This story has been included in Pocket Full of Bleeding Posies but you can still read it for free right here right now!
by Marva Gregorio De Souza
Another hot, sticky day and Amanda wondered how many more she could take.
She sat at the table, in front of the fan with her eyes closed, and imagined herself in the Antarctic, freezing cold. Her feet are blocks of ice and walking is painful. Peeping through the small opening in the hood of her coat, she blinks her frozen eyelashes and looks up at the weak sun, which starts to get stronger and stronger until the snow melts and Amanda feels like she will suffocate in all the layers she has on. Damn, she can’t even get cold in her imagination.
On the pavement just outside her apartment window an old bag lady walks by struggling with the trolley with all her belongings crammed inside in no particular order. The trolley kept insisting on rolling down the dip in the pavement and refused to understand the old lady just wanted to carry on straight down the road to wherever it was her destiny was leading her. Amanda considered going out to help her, mulling it over in her head until the homeless was out of sight, then out of mind.
Amanda looked to the tops of the trees lining the avenue with quiet majesty. The leaves were at their greenest. Summer was in full swing and, as if they knew their time was short, they danced in the sunlight and gentle breeze as though there was no tomorrow. Maybe there was a lesson to be learnt. A cyclist sped by and distracted her. Maybe not.
She flicked her eyes at the clock. A record was set for the morning, a whole four minutes since the last time she looked. It would be a very long day if she continued checking the time every 30 seconds or so.
And this was probably the last clock she should be looking at, today of all days. This was the one he’d bought her on that day ordained by magical fairies to be the best one of her life. Perfection reigned from start to finish. It was not so much the activities he planned, it was the fact he had planned. He’d given it so much thought; the flower delivery to wake her up, closely followed by a hired chef to make her breakfast in bed (Roger was fully aware of his lack of culinary skills) and then his full attention for the remainder of the day. Once he was sure everything was running smoothly he even made a point of switching off his phone, his life line to all aspects of his life. He never switched it off, only on that day. And only for her. While out walking through a quaint antiques market, the results of Roger’s research, he had found the clock. He commented on the beautiful rhythm of the ticking, the smooth walnut and purchased it, saying that as long as it was ticking Amanda would know he was thinking of her. The clock had not stopped once.
Every day since had been measured against that day and fallen short. It was not the sign of change Amanda longed for. Roger’s desire to make her smile waned and now was as if it had never been. He never switched his phone off again.
And this is why she was sitting by the window, waiting for him to come home so she could hand him the divorce papers carefully placed in front of her, just out of reach of the effects of the manufactured breeze. They were neat and clean, ready and waiting to fulfill their destiny. Their one purpose on this earth was to obtain Amanda’s freedom from the misery of being ignored.
Roger’s reaction would be as she expected it to be. Angry. He wouldn’t get violent because he never got violent. He wouldn’t cry because he never cried. He would be angry because he was always angry, at everyone and everything. And now Amanda was angry at herself, for taking that one glorious day and building her life on it. Fool! Prize fool!
As she got up to put some coffee on, her eyes automatically looked at the clock. The record remained in tact. Roger would not be home for another 6 hours or so. It was going to be a long day.