I solemnly swear

There were promises made, solemn vows taken on holy ground before God and man. Pledges to honor in good times and bad, through sickness and health, through prosperity and misfortune. No one stood up, no one said these two should not be bound together for life. It was meant to be. Their union, blessed and sacrosanct, would last until the end of time, or until the end of their days. It was said often enough, it had to be true. That they had only known each other for a scant few months, had only seen each other in person a handful of times, wasn’t judged. Many arranged marriages didn’t offer as much familiarity as that. Years later their marriage broker would apologize to their youngest child, haunted by the train wreck their lives became. The other women never apologized. It would be generous to say they didn’t know they were encroaching on a hallowed marriage, or even the hollow marriage

read more I solemnly swear

A fateful night

“We’re going to be late,” I adjusted my earrings while hopping around the bed trying to slip into my heels. “Do you need help with that?” I smoothed down my dress, and stepped to my husband to finish his Windsor Knot. Nate tilted his head back so I had room to reach around his neck, his scowl told me all I needed to know. “You don’t have to say anything,” I avoided looking him in the eyes as I twisted the silk tie into a perfect triangle at his Adam’s apple. “Shari’s my best friend. She’s a little eccentric, but I can’t just cut her out of my life.” “It’ll be the same as last month,” he sighed. “I could recite it verbatim myself by now. Couldn’t she at least choose a different story, maybe read a different chapter? Something? Anything?” I understood Nate’s frustration, I was bored with the evening program too. It’s always the same. We gather around

read more A fateful night

Why isn’t this enough

“I want you to show me why this isn’t enough.” They’ve been in the kitchen for a long time. Two cartoons worth at least. Mommy’s voice had that funny little wiggle in it that meant she was about to ugly cry again. She does that a lot now. Mommy bought the pretty paper last week. She said she was going to put it on the walls in the kitchen. I was surprised when Daddy showed up to help. I think Mommy was surprised too, but kinda happy, at first. Daddy hasn’t been home much lately. That makes Mommy ugly cry too. It started out okay. They didn’t really talk much, but they were using their nice words… ‘thank you” and “please.” Then Daddy got mad because Mommy wasn’t doing something right, and he kept telling her that it was all wrong. I thought the paper looked really pretty, but he said it was all crooked or that Mommy needed to use

read more Why isn’t this enough

In reverse

After the initial determination, I read everything I could find. All that did was to scare me even more. One dire prognosis after another, stripping away every strand of hope from my grasp. Since then, it’s been a book you read in reverse, so you understand less as the pages turn. At first, other than his father, there was no one to talk with, no one I thought would understand. I feared that every one would look at him differently, treat him differently. So I said nothing. Even now, only a few trusted friends have been told. He did changed. Not in a way you could say it was A or B, but in the way he reacted to a deviation in his routine, or by something odd he’d say that didn’t seem to fit the situation. Then there was the pacing, and sleepless nights. Initially, I didn’t know how to help him. There was no magic pill, no big

read more In reverse

Silent treatment

It was 2:34 a.m. and I had just won my eleventy-millionth game of Solitaire on my iPhone. For the record, it’s not cheating to switch between Draw 3 and Draw 1 mid play, it’s game strategy. I was lying on my side, my back to my bedside table lamp. It was more convincing to be turned away from the light if I had to pretend to be asleep. The dog sprawled in her usual spot on his side of the bed, was all legs and tail. The cat had nestled herself behind my bent knees. I was trapped amongst the animals. Lucky for me I could hear his diesel engine as he drove down our street.  If I did miss that familiar chugging, the dog’s sudden tail drumming when he came in the front door was a give away. Quickly turning off my phone, I laid it on the table just as the cat jumped off the bed. Burrowing down

read more Silent treatment

Tea and cookies

I watched her as I made my way down the hallway. I was familiar with her, even knew her name, something that I couldn’t say about most of my other neighbors. Mrs. Clancy, the apartment complex’s ubiquitous octogenarian, was struggling with her foldable shopping cart. She was stuck in her doorway and the harder she tried to exit her small one-bedroom with a view, the more entangled she became in her bulky coat and oversized patent leather handbag. A quick extrication, and she was free to make her weekly trek to our nearby market. I carried the cart down the elevator, helping her unfold it once on the street level. With a hug and the promise of a plate of fresh baked cookies, Mrs. C was on her way. As she slowly walked the half block to the store, I waited to make sure she arrived safely. Turning the opposite direction I headed to my office. The thought of home-baked

read more Tea and cookies

A day in the life

Dressed in his usual medium blue, short-sleeved work coveralls, Chester answered an urgent call from the principal. He was almost done for the day, and this late afternoon puke disaster sent him begrudgingly into the cafeteria just as the last bus riders were queuing up for their rides home. The after-school clubs were gathering in their respective corners of the lunch room when a particularly annoying seventh-grader exploded over Chester’s once clean floor. The combination of Glacier Freeze G2, a full bag of sour Skittles and several slices of greasy pepperoni pizza was never meant to stay put, especially when aerated through youthful dancing to the beat of loud, vulgar hip hop music. Girls screaming, and boys laughing uproariously at their home boy, Chester simply wanted to drench them all with his industrial sized bucket of dirty mop water. He was getting too old to put up with these shenanigans. A mere three months away from retirement, he had a

read more A day in the life