Friday, May 23, 2014

Fiction Friday: French Toast

When I came downstairs the next morning, Bettany was just serving up French toast and a pot of coffee.

"Morning, Carla! Thought I'd surprise you with a hot breakfast!"

I knew this was typical abusive remorse behaviour, but damn if I didn't crumble like a cracker for that French toast with maple syrup. She sat down with me and, as I had expected, apologized.

As apologies go, it wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst I'd heard either. She was genuinely sorry for her behaviour last night -- and over the past weeks -- but she didn't want to hear anything about change.

"Bettany, I think it's important for you to find out about welfare and getting your own place, not to mention enrolling Michael in kindergarten," I suggested. "Maybe you could go down to the library or city hall today and look into it?"

She could hardly say no to that, so she didn't really try. When I got home that night, the house was spotless, and I could smell a hot meal cooking, but Bettany said she hadn't had time to leave the house, what with laundry, cleaning, and cooking.

With anyone else, I'd have been tough, but I was afraid to push her. I really didn't want another scene -- for my sake or Michael's. So I let it pass and made some sympathetic noises.

Just the same, I sure as heck didn't want or need a housewife. I was quite content on my own and enjoyed the small amount of effort it took to keep my place clean and my tummy full, so that evening I sketched out a to-do list for getting Bettany (and Michael) out of my house.

At work the next day, I called city hall, filled in some of the details, and jotted them onto a sheet of notepaper.

When I gave Bettany the information, I expected her to be appreciative, but she took it like an eviction notice, a rejection. A, by now predictable, scene followed. No throwing of objects this time, but plenty of shouting and accusations. I left the house while she was in mid-yell and went for a walk.

I wound up at a coffee shop, reading a tabloid. Baseball scores, political peccadilloes, sensational stories.

Some guy had been found rotting in his house two weeks after his death. As a woman who (usually) lived alone, this was one of my nightmares: what if no one noticed I had died? But this guy had been married, and they said the circumstances looked suspicious. They were looking for a young woman accompanied by a preschool boy.

The hair on my neck stood on end, and I ran to the bathroom to vomit.

The Talking Heads were playing.
No visible means of support and you have not seen nuthin' yet
Everything's stuck together
I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set
Fighting fire with fire
For previous entries, visit my Fiction Friday page.


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