3 Replies to “Daily Journal Prompt #294”

  1. He leaves by the back door. Quiet as whisper. And she kisses him and holds onto him, not wanting to let go but knowing that she must. And when he’s gone and she falls back to earth, back to the ordinary and the everyday, her feet drag heavy through the rest of the week.

    The pattern of Rose’s days is altered now. Not so as it is noticed. Not so as her husband notices. She is up first in the mornings, and that was always so; and the kids are dressed and fed before school and she smiles and hurries them through the early morning; and she reminds him that he has his sister’s birthday or his mother’s or an appointment at the dentist and he better be going or he’ll be late for work. No, the difference is not something to be noticed.

    But when they are all gone, the kids to school and Tom to work, then there’s the difference. There’s a new quiet in Rose then, and a listlessness, and she’s always watching the clock and ticking off the days on the calendar and counting on her fingers, counting the days left till he’s back again and the days stretch like elastic.

    His name’s Steve and he’s half her age and he comes to wash the windows, at least that was how it started. She made him cups of tea on those different-from-now days and she sat with him in the garden when the sun was kind. He called her Mrs Court until she said, ‘It’s Rose.’ Then the sound of her name in his mouth was a something wonderful and she aksed him to say it again and again.

    Thinking back she does not know who made the first move, or even what the first move was, everything moving so slow that it crept up on them. Holding hands under the garden table, and Rose felt like she did when she was young and she laughed more than she had in a while. Then kisses when she paid him for the windows he’d cleaned, kisses in secret, behind closed doors, and small caresses and soon more bold. Now Rose doesn’t give a damn, says she doesn’t, makes believe that is how it is, and so she kisses him with the door open and neighbour can catch them kissing and Rose won’t mind.

    Weeks spin off in to months and now it’s almost a year and still her feet leave the ground on the day that is their day, and she floats light as air through the long and longer hours she spends with him. And everything feels so right and so wrong at the same time. Then when Steve leaves, as he does, and no word from him in the week – they’d decided it had to be that way – Rose has to come back down to earth and a whole week to tick off on her calendar before, before.

    And she thinks Tom does not notice, because everything else is the same. The house as neat as a new pin and the meals regular as clockwork and everything as it’s always been and Rose careful as careful can. So she thinks Tom doesn’t notice. But he does.

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