Widowhood

889 Words4 Pages
The wife clamped the cell phone shut and launched it across the room. It clattered against the wall and made a sick little cry as it died. She lay sprawled across the bed, her nightgown a soiled and crumpled pool about her, brazen in broad daylight. She stared above at the slow revolving slice of the ceiling fan, imagined her throat bared to its blades, felt the caress of an artificial breeze. Outside a wind chime jangled, a melancholy sound like gently breaking glass. A vein trembled in her limp wrist. Eight days. Eight days since the hordes of flowers had sickened the air with a sweet stench, since the shriek of the telephone had become a daily chant rather than a daily disturbance. Eight days since her husband had promptly dressed himself for work and then, equally promptly, whipped out his father’s antique pistol and shot himself through the mouth. She had returned home in the evening to find a bowl of soggy cornflakes stained pink and a ragged red streak on the wall. He lay stiff and hollow on the linoleum like a pinstriped mannequin. The air in the bedroom was rich. It settled in her lungs and numbed her whole form like an anesthetic. She liked the feel of indifference. She imagined this was how her husband had often felt, melting into his reclining leather chair, falling asleep before his head hit the pillow. Hearing the hollow click of the trigger a split-second before his eyes filmed in black. But the feeling did not last; she felt compelled to rifle through his drawers. She told herself it was a merely practical task, but it was personal. Her hands sifted through the folds of his faded linen shirts, the ones that glued to his skin on scalding summer days. He loved wearing those shirts; she hated washing them. Now... ... middle of paper ... ...r throat and thin spasms ran through her fingers. She rarely drank but now she felt incredibly inebriated. She was drunk on revelation, flailing in limbo, slave to some great wild thing. She could almost taste the bitter tang of gunmetal in her own mouth, and she wondered: whose name was written on the bullet that severed her husband’s spine? Hers, or his lover’s? The dizziness subsided in a moment. She dropped the photo back into its proper place in the drawer and closed it; she could think of nothing else to do. Turning to the window, she stared out at the lonesome sun dipping beneath the houses, dark outlines stamped against a bleeding sky. The fan blades hummed above her. She felt faintly sick but the sensation was not new. She prayed that perhaps tomorrow would be easier. For her, marriage had been suffocatingly simple--now widowhood was painfully complex.
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