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For Better Or For Worse

wedding ringsIt was their golden anniversary. The children had grudgingly come over to celebrate with them. He’d insisted on it, of course, and they had acquiesced. For his sake, to be sure. Not for her. Never for her.

So she decided to pull out all the stops. She’d spent all week cleaning the house from top to bottom, even moving the refrigerator and the stove in order to clean behind them. She’d put fresh linens and fresh cut flowers in all of the bedrooms. She’d polished the silver and hand-washed the antique lace tablecloth that had been in his family for generations.

Then she’d turned to the menu planning. For appetizers, she would serve cantaloupe and prosciutto as well as fig and chèvre wrapped in bacon. Then, a hearts of palm salad.  The main meal would be surf and turf, his favourite. She’d ordered fresh lobster from the fish market and filet mignon from the butcher. Steamed jasmine rice and parmesan roasted asparagus on the side. For dessert, another favourite – white chocolate cheesecake with white chocolate brandy sauce.

She’d taken her time setting the table, making sure the gleaming silverware was perfectly aligned. Each crystal wine glass sparkled invitingly. Each linen napkin was expertly folded into a swan and sat at an exact 45° angle in the middle of every china plate. Everything was perfect.

The children arrived and heartily greeted their father, offering congratulations and pseudo jokes about “trading in the 50 for two 25s”. She accepted their jokes and the perfunctory kisses they proffered with what she hoped was a graceful silence. She invited everyone to the dining room, where the meal awaited. She felt a rush of pleasure when they were unable to conceal their admiration for the beautiful setting.

He moved to the head of the table and sat down. She took the seat to his left and waited for him to begin eating. Once he did, she picked up her fork and knife and cut into her filet mignon. As she chewed the tender morsel, she knew instantly the meat was cooked medium, not medium rare. One bite. And she knew.

The silverware clattered onto her plate as his right hook connected with her cheek.

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Welcome to Day 12 of the Second Third Annual 30 Minus 2 Days of Writing. Today’s prompt was One Bite and it was brought to you by the bane of my existence and past president of the Tri-State Amateur Jenga Players Association, P.J. Please click on the links below to visit the other people participating in this challenge. Don’t make me tell you twice.

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  • I don’t know why but I was expected a twist. But not that.

  • You are one heck of a story teller mon amie. And not just today. It’s a pleasure to stop here first thing every morning and read your literary cadeaux. Today’s was another fine effort You lulled me in to your lovely tale and then – whoop – there it is. After a startled moment I starting laughing so hard I nearly fell off my chair. You are one talented lady. And I wanted you to know how much I appreciate your stories.

  • O M G

  • Wow, that last line really got me! Like Shawn, I was expecting something, but that hit me out of the blue. Excellent story telling. Makes me curious why the children were there for *his* sake. She seems like the victim not the villain.

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  • Unfortunately Linda, abusers often turn the children against the abused. It’s another form of abuse. They eventually see her as deserving everything she gets and him as the victim, having to ‘put up’ with her.

  • Well, at least I didn’t kill anyone this time. 🙂

  • Wow, I don’t know what to say. Thank you, Dufus. That means a great deal to me.

  • I’m sure your wife is relieved to hear it. 🙂

  • Didn’t see that coming…neither did she, I guess. Could a marriage like that last that long? I will celebrate my 50th anniversary in a little over 6 years and I won’t be going to all that trouble. I might order in Papa Johns for all I know. I have time to figure it out but whatever I do my husband will think I am wonderfully clever.

  • Yowzer! Powerful stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of darkness in anything you’ve written before. It’s beautifully written, especially the imagery in all the details. Also I got the feeling that these were her step-children and maybe that’s why they resented her.

  • Holy crap, Nicky. That was masterfully written. I knew there was something coming, a twist, but still you took me by surprise. You have the gift of words, my love, I could truly feel her dread when she bit into the steak and realised it wasn’t cooked to his liking. Amazing.

  • Hey — where’s Cheesy Mike?

  • She needs to a. Put a spiked heel through his brain and b. cut off his privates and cook THEM medium rare!!!

  • frankleemeidere

    Wow! That is classic. Damned good job.

  • Wow! That is quite a story for today-well done! You seem to be coming from a very dark place, perhaps related to leaving the happiest place on earth and having a huge emotional letdown???

  • I adore this. I didn’t see it coming either. What a bastard! Why did his kids seem to side with him? I want more of this. Write a part two, please, where she sticks the steak knife in his gonads! Beautifully done! Seriously!

  • ReformingGeek

    Oh my. You are a great storyteller! I’m with Linda. Yes, he gets it with the steak knife!

  • Holy, hell! You blindsided me, just like he blindsided her!

  • MalisaHargrove

    Hey, I’m back! Just in time to experience this poor woman getting socked in the eye. You painted such a wonderful picture of the special event. I could see every detail on the table. The food sounded delicious. Then WHAM BAM, THANK YOU MAM. Crapola! I need to say two things. First, your female character needs a psych exam for staying with such an ass hat for fifty years. Second, her kids are worthless for letting her remain in that situation. They should all use their steak knives and cook dad medium rare!

  • You’d be surprised – and a little depressed – to know how long women will put up with abuse Cheryl. I think in most cases, they really feel they deserve it. Or perhaps that they don’t deserve better. Either way, it’s pretty sad. I think you’re husband knows how wonderfully clever you are, even without the Papa John’s! 🙂

  • Yes, it’s true. Beneath the happy-go-lucky-yet-often-crazy-because-I-live-with-Jepeto-after-all exterior, lays a dark, morbid soul. I mentioned to Linda below that abusers often manipulate the children to turn against the abused, as an extension of the abuse.

  • Thank you Lemmikki and just so you don’t worry, I would never hurt you. Unless you asked me to, of course.

  • I believe he’s recooking my filet mignon – properly this time! 🙂

  • MsDarkstar

    You mean a steak not cooked to perfection begets violence? Huh… well, this changes everything.

  • mikewjattoomanymornings

    Well, it was a filet mignonette. Pricy cut of meat, that.

    And wow. I bow before you, Master Author. Or is it Mistress authoress? Either way, nicely done.

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  • KZ

    You pulled this off so well, Nicky. Everything looks so bleak in retrospect.

    Are you sure this is still a comedy blog? 🙂

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