I woke up as usual and sniffed around the apartment to make sure everything was the way I left it. Then I played with Jimmy the Sock until My Love woke up. Little did I know, this day was going to be different than most days.
I was in Amsterdam again. After the a day of client meetings, I took the tram to the red light district. I selected a girl and went back to her place.
I stepped out of the shower and she was sitting on the bed. “What do you like, honey?” she asked. She was tall, skinny and black. She did not look like my Martha at all. Good.
I beckoned her with my finger. She got up and smiled without showing her teeth, just like Martha sometimes did. But that was okay, focus on her, not Martha.
She spoke the language of the body, giving me studied hints that I was desired. She was really good at it, I tore into her like I was 18 again. She moaned the right way, the illusion was up the whole time. Up until she put her hand on the back of my head which reminded me of Martha again. I came with a desperate rage.
When we got dressed, I waited at the door so she could collect her things and we would both get back out there. As she buttoned up her coat, she asked: “Did you like it, honey?”
“I did, thank you,” and I gave her a hug. I couldn’t stop my voice from breaking. “You remind me of my dead wife.”
Lucy got out of her car, past the mailbox, past the two stone frogs on the lawn, and into the house. She put her car keys on the painted wooden tray by the door, put her bag on the kitchen counter next to the frog-shaped salt and pepper shakers. She got herself a glass of water.
Jeremy was sitting at the kitchen table, slouched over his tablet, but not looking at it. He was following Lucy with his eyes. He had a glum expression on his face.
“What is it, honey?” Lucy smiled in encouragement. Jeremy looked sad.
“I have something to tell you, Lucy.”
She sat opposite him, put her hands flat on the table and assumed a an attentive pose. “Okay?”
“I cheated on you.”
“Huh!” she said, leaning back in the chair, her mouth open, tongue touching teeth as if to count them, thinking. She was really surprised by his honesty, it was unlike him.
“And she died very recently. Cancer.”
“And she left her little daughter. My little daughter. Seven years old.”
“Her name is Emily. The daughter. She is going to live with us now.”
Lucy put her elbows on the table now, rested her head on her fists and looked at Jeremy intently. He was definitely not joking. Lucy was not angry or sad, she was just really really surprised. She figured she was probably in shock.
Then she thought about the little girl who would come and live at their house. An innocent creature who did nothing wrong to Lucy, nor her marriage. The little creature with thoughts, emotions and aspirations, who would tap the mailbox on her way to the school bus, and say hi to the stone frogs on her way back from school, and put her keys on the painted wooden tray, and do her homework by the kitchen counter, and use the frog-shaped salt and pepper shakers at dinner. Would she call Lucy “mom”?
We were on a spaceship from the Belt to Mars. We were waiting in line for the washroom, when Jim said:
“It’s not real, you know.”
“What’s not real?”
“Planets and all that. It’s not real. It’s made up. It’s a conspiracy.”
Anyone catch the storms this morning? Ugh, they were amazing!
Look, eating with metal utensils is the literal worst thing you can do.
The knight’s body fell to the stone floor with a rattle of armor. Useless. The prince stood there, breathing heavily after the long fight. He was wounded. He was victorious. He was alone with the priest.