he found her on the porch, scribbling furiously into a notebook. over her shoulder he watched as she would draw a date and then, as if suddenly discontent, scrawl thick black lines through it.
bewildered, he asked, "what are you doing?"
clapping the book closed, her face shot pale, though he wondered if it was fright or guilt that stole her color. with a few quick breathes, she regained her composure.
this, of course, was the moment he had to make a decision. if he pressed further, she would tell him, she always did, not one to keep her mind or he could leave well enough alone and leave her to whatever she had found to stick her nose into this time.
briefly, the old twinkle played in her eyes, when he smiled and said, "no, really. i want to know."
"well, if you must know, i was trying to determine the last time that we made love."
a twitch started in his left cheek, contorting his face, though all that he could push from his throat was "what?"
"making love.", she nearly whispered, as she could see it was not confusion but something much deeper that twisted in his stomach, threatening to erupt.
"just last week...", he started.
"no, richard. I am not talking about you weekly grunt and sigh before you serenade me with snores over your shoulder..."
crimson became purple, in his cheeks, as he stammered, huffing and whistling, before turning back into the house, retracing his original path.
"where are you going?", she called to his retreating back.
"if you must know," mocking her now, " i am going back to watch the game again, because i can sure as hell can understand that."
letting out a soft breath, her eyes wander around the porch, flitting across the array of flowers that had recently come into bloom. their beauty was a rich reward for the time and diligence she showed in their care.
finally her gaze, settled on the statue that sits in the corner. she had bought it at an estate sale, thrilled at the look of awe and wonder on the face of the girl. things are not always as they seem, and today the bust looked more like a silent scream, captured for all eternity, tight in the cold stone.
finding her place in her journal, she began once more to work her way back through the days, pausing briefly at their wedding date, before scratching through that as well, but that one, just that one, she thought, was done out of spite.
This is a Magpie Tale.