Lauren hated Howard with all her might and she could have killed him if he’d been home.
And no, this wasn’t because he had a fling with the chatty gal who sold pears and apples right across the street. Lauren had hated her husband for a long time before he’d even notice the girl. She hated Howard with all the might of a vengeful god, with the simplicity that is brought to life by too many moments passed together.
Lauren hated his smell which wouldn’t go away even with the forty-plus cigarettes she smoked every day, she disliked his breath, his voice, and after enough time she’d began to hate the mere thought of him. She disliked the boy too, but you would never haveher admit that. First of all because it wasn’t normal, it wasn’t normal for a mom to hate on her own flesh but she did. She did because once, while turning off the lights in the child’s bedroom, Joshua lifted his weary eyes towards her and she noticed, she noticed this lack of will which characterized his father, she noticed his tearful gaze as if she were some sort of goddess born to decide of their fates and she hated both of them for this.
And. She. Hated. That. They. Made. Her. Uncommon.
She couldn’t talk about this to anybody, it was… it was just like Howard’s sexual prowess. A deep dark secret, which had grown into her while leaving her incomplete.
Sometimes, her husband would lay down on her and squeal, squeal for minutes, even. Not long enough for her to be satiated but still too long. She knew there was much more regarding intimacy, regarding sensuality, it was something her couple missed. This was all, and nevermind the fact that once the boy was born, Howard surely never looked at her the same. He’d close himself into his room, he’d read papers, magazines which contained nudity. Offensive stuff.
Lauren just dreamt of something else, anything, an apocalypse even. She’d turn thirty and looked at him and she couldn’t hold it any longer. In a way, she knew she did push him towards the fruit lady. Let the big boy spend his money on a young’un, I hope she’s happy with the squealing, Lauren thought to herself.
The not-so-young women was standing in front of a window in their flat which seemed oh-so-damp all the frigging time.
She thought of Wally Reid, she thought of Art Acord while her husband just looked like Fatty Arbuckle, except he didn’t have the balls to actually end her life while using a smashed bottle. She thought of all she could have done out there in California if he hadn’t entrapped her here in Oakmont.
She took another drag while thunder rolled past over her head, far above the city.
Lauren had to face the fact, she was stuck here in Massachusetts, and she didn’t work, so she may never have enough money to get to California, and quite frankly, maybe it was already too late. She’d seen the ridges forming at the corner of her eyes, she’d try to have a steady weight, and she had been pretty successful but this wasn’t enough. Just a little too late.
Once upon a time, Lauren had taken theatre classes, and she’d been good at it. That’s how she met Howard, for all the luck this brought her. She was reciting a sentence from a Midsummer Night Dreams when she saw his then thin figure. Back in those days Howard was handsome. The tall, broody type. Sur he noticed her glare, and made her blush when he asked her out. Those… those were good days she’d have to admit it.
Those were the Providence days, before Oakmont and its dirty houses, its ugly people and its messed-up art. Sometimes, she would walk in the streets and be amazed at how such a town had been built, as if all the loonies from, every state, had a come together and assemble. If you’d ask her, she would have told you, she didn’t think some of the inhabitants where even humans.
Lauren hated the city so much; she’d place it right underneath Howard in her angry black list but above the kid. It wasn’t the kid’s fault, he had Howard’s genes.
The town, the town wasn’t normal, this was all there was to it and ever since Howard had taken her here, he’d become secretive and fat, and maybe his eyes got bulgy? She didn’t know, she didn’t look at him.
Sometimes, as the vengeful spirit she was and always had been, she dreamt she could crumble the town into the palm of her hand. Crunch it with all its miscreants and all its subhuman beings until there was nothing else left but the sand of a Cali cove.
She would let the boy live, though.
8 p.m. she noticed turning her back to the window while something, somewhere was rumbling. Maybe some dim-witted immigrant had stuck a pile of pole, cause the noise would not stop.
She hated the decorum in her living room, what with all the fish and stuff that Howard brought back from his little escapades with Miss Pears. Anyway, Lauren smiled to the boy who was playing on a rugged carpet with tentacles sewn onto it.
- Mommy, what’s that noise? asked Joshua.
- I don’t know, love, somebody must have dropped something.
- It’s getting louder, mommy, corrected the child, with those pleading eyes his mom hated so much.
- Come, come on, I’m sure there’s nothing to it, she said while taking him to the window she left seconds ago.
And there it was, a wave so big it drowned entire blocks, high enough she could spot its foam above the buildings which usually shielded her sight. Lauren gasped as it swallowed the building which stood in front of theirs. She hugged the kid.
The window exploded.
If you’re interested in the process which brought this flash fiction to life, you can chekc my article One tip from a Dilettante Writer.