The Carnations

I look at the wilting, pale pink, miniature carnations as they sit in their vase beside the kitchen sink. You aren't home yet, and I've already had time to wipe down the white marble counters and throw out the now stone-cold dinner that you also missed, after I ate by myself, again. I hear your car drive up the driveway, and I frown. You're an hour and a half later tonight than you were last night. What was the problem, couldn't get it up, dear?

"I'm sorry, honey," you say, walking in the door with a fresh bouquet of flowers. This really was becoming a routine for you. You "work late" three to four times a week, and would always come home with fresh flowers, to make it up to me.

...It never did.

On the bright side, though, the house always smelled beautifully.

I look down at the flowers you held in your hand and knew. You must've been feeling really guilty tonight for some reason, because they were roses. Roses were more expensive than normal everyday grocery store flowers. I silently wonder what trouble you got yourself into today, and why you never could leave the office on time anymore.

"The copy machine broke right before we closed up at five, and I had to wait for a repair man to come for two hours to fix it, then close down the office. You know how it is." You say, running a hand through your hair.

I sigh and turn away from you. No, I don't know how it is.

You place the roses on the counter, and set your briefcase down, next to a stool. You mumble that you are going upstairs to change and I nod, gripping onto my glass of water as I bring it to my lips and take a sip.

"Much better." You say when you come down the stairs again, trying your best to act normal. "What's for dinner?"

"No dinner left." I reply coldly. I only made enough for me, for once, assuming that you'd "pick up something" on your way home. After eating half a plate full, I felt sick to my stomach, and threw the rest out. I wasn't sick because of the food. I was sick because of you.

"Why not?" You ask, confused, not angry.

"Ate it all." I shrug, and brush shoulders with you as I walk past you, on my way into the living room. One of my favorite Lifetime movies was about to come on, and I don't want to miss it.

"Alice, what's wrong?" You ask, like you always do, when you realize I'm acting funny. You wonder to yourself if I could've possibly caught on to your little act. No, of course not, you decide, I'm not that observant.

"Nothing." I mumble, and shush you as you try your best to continue the conversation. You aren't completely confident in thinking that I don't suspect anything and maybe if you question me enough, you'll get a good, solid, yes or no answer. On the other hand, though, if I'm distracted by the movie being on, maybe I'll forget about you coming in late so often.

"Would you like a foot rub?" You ask.

I muted the tv. It was still the opening credits, any way."Would you like a divorce?"

"Wh-what?" This startles you, I can tell. Your eyes resemble a deer stuck in front of a car's headlights, your body frozen to your spot, with all of your muscles tensed.

"Because," I shrug. You don't think I know, but I do. I know exactly what you've been doing. 'You've been having an affair with your secretary, haven't you?' I want to say, but I'm almost afraid to. I'm afraid that I'll be wrong; but I'm more afraid that I'll be right. I'm also afraid of the fact that you still haven't answered my question. "I don't know," is all I can come up with. "We're just so distant lately."

"We're just going through a tough time." You reassure me. It doesn't take long for you to start yawning, and announce you're going to bed. I wait until my movie's over to move, and I know you must be sound asleep now. I tip toe into the kitchen to avoid making any possible noise, and stand in front of the sink, staring at those stupid, wilting, miniature, pink carnations. They were from the very first night you came home late, and I thought it was romantic that you missed me.

Reviews are appreciated very much. :)