After Paris

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The roast smelled dry and spattered as he slid it onto the cutting board from the hot pan. His arms moved slowly in his now tight old suit. He spooned the lumpy potatoes into a bowl and then the hard peas into another. He sliced the meat onto a plate and the inside was very brown. It was all on the table, surrounding a single tall candle, flickering from the cold wax. He pulled hard on the cork of a cheap bottle of white wine and dripped it on the edges of the wide wine glasses as he filled them. He heard her car pull into the driveway and he jerked up and to the front door. She walked towards him, carrying her purse and gym bag. She wore blue scrubs that hung loose over her lean body. Her silky blond hair fell from her ponytail, in the front over the corner of her face. She threw her head back to the side to put it in place. He leaned in to kiss her on her cheek as she walked into their home. She did not stop him or encourage him. She smelled like home underneath the scent of medicine and hospital hallways.
“How was work?” he asked.
“It was fine.”
“I made dinner.”
He served her plate and she picked up the wet wine glass. The still air was thick and hot as the large ac unit in the window clicked on turning the air cold and light. But the space between them remained heavy and ceaseless. In the silence he stared at her with the endless hope of a child, and their potential together was limitless.
Old songs played from the speakers in the living room and there they danced quietly and slowly, without enthusiasm. There were more candles and the soft light and the nostalgic music worked tirelessly to cut through the thick space between their pressed bodies. She turned away to the table and to her wine. He began to speak to her and his pain and frustration infused every word which squeezed out the youthful and naive life left in them. Her silence gave way to her hurt and anger.
As the room echoed she ran to their room and closed the door. She sat on the edge of the bed, pressing the flower petals against the thick white blanket, leaving soft red brush strokes where she sat, with her head in her damp hands. The candles there burned tall still and her shadow bounced high on the wall.


The day drew its first light of sun through the windows of their home. He lay cramped on the deep couch, and she lay cold on top of the dry and wrinkled flower petals. The candles had exhausted themselves and the music had stopped a long time ago.