The monotony of the everyday routine is killing her. She needs to be noticed.
She rises before everyone else at 5 am. Quietly sliding out of bed, careful not to wake him, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Out of habit, she slowly opens the bedroom door and listens to the rhythmic sounds of her children sleeping soundly, smiling to herself at their beautiful quiet. Tiptoeing down the stairs, she sets up the coffee maker, laces up her runners and zipping her jacket, steps outside into the frosty morning.
The run was quicker than usual this morning… what usually takes 27 minutes only took 25. She attributes it to the cold weather. She is flushed and sweating as she steps onto the porch to stretch.
He is awake. He sits at the kitchen table, slowly sipping his coffee, the hum of the morning news on the television in the next room. His glance at her is only sweeping, as it always is. That disapproving look that one might throw at a dog which has roamed into the house with muddy feet. The indifference hangs in the air like thick smoke.
She wants him to notice. She waits for it… searching his face for any recognition.
“Everyone still sleeping?” she whispers, giving up.
“I’m just going to jump in the shower quickly and I’ll be right back out. That ok?”
She rolls her eyes as she heads to the bathroom. Another conversation wasted. Another moment passed. She rubs her arms, feeling the blood rushing back into them. She closes the door behind her, leaning her back against it and gently banging the back of her head against it, exhaling slowly. This will never change. She steps into the hot shower.
As she dries off, she catches her form in the mirror. Her nakedness is not horrible. She has stretch marks on her belly from two pregnancies, stretch marks on her arms and legs from weight gain and loss, the silvery spiderwebs a constant reminder of the body she once had. She runs her fingers over them, feeling their smoothness. 30 pounds later, she is proud of these marks. They remind her of how far she has come. Why doesn’t he see it? Why won’t he just say something?
Their marriage had become tedious. They had separate lives within one house. On the outside, they were that socialite couple. But if you watched them closely, you would see his apathy was apparent. The more she tried to be included in his conversations, the more annoyed he got, until finally she would give up.
She tried everything to get his attention again. Counselling – he went twice and said it was a waste of money, she lost weight – he had yet to recognize it….
Another new outfit. Something form-fitting. She bought it on a whim, spending more than she normally would have, but knowing that it looked good on her. She buttons the shirt, her eyes fixed on her own in the mirror, giving herself strength. This is it. He only has one more chance to claim these changes she has made for himself.
The morning continues, as it always does. Breakfast for the kids and him, everyone dressed for the day. Lunches packed – check. Backpacks – check. Coats, hats, boots, and out the door. She watches as he hugs the kids and rubs the top of their heads.
Now? This is it… if she walks out that door…
He looks annoyed by the sound of her heels coming across the kitchen floor. No kiss goodbye, barely eye contact.
In the car, she adjusts the rear-view mirror, looking deep into her steel blue eyes. She has made up her mind. She will be unrecognized no more.
Today, a new woman is born.
“For this week’s prompt, let’s talk about sloth. Emotional or spiritual apathy. It’s not doing what we think we should.”
This is my first attempt at writing fiction in many years… constructive criticism is more than welcome 🙂