If you live with your spouse long enough you learn everything about them--right? ...until one stormy night on my island home.
photo by ldyck
It was a typical Mayne Island winter. The wind blew; the line snapped, and the power was cut. My husband and I sat at the dining room table, staring at each other through candlelight. We'd just finished a two-hour game of Scrabble. He'd won—of course. Together, we collected the letter tiles and tossed them back into the small blue cloth bag. I drew the cords closed and placed the bag in the game box.
Facing untold hours of nothingness, I grew determined to strike up a conservation. "I don't like yellow."
Henry reached for the magazine that lay abandoned on the table.
Second attempt, "Sarah left Bill."
He stared at me with hard eyes. "Does that concern us?" He flipped open the magazine, skimming from one glossy ad to another.
Some people may have given up at that point, but I didn't. "Listen."
"Look at me. I have to tell you something."
His focus shifted from the half-dressed women straddling the motorcycle to me. "What?" Back to the woman.
"I'm a thief."
"You?" He chuckled. It sounded like a hiccup. "Really?" He flipped a page.
And so I confessed...
Back when I was about eight or maybe nine, my parents took me grocery shopping. In the car, they told me I couldn't have a treat. They explained that it was too close to dinnertime. I told them I understood, but in the store, I couldn't stop thinking about my stomach. It growled and I fantasized about coating my tongue with chocolate; about my teeth crunching the nuts. But I didn't beg. I was determined to comply with their wishes. Silently, I followed my parents to the counter and waited as they paid for the groceries. But then I made a tragic error. I looked over at a shelf full of chocolate bars. I stuffed my hands into my pockets and looked away. But I heard the chocolate bars calling to me. A chocolate bar jumped off the shelf and into my pocket. I tried to put it back on the shelf, but it was stronger and refused to budge. So I had no choice, I carried the bar to the car and climbed into the backseat.
My parents poured praise on me. “You’re such a good girl,” they told me, “You didn’t even ask for a treat.”
The chocolate bar called to me, promising deliciousness and so I unwrapped the bar. I stuffed it into my mouth.
My parents must have heard the tearing, the chewing. They looked at me in the backseat. They froze me in time. They saw my chocolate lipstick. Their disappointment was thick, suffocating. “You need to go back into that store and confess what you’ve done.”
I begged them to go with me, but they refused.
In a fog of shame, fear, I stood in front of the grocer. "I'm a bad girl," I told him and tears slid down my face. "I stole a chocolate bar."
Maybe it was my tears... Maybe it was my honesty... Whatever it was, he gave me a yo-yo.
The pages of the magazine flew in the air like bird wings and landed on the table. "You got a toy for stealing?"
"And so began your life of crime."
"It did actually. You know those pork chops we had for supper? I stole them. But I only steal what I...what we need." I gestured at the window. "Like those curtains." I ran my hand across the table. "And this tablecloth." I stood and directed his attention to my sweater, my pants, and my socks.
In a hushed tone, he asked, "You stole everything?"
I'd clearly upset him but...
The corners of his mouth slowly formed a smile. He began to laugh.
"I'm not trying to be funny. I stole all of it—even you. I knew you were dating someone else when we met."
He placed his hands on the table, leaned forward, and glared at me like he was a judge—me a criminal. "Prudence, this has to stop. Now!"
"I know. I know," I told him.
He didn't need to know that I'd deposited an 'E' letter tile into my pocket. I was certain that I would need it the next time we played.
Wednesday, January 27
Virtual Author Reading
What do you do when a dream dies?
Sunday, January 31
Red Fox Road
a wilderness adventure story for readers of middle grade fiction
photo by ldyck
Are you following me?
How the seagull crossed the road...? No, why the seagull crossed the road...? No, wait. Oh, yeah.
Sharing my author journey...
I wasn't sure what else to do with this so I thought I'd share it with you...
I wanted to read your book, but it was so good my dog ate it.