daddy and start the process that would leave him a ruined, husk of a man.