Waiting Waiting Waiting


Open the door and Fran walks in, says what she says and I roll my eyes, let it go, bite my tongue.  The tell of a good husband, the bite marks on the tongue.  She takes off her jacket, lets it go on the floor.  Our dog, Tally, walks up, puts her head underneath it.  Fran unbuttons her shirt, continues her bit while I cut celery and onions.  About Jackie, she goes on.  Jackie, she says, is wrong.  How she acts to Fran.  After her shirt comes her brassiere, her skirt, her panties.  She leans over my cutting board, takes a cut of onion and bites it in two.  Maybe, I say, Fran should just ignore her, Fran should respect her own fine quality and put Jackie aside.  She won't hear me.  Fran wants to fuck, but I'm cooking.  She doesn't understand, has never understood that my cooking comes first of all things.  The measure of a stew isn't in the ingredient but in the time, the cut of your vegetables, the attention paid.
      "Nobody's home," she says.  "I want to.  It's been a long time."
      We're still working on our house.  From the interstate you can see it, the bones of it.  We stay here in this mousey apartment, waiting waiting waiting.  I call the contractor every few days, but all I get is his daughter who tells me he's sleeping at 3 in the afternoon, working at 10 or out with his wife for breakfast.  But patience, I'll remind you, is the first ingredient to any dish worth pursuing.
      Fran kisses at the back of my neck and I sigh as audibly as I can.  She starts going through all the rooms of the new house we can fuck in, fuck around, fuck on.  She describes a room for fucking.  I just shave my carrots, razor-blade the garlic.
      I think about the house.  I imagine it as grand as our bank account will allow.  The living room.  A den.  A library.  Stairs, because I've never had them.  Wallpaper that I like.  Nice paints.  Double faucets, linoleum.  Tall carpet that I can nap in.  High windows that open out.  A garden for vegetables.
      Fran says she'll take a bath, take care of herself.  
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