It was a beautiful day in her downtown apartment, the sun shined brightly through the heavy drapes and she smiles in hopes of a wonderful day. She is alone in her bed as he had left for work early. She stretches and inhales the morning with an obnoxious yawn. She giggles to herself as she fixes and straightens the bed. For a final stretch she walks slowly, almost dragging her feet, to her wardrobe closet.
As she surveys her options, pushing through each hanger, she puts her finger to her lips and tilts her head sideways. She was growing tired of her clothes, but she knew they couldn’t afford some of the things she had wanted. She didn’t need much anyway, she would say to herself as she shrugged off the thought of even wanting more. She opted for a red knitted v-neck sweater and a dark blue pair of jeans that were starting to fade at the seams. She sifted through her lingerie drawer, pushing underwear to the sides haphazardly as she frowned at the disapproval each pair, mentally sorting them by comfort. Rolling her eyes she found a pair of practical cotton underwear and bra whose colour was a dingy off-white grey from mistakenly washing with her darks. She sighs at the sad looking undergarments, but continues to collect her robe and towel and proceeds to the bathroom.
She runs the water until it gets hot as she takes her pyjama shirt and underwear off in a graceful sweep. She stares at herself in the mirror. She can see her age in her reflection, she smiles turning from left to right positioning herself to see each side of her body. She is content with what she sees and is comfortable with what the years have done. She isn’t perfect and she never aspired to be anything but herself.
Noticing the steam from the water rise behind her in the mirror. She quickly spins around and neutralizes the water temperature, tapping the rushing water with her fingertips. She reaches for her brush on the counter and quickly detangles her split ended hair. With every knot that got trapped in her brush, it was a reminder that she hadn’t been to the hair salon in over two months. She, again, shrugged the thought away and stepped into the tub letting the water run down her body, in hopes that the water would also wash away her thoughts.
After she’d showered and finished applying her minimal makeup, she noticed her cellphone was blinking that she had missed a text. Surprised, she quickly grabbed it. He had texted her that his day would be a long one and wished her a great day. Her eyebrows furrowed as she bit her lip in concern and texted back that she wished him a great day, too. She felt a little deflated by his text, but continued to collect her keys, coat and shoes and proceeded to do some much needed grocery shopping.
She had stopped by her best friend’s house, after her shopping, they had lunch and they laughed and chatted about their plans and dreams. She was lucky to have found a friend that had very similar aspirations. Occasionally, she would look at her friend’s clothes, observing how she wore her success. Money wasn’t an issue for her friend, but for her, the worn seamed jeans and old red sweater she was wearing suddenly made her feel frumpy and a tad ashamed. Being so in-tune with her, her friend lovingly smiled at her and told her how beautiful she was. Her friend always knew what and when to say those perfect things, her eyes clouded. She tried to discreetly wipe away her tears, thinking how stupid she was for crying, then she turned back towards her friend, who never took her eyes off of her. They smiled at each other continuing their chat and finishing their lunch, with laughter.
Looking down at her phone, she sadly excused herself out of her friend’s house, thanking her for an always fun time and promised to call her after dinner. She felt energized and happy as she readied herself in her seat for her drive back to her downtown apartment.
She knew she was running a bit late, she tended to lose track of time whenever she was with her friend. It was already late afternoon and she still had some laundry to put away and dinner to make. She began mentally listing all the things she had to do, biting her lip with angst. Her phone started to buzz. Gripping the wheel staring at the road, she tried to reach for it. Sadly, it was just out of her grasp and she opted to let it sit as she was already pulling into her apartment’s underground parking.
When she finally pulled into her assigned space she sighed as she removed her key out of the ignition and unbuckled her seatbelt. She grabs her phone and reads that he would be home in an hour and she smiled replying that she was excited to see him. With that, she tossed her phone in her bag and grabbed her groceries from the trunk and proceeded to the elevator. She quickened her pace remembering her mental list of things to do.
When she entered her apartment she saw her unfolded clothes piled on the bed and her living room was disheveled. She instantly sprung into clean mode and rushed herself putting the groceries away then she folded and put her laundry away. Tying her hair back in ponytail, quickly, left a piece of her bangs dangling on one side of her face. She blew the strands away as she rushed to the kitchen to start dinner.
She kind of had a master skill level for cooking and she relished as she added fresh herbs and vegetables to her meal. She smiled to herself as the aromas traveled throughout the apartment. She carefully and lovingly sliced each vegetable and piece of meat into her perception of perfection. As she stirred and mixed, she would smile to herself remembering bits of her conversation with her friend earlier. She gave her fresh salad a light toss adding her red wine vinegarette dressing and shreds of cheddar cheese. She started humming her favourite song as she arranged her meal into large serving platters, then she set the table for two and smiled proudly at her creations.
