MODERN DECEIT (short story)

תמונה קשורה

Lucy wakes up every morning at 6:00 am. After brushing her teeth and drinking her coffee on the balcony, she wears her blue sports shoes, ties her dark hair up, and takes her three dogs, Dexter, Shep, and Tony, out on a run. They get out of the 23rd apartment, take the stairs down from the 5th floor, and get out of 25 Main Street. When they come back at 6:45, Lucy takes off her shoes and immediately takes a shower. At 7:30 am, after blow drying her hair and tying it in a tight bun, she wears a dark suit and drives off to work in her black Volvo.

When Lucy gets back home at 6:00 pm, she slumps on her beige leather sofa and turns on the TV. At 9:00 pm she leaves the house, wearing dark, tiny clothes that put her dainty body on display.

Every day when she gets back home, her back arches against someone else’s chest. Her mouth preying on someone else’s throat. Her hands tear someone else’s clothes. And every day someone else’s hands ruffle her black, wavy hair. Someone else’s weight presses her against the wall. Someone else’s tongue caresses her curves. Then the curtains are closed, but I can almost hear her moans of defeat. Loud and husky and delicate. I can almost see her silky breasts, squeezed lightly against a body. I can almost feel her hunger.

Every day a man or a woman, or both, leave the 23rd apartment on the 5th floor at the 25th house in Main Street around 12:00 am, never to come back, never to be able to see Lucy falling apart on the couch and falling asleep in front of the TV.

My name is Laura Smith. I’m 30 years old. I have a husband and an 8 year old daughter. I’m a housewife. I live in the 23rd apartment on the 5th floor in 26 Main Street. And my hobby is to spy on our sexy neighbor from across the street.

I live a perfect life with a perfect family in a perfect home. The perfect Smiths. That’s us.

Mark and I met in high school. He was the perfect jock. Smart, funny, promising. Everybody liked him. Every girl wanted him, and every guy wanted to be like him. I was the invisible one. I was nothing. A ghost without a name. Until Mark spotted my eyes once at lunch. He held me gaze for a second that seemed like forever. And then I blushed and looked away. And suddenly, I became someone. The beautiful mysterious girl. The sweet, innocent, shy one. Sounds like a fairytale, ha?

We became the perfect couple. With him by my side, school wasn’t so terrifying anymore. I was no longer afraid to express myself. I became a cheerleader. I’d begun wearing makeup. I liked to see people trying to cover their envy with smiles as we passed through the corridor, his arm strongly hugging my shoulder. I liked the sour faces on the other girls’ faces as he sent me a smile across the field. I liked to be acknowledged.

And then life happened. We studied law together. And then I got pregnant with Madeline. He’s made a successful partner in some important company, and I’ve stayed alone while he was traveling away for weeks at a time.

I first saw Lucy a few days after we moved in. she was sitting on a rocking chair on her balcony, and I could see her green eyes were lost in thoughts. Her dark hair wandering with the wind. And her freckles. They made her look different… authentic. She seemed about 25 to me. At first I was just admiring her beauty. Then it became more. A spark of light in my dark routine. I watched her, I hurt with her, I lived through her.

I developed feelings for someone other than Mark. And a woman! How ridiculous is that? At first I was ashamed. But as his business trips grew longer, and his nights shorter, the shame had faded. In dark times, I even considered going there. Coming in with her. Kissing her. Hugging her. Do other things. Of course, it was absurd. But the thought has entered my mind. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

I’ve started going on runs in the morning, watching Lucy calling her dogs, hoping I’d stumble upon her. I’ve started cooking in front of the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. Late at night, when I’m alone, I fantasize about her. I’ve become obsessed.

But one day, as Mark’s been gone and I’m getting lonely, I watch out the window at 11:00 pm, and she is not there. I stay there for about an hour, but she doesn’t come back. A day passes. She is not there. 2 days. She’s been gone for 3 days already. Maybe she’s taken a vacation? Good for her. She hasn’t taken one in the past year and a half.

Madeline can see that something is wrong. She keeps on asking me if I’m okay. Why wouldn’t I be? I ask innocently. She shrugs. Well, she is right to ask, because I forget to make her food, I’m off while driving her to school, and I’m late to pick her up. My mind revolves around Lucy. Where is she? Why hasn’t she come back? Maybe she’s been kidnapped. But more than all I can’t help but thinking… who is she with?

But then it happens, when I’m picking up Madeline from school. I’ve managed to get here only 5 minutes late. An ambulance is hurrying up to the hospital. Madeline is crossing the street towards me. A black Volvo is squeaking, trying to slow down. Crush!

I run to her, tears in my eyes. The black Volvo stops.

“Call 911!” I yell, for someone’s ears. Frantic parents pull out their phones, but I’m focusing on her. The driver runs to us. I’m preparing my voice to scream. But then I see him… all tangled up and teary and agitated. He kneels in front of Madeline. I can hear him whispering. “No… no.” he is holding her between his strong arms. I’m just staring at him, trying to make sense of this scene.

Mark… a black Volvo… sirens in the background… He’s supposed to be in Atlanta for another week. He was chasing the ambulance… what happened?

Lucy’s black Volvo. Lucy’s been gone for 3 days…

I’m shutting out. The ambulance arrives. Mark is holding Madeline, crying, refusing to let go. Has he held her like that?

We don’t talk. He sends miserable looks at Madeline and I send furious looks at him, but he doesn’t seem to notice, or care.

Lucy… how?

“How could you?” I burst. I want him to suffer.

We get to the hospital. They rush Madeline to the trauma room and leave us outside. Together and alone.

“I didn’t mean to…” he whispers, broken.

My curiosity is killing me, but I’m disgusted by him. I walk away, don’t know what I’m looking for. Validation, maybe.

He is holding my hand. I freeze. “Let go –”

“We worked together.” He says. Then he releases my hand. I don’t even look back.

I get there just in time to see the surgeons covering the body.

“Time of death – 2:14 pm.”

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