unexpected by slingshotmama

14 Feb

Amy could not help but wonder if she was making a mistake.

Alan was a pudgy man, balding, and smelled often of garlic and onions. He liked numbers and logic and quiet girls like her, girls that didn’t dream or stretch, the ones that would settle… for him. It was part of his plan to look the part, but not have to play it. He wasn’t unkind; he didn’t yell or make demands. Merely, he was a ghost in their home, sometimes leaving dirty socks and underwear in the bathroom or a dirty coffee mug in the sink. If not for these small markers of his presence, she would forget him altogether.

She never had many boyfriends and had never been in love. Settling for this man, for his puzzle that was so perfect and concise was, perhaps, the best she could do. She stared hard at herself and pulled out an old, baby blue handkerchief, also borrowed (three birds with one stone) from Alan’s mother who was as logical as her son. She dabbed gingerly at her doe eyes shiny with tears. Not necessarily sad, she knew, with life like this she would never be happy. She fingered the lace eyelets that adorned her cuff. Her mother insisted the cream shade was more suitable for her voluptuous figure, the white, she said, would highlight every bulge. Great cascades of auburn curls rolled down her shoulder, her pale skin shimmered with the glittery powder her sister dusted all over her, her brown pupils shined brighter than ever contrasted sharply with her ever reddening eyes.

She remembered the night she made the decision to settle. It wasn’t romantic, not the romance she read about, not the kind in movies. Alan shoved his glasses up his greasy nose and, gesturing to last year’s mountain of receipts, invoices, and check stubs, mumbled, mostly to himself, “Getting married could really be a tax benefit.” She lifted her head slightly, sipping a glass of 14 dollar wine, “Sure…” and continued reading about a life she would never have, about a woman she would never be. Had it not been for her mother, they would’ve married at city hall with a couple witnesses, probably co-workers as neither of them had any close friends.

She smoothed the creamy wrinkles across the expanse of her belly and imagined a man who would appreciate it. She tugged the sweetheart neckline down a bit so her ample cleavage would seem a bit more… ample. She looked closely, making sure her mascara hadn’t run, though if it had, it wouldn’t matter. The stranger filled hall of guests would assume she was overwhelmed, weeping tears of joy on the happiest day of her life.

She fingered her lips, smearing pink lip gloss into the creases and corners of their fullness. She was beautiful and for the first time knew it.

Was this mediocre life good enough? Didn’t she deserve more? Do we really ever get what we deserve? Parents didn’t deserve to hold dead children and feel, with heavy hearts, that loss. Good people didn’t deserve to lose their jobs and homes. Starving people didn’t deserve to be hungry. Corporate CEOs didn’t deserve to fry fat pigs at home while their employees worked for pennies a day. Life wasn’t fair and her life was no exception.

She would marry Alan. She would work hard at a job that meant nothing to any one. She would play the role of Suburban Wife, Obedient Daughter, and one day, despite his overall absence – especially in the bedroom, Doting Mother. She saw her life roll out, uncomplicated and uncluttered, and knew Alan would be satisfied with the predictability of it all. No, not happiness, but at least this wouldn’t be difficult.

With one last look in the mirror, she picked up the bouquet of pink lilies and headed for the door. With a deep sigh she pulled the heavy door ajar to find Alan, out of breath, with red eyes, looking greasier than ever.

“Amy, I can’t marry you.”

“Oh…” was the only response she could muster.

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3 Responses to “unexpected by slingshotmama”

  1. ingridfnl February 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    Oh! The title should have told me… but it was unexpected. This is a great story. By the end, I wanted more for her too, and was glad that Alan couldn’t marry her… He deserved more too…

  2. jadamthwaite February 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    This is lovely – there are some really vivid descriptions throughout and I loved the ending. I could really feel Amy’s sadness building as she accepted her fate and I was so pleased for both of them that the wedding wasn’t going to happen.

  3. phoenix.writing February 21, 2010 at 6:50 pm #

    I’m with the others. Though Amy has worked herself into a bit of a stupor of acceptance of her fate, I think Alan’s decision is the best thing for both of them, and I hope that she’ll come to agree with that once the shock has worn off.

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