The couple are getting older and the threats are everywhere. The fire. The gas. The stairs. Burglars. The weather. And the vast green space that encroaches upon their house.
“We should move,” says the woman.
“Where to?” asks the man.
“To a place where we can cope,” says the woman.
“I don’t know,” says the man.
Every day they make new lists: Reasons to Leave and Reasons to Stay. And every day they feel defeated. They’d like to move but for nothing to change (except for the threats). Which means that now, there’s nowhere for them to go.
Eva Rivers lives and works in London. Her fiction has appeared in Fictive Dream, Sick Lit Magazine, Penny Shorts, The Drabble, 101 Words, Firefly Magazine, Storgy and Scribble Magazine.
There once was a man who fell asleep on a snowy day. His beloved watched him with dreaming eyes that saw the past him, awkward and admiring, and the future him who would hold her hand whether they were in far off land on adventure, or working together to pay bills for the mundanities of life. These images came together in the sleeping form of the him who now held her hand as he slept in this tiny, cold apartment.
When I was eleven I finally dove off the highdive. Well, okay, not dove – jumped. I wasn’t brave enough to dive. The mechanics of going headlong into the abyss confounded me.
I avoided the highdive for six summers before mustering the gumption to climb that ladder. It was a trembling ascent, and the trepidation followed me to the edge of the board, where I stood—teeth chattering—unwilling to chance a glance down. I looked back. A line of kids waited anxiously at my back. Finally, I held my breath, closed my eyes, and jumped.
You were beautiful; a fragile figure framed in the power of patriarchy, a smiling lady painted with ceruse and mercury, a corseted belle sitting silently in a banquet of lies, with a drop of belladonna hiding the sadness beneath your sparkly eyes.
The wedding day got closer. They said you could be prettier. And so they forced a poison down your throat; a poison of sickly beauty believed to keep your confidence afloat.
But the wedding day never came. Your untimely death was the one to blame.
The most beautiful you was the you that slept forever without pain.
Huge photos of her wedding day still hung on her wall, she was now divorced. The brilliant white of her dress the same white of her cat, now her only companion. The poor creature was overly pampered, overly loved and only allowed out on a lead. So we saw her, for hours every day, wondering the streets, walking the cat. Occasionally she talked on the telephone, sometimes smoked a cigarette, as the cat meandered around her feet. And then it died, as cats do, so her parents came to take her away, she couldn’t cope anymore.
First, consult the Bible. It’s full of advice on making it with the ladies.
Here, the 10th Commandment is most germane. It states: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors ox,” which probably applies to wives, too. [But remember, we’re talking about the Tenth (i.e., the least important) Commandment. So, to be safe, check your HOA covenants regarding livestock.]
If your neighborhood doesn’t permit livestock, then it doesn’t permit your neighbor’s ox, which, Biblically speaking, means it doesn’t permit his wife, either.
So, you’re obviously entitled to go to your neighbor’s house and remove said ox, at which point she’s yours!