Reading time: 3-5 minutes
When she opened the door that morning, there they were as they had always been: two men standing on the porch. Black coats. Black pants. White shirts. Neckties. Smiles.
“Good morning,” said the first one. The second one never said anything.
She slammed the door and retreated into the kitchen, again unable to go on with her day. But there was nothing stopping her from going. The sun was out and the breeze was cool. The keys were there and the car was parked outside. The children were sound asleep.
And yet, those men.
But even they would not stop her if she tried. They never interfered. They only greeted.
She stopped at the sink, grabbed a plate, and scrubbed tetchily. She snatched another and scraped the grease from the ceramic bone. She slammed the dish and stomped away.
She spotted his sleeve through the keyhole, and heard their mutters. She threw herself back from the doorway.
The children came out of their rooms. The boy wore mismatched socks and an inside-out shirt. “Mommy, can I go outside?”
“Not now, darling.”
“Because, baby. Go to your room.”
“I wanna go outside.”
“Go to your room baby go to your room.”
His sister walked away.
She couldn’t find the salt.
Not in the kitchen, the closets, the cabinets, the drawers. Not behind the doors. Not under the sinks, or under the couch, or in the basement, or in the fridge.
She returned to the kitchen and surveyed all the ingredients. Everything was there, exactly as the recipe prescribed. Everything except the salt.
With a swing of the arm, she cleared the table flat.
She opened the door.
“Good morning,” he said. “Are you heading out today?”
She shifted forward. Her feet were stayed to the floor.
She lifted her foot. Stepped back.
“Have a wonderful time.”
She closed the door and stood there.
The first one didn’t miss a beat. The second was tapping his watch.
This time, she spoke to them. “Would you both mind leaving, please?”
They stared at her. “Say that again?”
“Would you mind leaving? Getting off of my porch?”
“Off of your porch?”
“Yes. Off of my porch.”
They traded glances. “You want us to go away?”
“Yes, go away.”
“To go away.”
“Yes yes I want you to go away.”
He paused and thought, and said, “Where will we go?”
She slammed the door and screamed and screamed and screamed.
She stood up straight and wore a defiant face. She gripped her purse and drew a breath and then she opened the door.
She stared into his eyes. The second lit a cigarette.
“Yes, I am.”
“Have a wonderful time.”
She didn’t respond. She didn’t move. Her back drew straighter, her glare more daring. “I want you both to leave this place right now.”
“You’ve been here long enough. Now, go.”
“Children?” she called. “Come on, we’re heading out.”
“You’re taking the children,” he said.
She snapped back with fire. “Don’t ask about my children.”
He spoke plainly. “Are you sure about this?”
The children appeared at the doorway, taking her hands. She fixed her eyes upon them. Her fire faded away. Her stance slackened. Her lips drooped. Her purse fell down to her side.
“Have a wonderful time,” he said.
She shuffled into the house and closed the door.
Back to Prose.