The Beginning –
The Normal Life
First Thought Today: the coffee is cold. And I can say with full honesty, sitting across the table from Richard, in our twenty-eight years of marriage, the word yes has brought me little happiness. I know and believe from all I’ve come to accept; the longer I stare at the kitchen’s cracked plastered wall in need of repair; this image symbolizes our love and marriage. The light in a once romantic and naive sixteen-year-old falls dimmer and dimmer. Oblivion paints a foregone conclusion. If only Richard cared to listen. But this isn’t the morning. He’s too happy. His shaven face energizes and re-energizes the more he talks. The patient wife doesn’t interrupt. A dutiful smile passes from her face to his. Richard is who I am, and what I am is lost between the beginning and the end of his sentences.
“All my time invested courting Jared Longview will finally pay off.” My husband holds out his empty coffee cup—minus the word, please, a foreign word.
The obedient wife pushes away from the table. She moves unenthusiastically to the coffee maker. Silence is necessary while pouring his drink. She listens, trying to remember it all because a test will come. It always does.
“Father can no longer deny my abilities.” The husband’s grin changes into broad laughter. “Damn. My portfolio will be quite substantial from this deal.”
The refreshed coffee in front of him goes unnoticed. The wife wishes for that, thank you. She’s a fool. Richard’s consumption lay with Richard and money—lots of it. The Wall Street Journal, a preoccupation must, with breakfast, now has his attention. Fist pounds on the table means the stocks are up. Grunts and curses are losses.
The cussing appears minimal. “There’s nothing crucial today. I get to keep the cars,” he chuckles in the wife’s direction, “and you, my dear Diane . . . get to do what you do to look good for me.”
My appropriate cue: a cute upward turn of my mouth, plus several affectionate strokes to his arms. Yes. I’m a well-trained wife. A pinched smile and hot second-glances settle into my husband as he turns the paper’s next page. Apple slices and black coffee satisfy the wife’s mustn’t-gain-weight-husband-rule. The wall clock says seven. Coffee cups clang on to saucers. Newspaper rustles. She sits expressionless. Hands fold into a neat lap rest. She sits watching time watch her. She hopes for love between them. Now, she imagines a lightning bolt crashing through the ceiling and killing him as it did to the priest in The Omen.