(From a recent writing exercise:)
© Copyright 2012 Carmen Ambrosio
Heather glared at her drenched Garfield slippers. If Paula and Mattie had not been squaring off like two scrawny harlots over the day-old trout scraps she had flung off the back porch for them and the rest of their feral feline brethren, she would not have stepped into the spot near the cellar where any downpour turned the sparse grass into a swamp. Rain was a cuss word to Heather and her cats. Everyone in the household except His Rotundness, the self-righteous Reverend Raymond Hewitt, despised any amount of God's heavenly water showered on them. While she was shut-in, with no license or vehicle, God knows (she did not) who her husband was tending to. Was it another thirty-something, newly arrived, recently converted, needy, and willing Sharon or Gladys or Charlene? The only thing Heather was certain of was sometime during the storm, the Reverend would have prayed intently and intentionally in the rain for forgiveness. Hers or his?
Frowning, she tossed her soaked slippers and damp denim skirt into a chipped wash basin in the only bathroom of their leaking, clapboard house. She wiped her toes with a holey, tabby-striped kitchen towel and put on leopard flip-flops she had purchased at the dollar store up on Route 685 after Sunday services. Furry footwear complimented the full, crinkled cotton, tiger skirt she selected from the closet corner. Her hands shoved aside vast hangers of dowdy church clothes that left barely any skin bare to search for the peasant blouse her sister Joelle had given her three Christmases ago. One thick, tidy braid hugged her backbone. She faintly anointed her earlobes and neck from the scented page of a magazine someone forgot in a grocery store cart.
Her Savior was coming soon. The lanky appliance repairman from town would be there in five minutes with freezer parts and news of the real world beyond the edge of her road. He would park his truck far from the ditch that bounded the soybean fields with invisible razor wire that kept the dull in and most life out.
The discordant mews of Clara, Maude, Claude, Vincent, Taz, Ella, and Alfie at the screen door announcing their triumphant return from their daily mole and chipmunk hunt startled her.
Heather gathered a long breath and eyed the stove's clock. Three minutes remained before she would hear him and smell him and see him and, by chance, touch him. In supplication, she fell to her knees on the stained, pale linoleum amid fur balls and dust. Ardently, she pled, "Bless me with the present of his prolonged presence and the continued absence of my spouse."
Was the seventh commandment the one about adultery? Did God's rule apply to a sinewy, young wife with an obese, pseudo pious pastor for a husband? Unsure, she continued, "Set a guard against my mouth, oh Lord. Keep watch over the door to my lips."
Heather stood up and went to the cupboards above the freezer. Opening the cabinet door, she retrieved the Tahitian Treat can the appliance repairman had sipped during his first visit to the farm the previous week. His can, his lips. Ignoring how flat and warm the liquid was, she quickly raised the soda to her mouth, sighed, then slowly grinned. Is this how a kiss feels?
Causes Carmen Ambrosio Supports
Mid-Ohio Food Bank
Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (CCSVI MS research)