Dinner’s Ready

The fork scraped across the glass plate. The room filled with the smell of cooked meat. She dabbed her mouth with the stained napkin. White napkins were a mistake. 

“Dinner was delicious,” she said, breaking the silence. “Thank you for cooking tonight.” 

 “Of course,” he said.

She stood up, collecting the two plates from the long dining table. She placed the plates in the sink, untied the silk chartreuse ribbon around her wrist, and used it to tie her hair in a low ponytail. She took the sponge from the tawny-stained wooden counter and scoured the plates while the man sat at the table, reading yesterday’s newspaper. 

“I’ll make dinner tomorrow night,” she said. The man swallowed, refusing eye contact with his wife. 

The sun shone through the dark green curtains. The woman slid out of bed, slipping on her maroon slippers and matching robe. She delicately stepped down the dark wooden stairs, careful not to wake her sleeping husband. She began breakfast, cracking the fragile eggs against the rose-colored bowl. She picked up the white eggshells and opened the bottom cupboard door, pulling out the trash can. Something caught her eye: a small plastic grocery bag. They hadn’t gone grocery shopping in weeks. She took the bag out of the trash can and unrolled it: at the bottom of the bag was a used condom. They hadn’t been intimate since their marital issues began months ago.

She could hear the floorboards creak upstairs. She rolled the bag up and placed it back in the trash can, wiping tears from her eyes.

“Good morning,” she said, not turning around. She could sense her husband examining her from behind. 

            “Morning,” he said.

            “Did you sleep well?”

“No. I need more space.”

“We’ll just have to figure that out then.” 

The woman spent her day in the living room. The needle went in and out of the yarn; the hat was taking shape, perfect for a baby’s head. She gently placed her hand on her swollen stomach as the man came into the living room.

“Is it done?” he asked. 

“Almost.”

“It better be.” 

The woman kept her hand on her stomach, as if to protect it.

            “I’m making a special dinner tonight,” she said. The man didn’t bother to respond.

The unpleasant afternoon came and went. The woman began preparing dinner, setting out plates and boiling water in the pot, as the man sat reading yesterday’s newspaper. She opened the fridge and froze.
            “Where is it?” she asked.

The man got up from the table and stood still alongside her.

            “Where is what?” He stared into her eyes, not looking away.

            “Where is it?” she said, raising her voice.

            “The dumpster. It was old and starting to smell and –” The glare she gave him was petrifying; he should never have told her where he hid the body. 

            The moon glared through the kitchen window. The fork scraped across the glass plate. The room filled with the smell of cooked meat. She dabbed her mouth with the stained napkin.

“Dinner was delicious,” she said, and smiled at the empty chair on the other side of the table.

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