Troubles

He glanced at the dashboard. Damn. It’s 8:40 already. His wife must be worrying about him at their tiny flat. As if the heavens read his thought, the phone on the seat beside him started buzzing. Taking his eyes off the empty, dimly lit highway, he grabbed his old Nokia and flipped it open.

“Honey, sorry things got late at work… yeah…yeah…I’ll be home in ten minutes.”

Stepping on the gas, he tapped his fingers anxiously on the steering wheel.

***********************************************************************

She set two mugs of steaming hot chamomile tea on the rickety wooden table. Her gaze landed on a photograph on the wall. In it, the man and women were laughing, wrapped in each other’s arms, faces filled with bliss.

Their college days. Seemingly so far in memory and unburdened by the stress of paying bills. Absentmindedly rubbing her stomach, she wonders if the news she has would change the situation.

She glances at the propped up clock on the counter. 8:40. Why isn’t he back from work yet? Her head, flooded with memories, was overwhelmed with worry as she reached for the phone with shaking fingers.

***********************************************************************

He knew that he has not been there much for his wife lately. He didn’t mean to always come home late. It wasn’t his fault that his new boss was making all the employees work twice the regular time.

It’s paying the bills and putting food on the table. She’ll understand.

His grip tightened on the steering wheel as he stomped on the gas pedal, trying to shake loose the guilt building up inside him.

Suddenly, a dark shape leaped into the direct path of his beaten up Toyota. He swerved to avoid it but the speed made the car spin uncontrollably into the dense undergrowth beside the highway.

Sharp branches scratched the sides of the car as it made its way down the hill. The tires screeched.

His head bashed against the wheel violently. Before his vision went dark, he glanced up to see the dark shape finally illuminated by the broken headlights.

It was a deer. A deer in headlights. How ironic. His tired brain laughed.

***********************************************************************

9:20. Forty minutes has passed since that short call. 30 full minutes of lies. Logic has long since left and her mind was plagued with figures of her imagination. A flash of a red stiletto. A seductive sway of the hips. A young lady flirtingly lingering her fingers on the bicep of her man. She gripped her mug of now-cold tea with such animosity it was amazing the material didn’t shatter.

With shaking fingers, she grabbed the phone beside her and punched in the familiar number. There were a couple seconds of unanswered beeps then it went straight to voicemail. She threw the phone across the room, not even caring when it hit the wall with a smash.

Smashed, broken, just like them.

Alleviation. Her hands trailed down to her stomach again, finding the tiny bump that had risen up. She felt slightly better. The simple action calmed her down but it also brought new worries.

What are they going to do?

 


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