Maybe this will be a series of fiction. Maybe it won’t. But, this story begins with the fictional post, Expecting the Unexpected. Click here to begin at the beginning. And, thank you. Of all the hundreds of thousands of existing options for entertaining blog reading, I am honored you stopped here and chose me.

She always did her shopping on Thursdays. It really was the most accessible day. Dizzying meal selections were stocked to perfection, ingredients for the complicated recipes she always planned for him. He was still too thin, she thought to herself as she removed one kid leather glove and stuffed it with its companion in her snakeskin bag. Six months of her marital cooking had failed to line his middle with puffy satisfaction. If anything, he worked later, longer, harder, something she found perplexing. He didn’t have to work, the cushion of family money what made his emaciated frame and feminine features attractive to her in the first place. 

With a distracted sigh, her matching snakeskin heels clacked on the smooth floor as she pushed her cart through boxes of fresh tomatoes, their skin taut and glowing. Wasn’t there a tomato recipe she meant to try? Her mind struggling to fire through the pathways of recollection, she found herself lingering instead to watch the young stock boys bend and stoop and sort in their crisp white uniforms. Her face grew warm as she imagined what it might feel like for one of them to take her somewhere in the anonymous back of the store, maybe splayed against a pallet of fine-spun sugar or on the box tops of cereal.

Her fantasies were all she had.

Reality drove her clipped step up and down the aisles, her occupied mind oblivious to what fell into her buggy. What did it matter if she picked up a few unnecessaries? Lord knows, he could afford to buy the whole store. She could, too, she reminded herself. That was the point of this unfulfilled existence, this perpetual game of unconsummated desire.

She caught the bag boy in the rearview mirror, watching her, wondering how a mere girl like her could afford such a sweet ride. Leather and wood. A whiff of cedar scenting the exotic foreignness of the boxy car. Singular and expensive, just like her. Her foot tapped the gas and revved the engine, toying with him. The trunk was barely shut when she gunned the motor and shot into the busy two-lanes of Main Street. Wind met hair. Her custom shopping suit gleamed in the sunlight. Being rich made her feel powerful. Tonight, she would show him how intoxicating that could be.

At the back, she let herself into the ground floor apartment, enjoying the sheen of the top-of-the-line range and refrigerator unmarked by the clutter of shopping bags. She closed her eyes and inhaled a cleansing breath, molecules of air that belonged to her alone. On the exhale, she heard something. A gasp, perhaps, or a moan. Whatever it was, it spooked her enough to perform a cursory search before retrieving the shopping from the car. If her apartment housed some spirit, she could pay it any amount of money to exorcise itself.

She pushed on the door that led to the dining room and checked its swing, like a batter fighting to survive a 3 – 2 count with the bases loaded and two men out. Through the slit, that’s what she saw – two men: her husband of six months being taken on the top-of-the-line dining room table by a man who looked familiar to her.

Her hopeful heart shriveled beneath the silk of her blouse. If he could never love her, would the trappings of wealth be enough to fill her empty chest?

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