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Better Living (standard:Psychological fiction, 1853 words)
Author: Robert FaleAdded: Jan 19 2010Views/Reads: 1728/956Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
After leaving a difficult man for an ordinary life, a woman finds life too ordinary to bear.
 



Better Living 

1 

She had been able to think of nothing more common to the present. Simple
duties, like washing the dishes or sweeping the yard, became sessions 
of uninterrupted thought, in which her mind would run through the 
moments of uncertainty she had suffered, just thinking about the things 
her ex-husband had said, the look in his eyes. Amel Day was once a 
quiet and beautiful man, and he loved the world like a drunk loved his 
friends or a dog loved its master, but after the damage had been done 
to him he found something awful inside. And often he would look upon 
her as if he had tasted something bad. Grail knew he would do crass 
things to destroy her, knew how carnal her once cherished loved one had 
become, but had no idea how much it would hurt. 

2 

Two years had gone by since he had cut her face and cracked her spine.
Ordinarily, time would heal nothing - not open skin nor shattered self 
- but in her respect it had done so. All cuts were repaired, all cracks 
were now invisible. She had remarried and was raising a daughter. She 
had a dog and a rose garden and a brand new Lexus. The nuclear life for 
her nuclear family. She did the same things, over and over; cleaned the 
house like a Good Housekeeping slave, raised her child while her plain, 
brand new husband drove to his plain job for a reasonable sum of money. 
Grail was bored, her days were repetitive, and soon she would be aged 
towards natural death. Bleak? In her words: ‘Nuclear families don't 
know bleak from shit!' 

There would always be a part of her that was also a part of Amel Day. He
had been in love with her, and told her so every morning. It was the 
kind of fiction romance every girl dreams of. To her, what had happened 
after the depression was irrelevant. Only those moments of bliss 
between them, the unpredictability of being young and foolish, were 
relevant. So why couldn't she think of anything other than his eyes, 
when those shards of hatred were ripping into him, and cutting her? 

‘Another part of me,' she said, drying the dishes, ‘another part of me
belongs to you.' Amel always took too much. 

3 

Grail cleared away the night's meal. No one had eaten anything, not even
Grace, her one year old girl. It was said that something was going 
around, making people sick, making people thin and tired, but Grail had 
not been hungry for some time. It was in the moment her mind had 
clicked into a rhythm of the past that she had lost interest in 
everything else. She shouldn't have been thinking about Amel Day at 
all, but she was. And still he took, this time her appetite. 

After clearing away the last of supper she walked into the spacious
living room of her cul-de-sac bungalow and sat beside her handsome and 
boring husband. He took her into his arms, watching a cop show on TV 
without glancing at her. She scratched his ear. He liked it when she 
did that. He looked at her. They kissed. She said I love you. He said 
it back. The baby slept. The dog chewed on a bone. The Lexus cooled in 
the driveway. Nuclear exploded. 

4 

Maybe the toll across to living through chemistry was too costly, but
she considered it more than once. Thinking about Amel was becoming so 
troublesome, and now she wasn't even sleeping bedside her boring 
husband in their plush and soft, nuclear bed. When he asked why she was 
so tired every morning she would say that their dog had barked her 
awake several times, but it was the past, misremembering her 
ex-husband, a man she had loved without condition, keeping her up. She 
tried hard to remember him as a comfort, a sexual excitement, a friend 
to all beyond the barriers she put up against society. But each time 
she saw him in her mind she re-experienced the hate he had held for her 
in the end. She imagined the foul words he would say. The spitting on 
sidewalks. The hissing at total strangers. Inside, Grail believed him 
to be a good man at heart. She couldn't accept that he was just a 
bastard. Not the man she had married. 


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