A chill danced on the wind, bringing with it the warning of an early winter. The world seemed dull. The sky hung low, grey and desolate, its colorization seeping into everything it touched. The trees, the mountains, even the buildings, sighed, melancholy under the grey.
Her sullen green cape blended into the surroundings. If not for her red tangled mane, she would have been overlooked by anyone who looked into the backyard. Lost in thought, she remained still, a monument on a somber day. The only motion was an occasional wave of her hand as she spread out treats to her chickens. She was reaching into her bucket when he came up behind her. He knew she was closing her eyes, loving the strength of his arms around her; she was forever commenting about how safe she felt in his arms. He could smell the conditioner she had used in an attempt to tame her curls. She relaxed a little, leaning into him.
“I wanted to say bye before I headed out to my folks.” Harvest season was always busy, bringing with it the chance that he would be home late, leaving such little time with the wife he still longer for. Rushing from his regular office job to his folks didn’t leave them much time together.
He could feel her smile as his warm breath tickled her neck. “Here’s hoping for an early night.”
“If not, we’ll have time this weekend. Things have freed up a bit, so we should have more time together.” He tried to keep the sadness out of his voice, but knew she heard it. She was always perceptive about his emotions.
She turned and gave the most dazzling smile he had seen in a long time. “Really? You mean it?! That would be great, love. I miss being able to have you to myself at night.”
He gave her a slightly confused look. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, it just seems like, since the kids left, I’m on my own a lot. Especially this time of year. Either work or your folks take up your time.”
Why was he nervous about her saying that? He couldn’t place it. There was no way she knew. Even if she did, it wasn’t an issue now. “I know. I’m sorry. You deserve better.” She did and he knew it. From here on out, things would change and she would get better than what he had been giving her. Current events were making sure of that, giving him one hell of a sign.
“Hun, you haven’t been that awful.” She laughed as a hen pecked her shoe.
His gazed followed her’s. Was that…chicken meat she was feeding them? She never fed the chickens chicken. Too cannibalistic, was her claim. He nodded at the pail. “What’s that you’re giving them for a treat?”
“The grocery store had turkeys on sale, dirty cheap. I cooked up a couple decent sized ones as a treat for them with how cold it’s been. I even ground down the bones for bonemeal and sprinkled it in the garden. Waste not, want not, right?”
“That’s you, babe. Always adapting.”
“Go ahead and head to your folks, I’ll keep dinner on for you.” She stood on her toes and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
As he stared the old Dodge, he waved at her. Backing out the drive, the fanbelt gave its customary squeal, making his wife laugh. He gave her a small smile before heading up the road.
On his drive, his thoughts drifted to another woman. Someone he could never love, but enjoyed spending time with. It had been a week since he last heard from his caramel haired goddess. She always left him begging, thirsty for more, but over a month ago, her texts had slowed down. She refused to meet with him, claiming she was sick of his game and planning to back to California. She had no family left, but at least out there she had some friends. A week ago came the last text. She was done. If he wasn’t leaving his wife, than their fun was over. She was done waiting. Little did he know, her phone now rested in the bottom of the river that ran by her now empty apartment.
His temptress, a midlife crisis of gorgeous proportions, was out of his life. This might be the chance to rekindle his marriage. He knew his wife was amazingly adept at making the most of any situation. Still, he couldn’t help but feel as though his wife had something to do with the current change.