One More Time

by Veronica Taylor
(North Carolina)

Years, angry yelling, the blame game, carve parenthesis around her mouth, an angry N between her eyes, marring a once youthful face. Male heads turn, whistles still follow in her wake, but hard times, total disregard, days of debilitating depression, have a stomach sagging against her upper thighs, and skin on her upper arms waving, long after she's told someone goodbye. And Henry, her husband, finds more reasons to leave her, than stay with her, never doubting whose fault it is.

"Go find a better woman," she says. "One who'll accept your late hours, wandering eyes, and love of the drink, when you're out with the 'good old boys'."

"I'll find her," he says. "There's a ho on every corner and women who know their place," he says, as spittle strikes her face, hot and slick like snot.

We fight less, occasionally, there are some good times. Though the gossip vine, malicious gossips, usually put an end to that. "Dr. Winfred hired another dental assistant," they say brightly. "Doesn't your husband go there?"

He throws the beer bottle near her head, eyes glisten brightly, as he exhales lethal doses of alcohol with each breath. "You bitch! You've made me do this." The wall vibrates, the door slams on weakened hinges. He's leaving again. She'd dared to call him out on yet another affair.

A week later, he's back, dumped again, but his heart and hers are deteriorating, their sickness, their draw to each other is weakening. Or, so she tells herself.

He gives her a mock salute, then he turns and walks away. This time she thinks he means it. No, she doesn't think so, he's said he's leaving -many times- and still he's there. She turns and goes back into the house. He'll be back in a bit.

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