At forty, he’s in his prime. Assertive, powerful, with his shit firmly together, he fills up the tailored three-piece suits in all the right places. Shoulders, abs, ass.
Hair wet from the post-gym shower, with old jeans and a jumper, his casual self is even more enticing that when he dresses for work, and suddenly, I realise something about us: We are like good whisky and cheap wine. Him, ripe and mellow, me just getting older.
He passes me on his way to the table and it’s kind of demeaning, the ignoring thing he does, especially since the kids notice it.
I wonder when our relationship changed. When he stopped caring.
“I can’t live without you.” He said once, in our honeymoon period, now ten years gone, it’s a different story, he covets me no more.
Today is Christmas, family and friends are due to arrive soon, and he won’t be able to pretend I don’t exist, not with this many guests for lunch. Today we’ll be a team again
Marmite on toast, sugar-free tea, and the Times on the iPad. He likes his peace in the morning, and I dig that, so, even in anger, I wait for him to finish.
He saunters towards me, confident alpha-male swag, home-whitening-kit gnashers, and gaze trained on me. I perk up but he stops a foot away.
“I’m empty, please fill me up like you used to do before the kids were born, before work took all your time.” Anybody will consider that a token of love, of companionship, of respect.
He’s considering it but then he just places mug and plate in the sink and walks away.
His wife comes in.
She places his crockery on my top rack and presses the Eco cycle with a sigh.
‘Typical,’ she says.
Born and raised in Italy, Laura studied Classics in Milan and Professional Communication at London Metropolitan University. She is a Business Strategy and Transformation Consultant for mark-tech start-ups. Her writing history includes a novel, published by HQDigital, from which she donates all royalties to the Stroke Foundation UK. She has an upcoming flash fiction piece with Ellipsis Zine (December) and was longlisted in the Smokelong 15th Anniversary competition.