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Jan Stinchcomb The Widow

What Miranda likes most about her lover: he transforms himself to suit her needs. Just now he was gentlemanly, speaking with an English accent as he escorted her home from the market, carrying her bags, taking her by the waist to keep her from walking into a convertible with a giant balloon swan in the backseat. Yesterday morning he threw her on the bed while Rick was at a meeting. He was rough then, yes, his eyes turning dark and his voice dropping to a delicious baritone. And at the dinner party last Friday, when Miranda’s shyness made her disappear into the white tablecloth, he was a sweet guy from her hometown, giving her a pep talk as he rubbed the small of her back. She can never resist this mind reader who knows her soul. She has been awake for five hours now, and, while chopping vegetables and copyediting, fielding texts and setting appointments, she is searching for her lover in the corners of her mind, and when she finds him they will fly together to that place where, without ever having to speak, she is heard. Rick is the problem. No--she loves Rick, would sacrifice herself for Rick, which is why it’s sad and strange that Rick has to die. Alas, there is no way around it. Miranda can’t bear to let him live, even in a fantasy, while she’s with her lover. It wouldn’t be fair to anybody. She likes herself in widow’s weeds. Draped in black, she feels her lover’s hands on her breasts. He pulls her into the bedroom closet before she leaves for the funeral mass. No. Too obvious. Maybe he’s waiting for her when she gets home from the reception.

Crack the Spine - Issue 198  

Literary Magazine

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