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An Ordeal

In the sunroom, she reads schools across the country are going to begin teaching deductive reasoning. Begin? She thinks. Was reason previously an elective? Extra credit? The night before she made fondue for her husband. After dinner he said, “Fondue. One of life’s greater disappointments.” She agreed but the comment made her feel as if she’d been struck. Now in the sunroom reading the paper she can’t take her mind off the needless cruelty of her husband, who is in the other room taking his midday nap. She reads the Pillowcase Rapist sentenced to live in Palmdale is being met with outrage from the community. If not Palmdale, where? Mars? Her mind remembers the week before when her husband had told her, “You expect little and pay less.” Why had he said that? How an offhand comment can make you loathe a person.

“Wake up. You’re snoring!” she yells from the sunroom.

Later her husband enters with coffee and suggests they take a drive along the mountains to catch up and take in the view.

“I’ve never believed in a scenic drive,” she says.

Apart for the rest of the day, she reads the Community Diversions section, a monthly calendar of local events. Most of the dates are left blank.

The sunroom is dark now but she remains in her chair, avoiding her husband who will soon come in and ask her when dinner will be ready. She will remain in her chair. She will not cook dinner. She will turn over a new leaf. She will suggest he make his own meal for a change. She will begin to stand up for herself. Both in life and in marriage.

Her husband will come in and notice her heavy with mood. He will ask, “What’s wrong? What’s your ordeal?” and she will roll her eyes and say nothing. Better to be a ghost of her former self than her former self.

Flash Fiction by Nedjelko Spaich

Published in Summer 2017


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