On Saturday, they walked in the woods,
kicking up the browned leaves that had fallen on the path. She tilted
her head to listen. “They sound like the waves on the ocean, when
we were on our honeymoon.”
“Almost five years,” she said.
They paused at the stump of an old oak,
rotten and empty like a decayed tooth. She took up a handful of wood
and crushed it in her glove, watching the wood disintegrate and fall
to the earth.
“We never should have married.”
“I know.” She brushed the debris
onto her jeans.
She shushed him, pressing an index
finger against his lips. “Don't...” She bent and gathered
hickory nuts, examing each for tiny weevil holes before placing it
into the plastic bag she'd tucked into her pocket. “I knew about
them, of course. Some of them, anyway.”
He shook his head. “I don't know.”
She sighed. “I'll give you the
Sunday morning, he packed his bags in
the quiet of the morning. “I'm sorry,” he said. And his smile was
hollow and dull.
And he smiled again, and this time his
smile was genuine—the smile he used to give her freely and without
“Get out,” she said.
When she heard the front door close
behind him, she rose and padded to the kitchen. She took out the bag
of hickory nuts and spread them on a cookie sheet to dry.
Two weeks later, he called from his new
apartment. “Happy anniversary.”
She said nothing.
“I'm looking out the window from the
42nd floor. There are these workers out there, repairing a
bridge.” He gave a laugh. “They look so small.”
Still, she was quiet.
“I want you back,” he said.
She hung up the phone.
She picked up her hammer and smashed a
hickory nut. She pushed aside the shell and picked out the tiny
Thanks to H for the description of the leaves.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge