By Leslie Lindsay
Another installment from my womens’ fiction novel…remember, this is original work and not intended to represent anyone living or dead. Please do not borrow, beg, or steal. I’d love to hear your comments on this. Preparing to pitch to an agent in mid-April. Enjoy!
“I sniffed out a smile and shrugged, secretly pleased with their assessment of my Annie. When I wandered down to the bedroom, rubbery cheese pizza in hand, I leaned on the door jamb and watched. Annie and Colin were perched on the green shag carpeting, her arm around him, a book open in her lap. “And then the third little pig…” Her voice lilting with excitement. I knew then that I would marry Annie Kelley and make babies with her.
And now, that dream has been shattered. All because of one little mistake, more like a series of mistakes. I hang out with Beth in college. I kiss Beth. I ignore Annie. She needs more.
And now she is getting more. More kids.
Less of me.
I lean back, the leather chair creaking with my weight, and reach for my beer. I really need something stronger. I take a swig, stroke my jaw, and close my eyes. Vodka. In the wet bar.
I heft myself up and head downstairs to the wet bar. I open a cabinet and rummage around. There, in the back is a bottle of Smirnoff. I reach for a highball glass, the kind etched with our monogram—a wedding gift—and pour some. It goes down with a strong burn. I grimace. A crystal-clear numbing agent.
Tough luck. You made your bed, Steve. My hands tremble slightly as I reach for the glass again. And again.
My head is clogged-a spider web of snot, an impenetrable membrane of fascia. I reach for a can of nuts and rip off the foil liner. I pop almonds, cashews into my mouth, spilling them down the front of my shirt.
I’m not sober. It’s over.
I reach for my cell sitting on the counter. I could call her. Tell her how much I love her. Again. I am not opposed to raising another man’s child.
Beth. How would that work? I swallow another gulp of Vodka. I could just divorce her like everyone else does in this day and age. A divorce is as easy as filing your taxes. Hell, some attorneys even offer free divorces on Valentine’s Day.
Does that make them cupid, or the devil?
But then I would have to wait almost a year. I suck my teeth of nut residue and pick up my cell again. I tap Beth’s mom’s number into the phone. The ringing is deafening. I hold the phone away from my ear.
I say nothing.
“Steve, is that you?” Mrs. Donovan is pointed. I picture her looking to Beth, slumped at the kitchen table of her childhood home, an uneaten grilled cheese and bowl of tomato soup sitting in front of her.
“Yeah, it’s me.”
I bet Beth twists her hair into a bun, shoving a pencil in to secure it and then waving her hands as if to tell her mom that she doesn’t want to talk.
I imagine Mrs. Donovan looks to her daughter, my wife. My head rock-heavy and swimming in Vodka.
“Steve, she doesn’t want to talk.”
“But why the hell not? She’s my wife. My wife!”
“I know. She’s hurt. Leave her be.”
“I don’t want to be alone,” my words slur. My tongue thick.
“Steve, are you drinking?”
“What does it matter?”
“I think you need to stop drinking and sober up. She’s not going to talk to you when you’re drunk.”
“But she’s my wife….”
“I am hanging up now, Steve. Please don’t call back.”
I fling the phone across the room. A framed photo falls to the floor, the glass smattering into tiny shards. “