“It’s not my fault, you know,” Melinda yelled through the passenger side's open window. They had been together for 10 years and she knew what John was thinking by the way he sighed as he looked toward the sign pointing the way to
She pulled her head back inside the car and wrapped her scarf a little tighter.
The studio head didn’t agree, though, and John had to endure finding cloves of garlic on his desk for many months after he suggested the idea. Of course those silly pranks were better than his eventual reward of a brand new although garlic-free desk at a different studio with a boss 15 years his junior.
With the young buck to compare himself to, John increasingly felt as if his own 45 years were speeding toward the half-century mark like a getaway car.
Getting away from what was the question he struggled to answer.
The mere sight of the
Besides, there was definitely something pungent in the air.
He turned his head away from
He picked up some gravel in front of the car and started throwing the tiny stones one by one as hard as he could away from the highway. On his third sweep of the ground, he felt something jab into his pinky finger, just above his father’s diamond pinky ring.
“Son of a bitch!” he yelled as he pulled a small chunk of what used to be part of a green beer bottle from his finger. He fired the offender in the direction of the previously displaced rocks and shouted a few more expletives. He held his hand straight out in front of him, careful not to drip blood on himself or his new jacket.
“Character is who you are when no one is watching dear John,” sang his wife from inside the car as she adjusted her wedding band. It had been feeling snug lately and Melinda knew it was because of her poor eating habits. With John working more and more hours to impress his new boss, she was often left on her own for meals. Cooking for herself just wasn’t worth the effort so fast food it was, and her clothes, and now her ring, were not so subtly telling her that something had to give.
“I just love having a life coach for a wife,” he said with a smirk, glaring into Melinda’s brown eyes as he walked toward the passenger side window. “All the fortune without the cookie. Or is it all the cookie without the fortune?”
He laughed to himself and squeezed his finger near the ring. A few drops of blood fell to the ground. For as big as the piece of glass had been, it didn’t end up doing too much damage.
Melinda tilted her head and smiled sweetly at John. She pulled her purse up onto her lap and ruffled through it for a few seconds, finally finding what she had been looking for. Lip gloss.
Although her theater career had ended in
“Hey Marilyn,” (she hated when he called her that), “you don’t happen to have any tissues in that abyss of makeup do you? A band-aid perhaps?” Tape for your mouth, he thought but was far too polite (or hungry or tired) to say it aloud.
She flung a pack of tissues out of the window in the direction of John’s face. His natural reflexes made his hands shoot up to protect himself. He caught the tissues just before they reached his nose, and a drop of blood streaked across the front of his jacket. He stared at Melinda for a few seconds before opening the tissues, and a few more droplets of blood fell to the ground. Then he removed one of the tissues and applied pressure to his wounded finger, balancing the rest of the pack in the palm of his good hand.
“I want a divorce,” Melinda said as she ripped the pack of tissues from John’s fragile grip and threw them in her purse. She untied and retied her scarf.
John wrapped the tissue tighter around his finger as he walked around to the front of the car. He leaned up against the bumper again, and a few minutes later when the tissue fell away from the cut, he didn’t notice.
He had been trying his hardest to look away from the highway before him and away from
And despite his Italian heritage, John vowed never to eat garlic again.
A married couple driving from
Melinda Wayne, 37 and holding. Former actress turned life coach. Originally from a small town called
John Russo, 45,
Can they keep their marriage together during the 30 minutes it will take AAA to rescue them with some gas?
Come visit me at Bleeding Espresso!