by Bob Sassone

Completely sober, running on four cups of coffee and several spoonloads
of sugar, Laura paced her kitchen floor, waiting for her husband to come
home from the office.

He was often late, having one of those 9
to 5 jobs that never ended at 5. He was usually home around 6:30, if he
didn't go out for a drink with some of the other guys who worked in the
same office building. It was really convenient that there was a bar in
the lobby of the building, Dave always said. Laura never really
understood why this would be a convenience, but she learned about two
years ago not to get into any conversations that could lead to more of
what she's been avoiding.

He still touched her, but not in the
same way. Now it was a mixture of chore and possession. It was more of
what he wanted, and less of what she needed. They didn't have any
children. Wasn't it time? Weren't they at the age when couples start
having kids, start planning for the future, Laura often thought.

came home around 7, and put his briefcase on the small table in the
hallway, like he did every single night. Laura knew not to touch the
briefcase or even put anything of hers on that table. It was my table,
Dave would often remind her, even if she never needed to be reminded.
Then, like almost every night, Dave would drink an entire bottle of
wine. He would even pour her a drink, but it would often just sit near
her plate, half-full. She never knew if he even wanted her to drink it,
so she would take a few sips and then clear the table. She always
remembered to smile.

Dave went into the living room. ESPN Classic
was showing that game again. He knew the outcome, but found comfort in
watching it over and over. He kept the remote close to him on the sofa.

stood at the sink and wondered if her friends who had kids were doing
the dishes at that moment. Were the kids running around the kitchen,
getting under her feet, maybe tickling each other? She thought of a life
like that. How she would stand at the sink and sigh that her kids were
acting up, but she'd secretly love it.

She noticed that it had
begun to rain, the water hitting the roof in a pattern and rhythm that
reminded her of a favorite song from her teen years. But she couldn't
remember the name of it, or who sang it. She just knew that it was
something that she once liked.


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