Checking the time she decided to freshen up her face and untie her hair while she waited for him to get home. She was full of anticipation for his return and couldn’t wait to see his face again. She couldn’t wait to tell him what she had bought and the meals she wanted to make, as well as tell him about her visit with her friend. She smiled as she brushed her hair and added some lipgloss to her dry lips. Just as she was doing her last checks in the mirror she heard him enter the door.
They called out their greetings to each other and he called out how he could smell her cooking in the hallway and couldn’t get in the door fast enough. She met him by the dining room table and he kissed her telling her how everything looked great. She gave her biggest smile back at him but he turned away quickly and said he had to wash up first because he had too much grease on his hands. Her smile turned to a grin and she fidgeted wringing her fingers and hands within themselves. She felt a bit of a strain in his voice and with no eye contact, she knew he had a hard day at the garage. When she heard him start the shower she sat down in her chair biting her lip watching their dinner grow cold with every minute, right before her eyes.
They sat down to eat and her eyes lit up as she talked about her day and the wonderful meals she had planned for the week. He listened quietly as he ate his food only letting out the occasional grunt of agreement. He doesn’t look at her just at his food and she could feel her excitement fleeting away. She asked about his day, mustering up as much happiness and interest as she could. He shoves a full fork of food into his mouth and between profanities tells her how he hated his boss and his coworkers. She had heard this before and felt helpless to take his stress away. Her interjections were of encouragement and that she thought he was an amazing mechanic and could open up his own shop. He gulped down a swig of water as he raised his eyebrows, replying that he was just a worker anyway. They continued the rest of the meal in silence and when she offered to warm the food up again, but he brushed it off saying that it was fine.
After clearing the dinner plates and loading the dishwasher, she mentioned that she had bought some ice-cream and offered to bring him some. He declined as he laid on the couch covering his eyes with his hand. Her eyes shifted around the living room, searching for some kind of distraction. She asked if he was ok and he gave no answer.
Suddenly, her cellphone called her from her bag and she instantly knew it was her friend. She took her phone into their bedroom talking loudly and excitedly. Her friend had met a great man and they proceeded to talk about her friend’s date and the fact that he had a brother. She giggled with her friend saying there’s no way she would double date with her and they laughed. After an hour long conversation they said their goodbyes and she smiled as she plugged her cellphone into it’s charging wire.
She stood up and headed towards the living room to see how he was doing. She was surprised to see him standing in the hallway close to their bedroom door. She smiled and asked how he was, but her smile slowly faded as he stood quietly in the hallway looking towards the floor. She frowned asking him if he was ok she started thinking if she had cooked the food correctly, then worried that he may not be feeling well. She asked a second time if he was ok, this time her question was met with his glaring eyes at her. Her eyes grew big and her heart started racing she asked again what was wrong. He glared at her and with gritting teeth asked her if she was cheating on him. Stunned by the reply she asked him what he was talking about. Her confusion in her mind raced with her heart. She could see his shoulders starting to tense and she quickly told him she didn’t know what he was talking about. He proceeded to say through his gritted teeth that he heard the whole conversation and he already knew the truth. She exclaimed that the conversation had nothing to do with her. He stepped towards her, she turns her head away from him as he yelled into her face that he had heard every word.
Within a moment of her looking back at him, he had wrapped his strong hands around her neck and lifted her off the ground. Her eyes grew big as she desperately tried to loosen his grip with her hands. She stretched her neck out trying to gasp for air. She looked toward the ceiling as it moved above her, he was taking her towards the living room. She tried desperately to reach her feet to the ground feeling his grip tighter around her throat. She blinked and blinked as her vision started to fade, feeling her back hit her couch. He was now on top of her squeezing tighter, she felt her body grow limp as her vision went from red to black. He released her and she melted to the floor. She coughed and desperately tried to take in air. She was disoriented and she tried to right her vision, not knowing where he was. She heard his loud heavy footsteps coming back towards her and right when her vision gained focus, her eyes were met with the blade of the shiny chef’s knife she had so lovingly cut the ingredients for his meal with. His eyes were cold and his face was flushed and he held the tip of the blade to her face. He angrily growled that he would not let her make him look like a fool. She turned her head away and closed her eyes as pressed his knife into her throat.
She didn’t feel pain in her final moments, she saw light as bright as the sun, she saw herself in brand new clothes, her body was flawless and her hair was perfectly cut and styled… and… she was humming happily as she prepared his meal.