Excerpt from “Picking up the Pieces”

Alcohol oozed off his breath, down behind her ear, and came to rest in the basin of her neck. The hollow wanted to contain it but she leaned forward into the sink, longing to feel the water rushing over her again. It oozed out but marked a trail on her skin.

Rosemary’s pillow soaked in those tears that came coursing down like there would be no tomorrow. The moonlight glistened, followed her long black hair, making a streak smooth and white. Her fingers danced along the folds in her thigh, trying to spread them out, make them undo themselves. Her husband’s back was partly in shadow, muscles rippling through his white cotton shirt. This hump, moved slowly up and down. She watched the breath rise in his bulky frame, so frail and tender and uncertain. Like a little child with one foot just touching the threshold of mommy’s door expecting a scold.

She reached out her hand but somehow it landed on the bedspread between them, trying again this time, but stopped in mid-air. Why couldn’t she just touch him like she wanted to? Stroke him, everything’s alright. She shook her hand awake and moved it again towards him but he grunted, shifted to lie on his front, away from her grasp. She let it fall again on the bedspread covering the dampness so that he wouldn’t know. He must never know.

“I promise- from now on things are going to change. I’m going to take care of you, of our family.”

She wanted desperately to believe him this time that he’ll be like the man she used to know. Maybe she never knew him at all. Anyhow, how well can you really know a person, even if you’re married to them?

“I won’t disappoint you,” she heard him say.


About Jean C Wong

I am a world traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. I've lived all over the world and speak 5 languages.


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