You Live, You Learn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Review Chain

A story for the Review Chain's story contest

The night sweeps in, almost unnoticed. My attention isn’t on the sun and moon; it’s on him. I stand scowling, arms crossed. “I know you hid it. Just tell me where.”

His hands raise, indignant. “I didn’t touch your stupid cd.”

“Yeah right,” I mutter.

Talking to him is impossible! Why do I even try? Huffing, I turn and strut out of the room. Was it any wonder divorce had brewed so long it had finally boiled over ? When he lied so blatantly? 

Abandoning my search for the cd, I go to the kitchen to pack dishes instead, the last of my residue after a day of packing. Handling the delicate china forces me to decelerate. I begin building columns of plates and bowls on the counter next to the divorce papers which sit signed and ready. The next chapter of my life, Case 27106-334.  Not the most appealing title. 

Didn’t take it, my foot. He’s always hated that cd. Why do guys all hate Alanis Morissette so much anyway?

 I pull a foam sheet and sandwich it between two of the gold-rimmed plates we’d gotten as a wedding gift. Two Become One, the card had read, Congratulations! I’d be keeping them, of course. 

After the wedding (an event that will never be matched, thanks to my impeccable planning), he’d pleaded with me to get rid of any reminder of past relationships. I’d complied, mostly. But the pale blue Alanis cd wasn’t just a memento from my ex. It reminded me of me, before I’d become a housewife. Before two became one, and it was my identity that was swallowed up, spewed out, and reshaped into the letters Mrs Johnson.

Setting the plates inside the cardboard box, I seal them with a loud snap of the packaging tape. I hear footsteps upstairs, and wonder vaguely what he’s doing. I’ve already stripped my clothes, shoes, bedding, and practically everything else from the wreckage. The bedroom was essentially barren.

Serves him right. This is all his fault. 

Of this I was convinced. His infractions were too numerous to count. After all, hadn’t he vowed--before God no less--to cherish me for as long as he should live? And then, less than a month in, it began. Freak outs about my hair in the shower, naggings over the credit cards, telling the overly-nosy marriage therapist how cold our marriage had become, as if it was any of her business. 

Really, lying about the whereabouts of the cd is just the latest lapse in a long list. A list I have no intention of letting him extend. How can he expect me not to leave when he can’t even be honest about something as simple as that. 

I slip the final stack of dishware into the final box with grim satisfaction. Taking the papers from the counter, I replace them with the princess cut, where it gawks at me, betrayed, among the vacant shambles. 

Juggling the boxes, I step through the door and into the cool night. It's the small click that triggers the tears. I sniffle, and shuffle to where my black Audi, camouflaged in the dark, awaits in the driveway. Popping the trunk, I shove scattered paraphernalia to the side, making room for the boxes. My hand slides a battered Comopolitan to the back, and the trunk light shines on the pale bue cd exposed underneath... where I'd tossed it a few months before.


Submitted: February 18, 2021

© Copyright 2021 XCulletto. All rights reserved.

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