Till Death Do Us Part

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Spring 1867 Utah Valley

She went about her business while scolding him. Her multi-tasking skills honed to a painful proficiency. She folded the starchy clothing with vigor and stacked them neatly with force. Her stride to the large cedar dresser was with purpose and communicated her displeasure with the interaction thoroughly as she committed the clean apparel to its lightly varnished confines.

“I’m not asking you to move mountains Sebastian…” His name escaping her lips upset her. “What I don’t need is another child. Especially one stuck in a grown man’s body.”

His face tensed. Something like a draft of fury settled in on his lean muscles only releasing his tightened jaw to take a short, hard drink of bourbon. He moved the glass away from his mouth and rolled it in his fingers sliding the moisture away and wiping it across his brow. He knew deep in the logic center of his brain that he had already lost this argument. His eyes tracked her unavailable frame as she tamped about her duties.

His go to strategy was to inflict grief. “Thank God, I didn’t marry you for love. Your cold heart is only tolerable alongside the voluptuous warmth of your father’s bank account.” He said. “And your mother, bless her, warned me about your self-entitled nagging and fruitless tantrums. She hardly fell short of calling you a bitch straight away.”

“Most likely due only to some insubstantial maternal responsibility.” He added after no volley was returned.

She did not immediately respond. Instead she let his words fizzle unanswered in the air of the room as she continued with her chores. This, she knew, would impact a greater force than any quarrel she could deliver him. She had words for him indeed. Instead she chose to simply exhale, sealing them in.

His anger was transforming into regret, which would ultimately become self-pity. The free hand he had clenched up in a fitful knot now untangled and found itself fidgeting around the top buttons and collar of his shirt. The fingers moved nervously to his husky, multicolored mustache. He mashed the bristly chunk against his top lip once, twice, three times. It wasn’t the guilt of his foul projectiles, but more so how the lack of response diminished his authority.

Like most who spend so much time together, Margaret had developed a fifth sense regarding Sebastian. At the peak of his vulnerability she broke the wake of silence.

“If I took you seriously I would surely have been committed to an imbecile asylum by now.” She said.

Under normal circumstances he could out-intellect most opponents in verbal combat – even in the depths of inebriation. Not here. Not with this woman. Beyond matching his own capacity, she knew all his tricks and compulsive quarks. If he jabbed, she evaded. If he threw a hook, her defense was impenetrable. Cheers to twenty-odd years of marriage and a stockyard of his shortcomings.

The only option he could figure on was retreat. So he spewed out a fabricated sort of compassion. “What you need is some leisure. Some time away from all this. Maybe, you weren’t cut from the country cloth. It’s not a negative trait. Just who you are.” He paused, “A break away from the children and the chores of a valley wife perhaps?”

Everything was quite. More so than before. Then, only the sound of air escaping liquid as he poured the last of the bourbon into his sweaty glass. Margaret cringed at the sound of his nasty lips pushing away from the cup rim with a moist smack followed by a deep swallow. She knew what he played at. Unfortunately for him she had run completely out of guilt.

“Oh, you fancy yourself the boss, don’t you Sebastian?” She sent his name back at him like an arrow. “The reality being contrary to all your vast intellect and superiorities. You are in fact an oversized child whom chases after fairy-tales. Dreams you are incapable of achieving.”

The constriction of muscles returned and made its presence visible along his jawline and the expanding veins on his forehead. He took an angry swill.

“Suffice it to say you fall short of sustaining even an endeavor funded and laid out before you in charity by an actual man.” She continued, “Gallivanting about, pointing your finger around and scolding, impressing neither woman nor man with that parcel between your legs you swing about so freely.”

She hadn’t noticed in her flare that he had taken stance just behind her. And though her words were earnest, she regretted the very vibration of them off her throat. She felt his warm breath. Inhaled the scent of bourbon and trembled.

She had lit a fuse that could not be stamped out.

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2 Responses to “Till Death Do Us Part”

  1. The Crow's Gift Says:

    I look forward to seeing this all put together into a book. Each snippet makes me want more!

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