It’s a Sunday ritual, this absurdity─ two sets of flailing old bones trying not to injure each other─ but it’s the conduit to the weekly movie, which is what she’s really after. If the movie is bad, it still leads to a visit to the bistro. Tea and cake, cake and tea.
Husband and wife take their seats in the theater, and she recognizes the man next to her. Her cells know─ a tingle traveling along her spine into the roots of her hair─ before her brain catches on. She once slept with the man on a bed piled high with overcoats, the voice of her husband cracking his party joke in the next room. Now her husband is reaching across her lap to shake the man’s hand.
“We were neighbors thirty years ago,” he explains when the man looks confused.
“Sorry. I have trouble remembering things nowadays. My doctor has me on medication, but it’s not helping.”
The woman heaves a sigh of relief. Her one loose end, her big secret, is smothered and safe in the pocket of some overcoat somewhere.
Turning to face the silver screen, the man gives her a sidelong wink.
Story by Cheryl Snell
Image Courtesy Adam Strong
Cheryl Snell’s books include several poetry collections and a series of novels called Bombay Trilogy.
Recent pieces have appeared in Cafe Irreal, Roi Faingeant, New World Writing, and elsewhere.