Flash Fiction: Glass Houses
Bob picked up the rock, weighing it in his hands. It was rough and mottled gray. Slate, maybe. Or granite. He didn’t really know anything about rocks, though he’d pretend to if it came up in conversation. That’s how you earned respect. Fake it till you make it. At least, that’s what he’d always been told. Not just by fathers, older brothers, uncles, and friends, but by bosses, articles, and studies as well. Fake it till you make it had always worked for Bob. Until Delores.
Delores had smiled indulgently the first few years through their marriage. Then over time the smiles grew fewer and further between, and her expressions grew less indulgent. But she was hardly perfect. Lazier as the years passed. Less inclined to be spontaneous. More inclined to roll over at night and ignore him. It hurt, but he never mentioned it and neither did she.
Bob looked at the glass doors leading into Delores’s new house. Well, it was a friend’s house, really, but Delores was inside. He clenched the rock, thinking hard. How could she have left, both of them in so much debt that it would take years to untangle it all between them? It wasn’t fair. He had tried, hadn’t he? He’d never been neglectful, unfaithful, or even unemployed for longer than a month. He’d done everything a husband was supposed to do.
But the wave of resentment washed past again, and his grip loosened on the rock until it slipped between his fingers. He’d done everything he was supposed to, but so had she. And somehow, still, they’d never been partners.
He looked up at the same frown he’d seen daily for the last twenty-three years and had a thought. What would happen if he stopped faking it? He took a step forward.
Mary Elizabeth Summer is the author of the young-adult Trust Me mystery series. She lives in Beaverton with her wife, their daughter, their dog, and their evil overlor—er, cats.