By K. A. Williams
Her husband never cried. Not when his dog died. Not even when his grandmother died. Not ever. Paul was reading the newspaper and eating breakfast when the mailman shoved their mail through the slot. Liz picked it up and looked through it. “There’s a postcard from your dad.”
“Read it to me, please.” He took another bite of toast with strawberry jam.
“It says, ‘We were having a good time before your mom slipped on a bar of soap in the shower and died.’ Oh, no! How awful!” Liz glanced at Paul’s face. His expression hadn’t changed. She looked back at the postcard again. “Oh, I’m so sorry. It said cried, not died. Your father’s handwriting is hard to read.”
Paul swallowed his toast and nodded. “Keep going,” he said.
“Okay. ‘I took her to the emergency room. She had a sprained ankle but is otherwise fine. We’re leaving tomorrow. Hope you and Liz are well. Love, Dad.’ I’m so sorry that I scared you earlier by making you think your mom had died.”
“Don’t worry about it. Dad’s handwriting is awful. Mom usually sends the postcards, but I guess she didn’t feel like it.” He went back to reading the newspaper, as if everything was just fine.
But it wasn’t.
Paul came home from work early to find Liz packing her suitcase. “What’s going on?”
“Yes, I can see that. Something wrong with your parents?”
“No,” Liz said. “There’s something wrong with you. When you thought your mom had died, you didn’t even blink. You’re bottling up your emotions and one day they’re going to explode. I don’t want to be around when that happens.”
“You’re leaving me?! You’re leaving me because I’m such a calm person?!”
Liz had never heard him shout before. What was he going to do? She wished she’d left sooner. “You’re not so calm now.”
“Well, what do you expect?! I come home to find my wife packing to leave!”
“You don’t have to yell at me,” she said.
“First you’re going to leave me because I’m not emotional. Now, you’re complaining when I am. What do you want from me?”
“I want you to be normal.”
“I am normal. Boys are taught at an early age not to cry if they hurt, unless they want to be called a sissy.”
“I know,” Liz said. “But I’m your wife. I’m not going to call you a sissy.”
Paul took a deep breath. “I’m sorry I yelled. Of course I was upset when I thought my mom had died. I wanted to cry.”
“What about when your grandmother died last month?”
“I did cry. A lot. Just in private. I remember when my parents went on a trip around the world and left me at my grandparents. They spoiled me that summer, it was great. Now they’re both dead. And you’re leaving me. That really hurts, I love you so much.”
Liz watched tears well up in her husband’s eyes. One slid down his cheek and she touched it. “Never be ashamed to cry in front of me.” She kissed him and began to unpack.
The stories and poems of K. A. Williams have appeared in many magazines such as Literary Yard, Mysterical-E, Theme Of Absence, Calliope, and Tigershark. The author has published several ebooks including “Limericks and Other Humorous Poems”, “12 Science Fiction Short Stories”, and mystery/crime novellas – “Tour of Intrigue” and “Question of Vendetta”. Apart from writing, K. A. enjoys rock music and word games.