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The Finish (standard:romance, 1603 words)
Author: PatriciaAdded: Dec 28 2003Views/Reads: 2269/1362Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A man re-discovers a forgotten past...
 



The Finish 

"Dinner will be ready in an hour, dear," his wife said sweetly as he
passed. 

He grunted.  Whatever. He'd be ready.  He always was. 

He detoured from the fridge, sighing.  Flopping on the couch in his
boneless way, and listening to his wife make dinner.  His eldest son's 
nascent interest in loud rock music resonated through his body. 

Irritated by the noise, he moved, twisting himself, trying to find a
more comfortable position on the couch.  The hard, lumpy, unforgiving 
and unrelaxing thing that his wife had insisted upon buying.  His 
treasured, molded and worn sofa relegated to the basement as no longer 
fit for use. 

Listlessly, he reached over to the coffee table and snagged a brightly
coloured book. 

Just flip through something before dinner.  He glanced at the ceiling. 
Gotta get to that one day, he thought, examining the slightly spotty 
finish, the stipple beginning to peel in some places.  A hole in the 
roof.  Big job. 

He sighed, and looked at the cover of the book that he had blindly
dragged off the table. 

'How to Work For Your Marriage' was the title, announced in flowery
script, complete with curlicues and roses bordering the cover. 

A thrill of fear shot through him.  What the hell?  I didn't buy this? 
What's it about?  Why is it here? 

Confused, he sat up, setting the book back on the table.  His heart
thudding in time to the driving rock beat coming from the basement. 

The conclusion was obvious, inescapable. 

She thought the marriage was in trouble.  She was going to leave him. 

Another jolt of fear.  More intense this time, the hairs on his arms
standing amid goose-bumped flesh. 

Oh my god!  She going to leave me!  I'm worthless!  A bad husband!  She
thinks I'm unworthy of her. 

He got up. Trouble was, she was probably right. 

He stamped to the door, savagely yanking it open and slamming it behind
him a he walked through. The mild catharsis of the sound releasing a 
stifling cloud of flaking paint from the doorframe. 

Shit. What brought this on, he wondered as he entered the garage.  It
wasn't like he had cheated on her. He worked hard at his job, bringing 
home a decent salary, finally able to buy the things that she wanted, 
the things they needed.  Certainly that was enough after twelve years 
of marriage.  What the hell was going on? 

She has a lover. 

The thought rose unbidden in his mind.  A green swamping miasma, choking
his vision, causing him to stumble as he waked to he workbench in his 
garage. 

A lover. 

His hand tightened convulsively on the splintered pine of the workbench,
his fingers creaking with the effort, the muscles in his shoulders 
bunching with barely restrained anger.  Small slivers of wood working 
their way into his callused palms, the tiny pinpricks of pain going 
unnoticed. 

Damnit, the bitch!  Wasn't he enough for her? 



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