Runcible Spoon

poetry and prose webzine

Poetry Prose Submissions Contributors Home heart logo Privacy Notice Links Traci Mullins

I Can Always Count on You

 

Living in denial was a skill that Marie had whittled to a fine point. With it she could rewrite the stories of Matt’s indiscretions and maintain her illusion of a fairytale life. All she’d ever wanted was a happy family. Domesticity was her lifeblood. Matt was her high school sweetheart. They’d even been talking about having another baby.

 

But how could she pretend she hadn’t seen what she had today? Lying on the ledge surrounding the newly planted petunias at Fifth and Lake were Matt’s keys. She recognized them immediately—she’d bought him the fine leather key chain on their honeymoon in Venice. It was looking rather worn, she mused. She should get him a new one.

 

Matt’s office was five miles from where Marie had found his keys as she walked from her car to buy daisies at Spencer’s. Surely it was no coincidence that she lived less than a block away. Delilah. Even her name suggested someone who would use her wiles to siren weak men. Weak men like her husband. Had they been together today? Marie didn’t want to know. But the keys jammed into the side pocket of her purse demanded an explanation.

 

When Matt banged through the screen door a few hours later, he called out, “Hi, Honey!”  

 

He entered the kitchen where Marie was frying onions for supper and asked, “Have you seen my keys?” Marie’s clipped “Nope” was all she offered him.

 

“Steve had to drive me home,” Matt said. “I have no idea where I left my keys.”

 

Keeping her back to him, Marie fumed. Maybe Delilah could help you retrace your steps. She must have driven you back to the office after your nice little break from work.

 

Matt, oblivious to his wife’s clenched jaw, said he was going to change and go for a run. “I’m sure the keys will turn up.”

 

For the rest of the evening, Marie busied herself cleaning the kitchen until it sparkled and catching up on the laundry—anything to tamp down her fury. As she ironed Matt’s shirts before bed, Marie forced herself to refocus. She lost herself in memories of the early years and fantasies of future marital bliss. She was a master at make believe. It served her agenda so well.

 

In her last act of the evening, Marie walked into the bedroom with Matt’s keys dangling from her index finger. “Look what I found,” she said brightly.

 

“Great!” Matt said. “Where did you find them?”

 

“In your pocket when I took the last load of laundry out of the dryer. They were there all along.”

Matt smacked his wife on the lips and smiled. “I can always count on you.”