The whole of her right eye is watering and Farrah wipes it brisk with a tissue. Tears stream down the inner corner of her nose, the outer cup of her cheekbone, meeting under her chin. It’s been this way for awhile now and Farrah knows it means more than she wants. If she calls her optometrist, the secretary will meet her questions with derision, the derision only secretaries master in cheerful voices. If Farrah doesn’t call her optometrist, most of her day will be spent swiping at her eye with quick hands that worry.
It’s only now Farrah wishes for her husband. The bills that used to be paid every month out of a small weightless check is almost enough of a reason to want him back, she supposes. Almost enough of a reward to listen to him at night, to feel his heavy heat, air hiccuping from his nostrils. Almost enough to wish he hadn’t left.
And it was only once, anyway. Only once she fitted the plaid green pillow over her husband’s face. Only once laying in bed and listening she threw off the plaid green sheets and fitted the plaid green pillow in a curve to each ear, force behind her wrists. You might have thought it happened every day. You might have thought Farrah’s husband woke up gasping every day. You might have thought she attempted to murder him every day, when it was only once. Just the once. Taking his small weightless check and leaving her alone with her watering eye was an overreaction. It was a ten yard dash in a five mile marathon. A shout when a whisper could have done.
It was nothing so alarming. There wasn’t any real malice behind the pillow in her hands. Farrah was only remembering before, when she was young and slept cool and alone in silent rooms.
Sidestepping the optometrist’s secretary’s derision is almost vital enough to wish for her husband. Almost. Farrah’s watering eye isn’t much of a price to pay for plaid green sheets molded in a single crease along the form of her body.
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, NC with her cats Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.