Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt: Newspapers and news sites show a plethora of depressing stuff from floods and wildfires and other environmental problems, to mass shootings, to refugee problems and other political and social crises. Write a story focused on a depressing occurrence and give it a happy ending.
This week’s story comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, is available from her locally or on Amazon, to great reviews.
Downtown Meetings by Cathy MacKenzie
“Did you go downtown this morning?” Simon asked, entering the kitchen.
I jerked around from the counter, dropping the dishtowel as I did so. “Why?”
“I saw you driving down Main Street with the top down.”
The top down? I breathed a sigh of relief. “Nope, not me.”
“It sure looked like you.”
“You know I never have the top down when I'm alone.”
“And why is that?”
“Because it’s presumptuous. Like I’m flaunting. You know I hate attention.”
He laughed. “Well, it looked like you.”
“When did you think you saw me?” I bent over to pick up the towel, glad to have something in my hands.
“Oh, I guess it was around eleven or so. I had to go to a meeting on Churchill.”
“Wasn’t me. There's lots of red mustangs.”
“Yeah, I know.” He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and kissed me. When he broke away, he asked, “What's for dinner?”
“Meat loaf.” Simon’s favourite.
After dinner, he disappeared downstairs to his man cave.
I plonked to the kitchen chair. Scary stuff, that was. Had he seen me in my red Mustang with the top up, trying to catch me in a lie? No, he had no inkling.
My life was simple and carefree, with very few problems as compared to those who endure such catastrophes as forest fires, tornados, and hurricanes. Why did I want to create a disastrous situation when there was no need for one? Simon was a perfect husband and provider. Sure, we had the odd spat—what married couple didn't? I should be more grateful for him and my life.
I finished the dishes and headed to the bedroom, intending to read in bed. Instead, I pondered, unable to concentrate on the book. Sweat poured over me, and I threw off the blanket. What had I been thinking? Could I have gone through with it?
If Simon had actually seen a woman resembling me in a car similar to mine, what a cruel coincidence. I very rarely drive downtown. What a fluke he’d been there the same morning I was.
I hadn’t been attracted to Rob, not with his receding hairline, paunchy belly, and seventies-style clothing. Not up to my standards, for sure, and I should have exited the mall immediately when I saw him—the guy who waited by the fountain. Despite my initial reaction, we enjoyed conversation over lunch. I was taken aback when he mentioned his wife and how it would kill her if she discovered he’d been hooking up with other women.
Gee, what should he expect? He had joined Dates & Mates, a local dating site, specifically for sexual partners. It would kill Simon, too, if he ever found out I was a member. But this was my first time. Rob was the first anonymous guy I’d connected with online, the first guy I’d met in person.
“She never wants it anymore,” Rob had said. “She has a condition.” He rattled off the medical term, which was foreign to me.
I had almost blurted, “So, because she can't—or won't—engage in sex that gives you permission to seek sex elsewhere?” But I kept my mouth shut. Who was I to talk? I was as bad as he was.
I wondered what sort of marriage Rob had, and that's what had knocked the sense into me, thinking of his innocent, unsuspecting wife at home, waiting for her husband, not knowing of his double life.
This was all foreign to me. Cheating and lies. And what about my love for Simon, my husband of ten years? Didn't he deserve better? I had thought I needed excitement in my life, but I already had the best husband. I didn’t want another. It was pure luck Simon hadn’t caught me.
Suddenly, I was cold and yanked the covers over me. Minutes later I heard Simon coming up the stairs. He would keep me warm, as he always did.
The Spot Writers—Our Members:
Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/
Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/
Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com
Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.ca/