“William, just talk to me!” Roulette screamed as her husband stomped out of their living room, “Please!” she cried out of desperation. When she got no response she sighed heavily. Suddenly needing to sit down, she landed clumsily onto their couch while holding her face in her hands. Hot tears blurred her vision and made their way down her face. Soft thumps on the carpet told her they’d reached their destination. It hadn’t always been like this.
She could remember the days she and William would spend hours in her father’s garden as children. Roulette allowed herself to dive into the memory as she sought an escape from reality. She could feel the summer heat beat down on her back and their laughter ringing out like their own little song that was unique and special to them. She could smell the roses, lavender, and daisies on the warm breeze.
We were friends once.
Allowing herself to fall out of the memory, Roulette slowly made her way to the bookshelf by the fireplace. The bookshelf was a wedding gift as they both have an affinity for reading. Her hand skimmed deliberately over their collection until it settled on one particular book--their photo album. She held the book in her hands as if it were the most fragile creature, her fingertips brushing over the cover. She smiled slightly. This book had become a graveyard for their memories. She carried it gently back to the couch. Opening to the first page, she was greeted with pictures of them surrounded by books in his mother’s library. William was pointing out something in a geography book while Roulette’s face furrowed into a frown of concentration and determination. She was eleven and he was thirteen.
She studied the picture intensely. He was laughing in that photo. When was the last time she saw him laugh that way? As she continued to gaze into the picture, her memory became even clearer. Her parents had gone out of town and left her with the Alexanders. Neither of the children could go to sleep so he took her to his mother’s library to show her all the places he wanted to go before he died.
Roulette distinctly remembered them being up late. Apart from the books, they only had each other and a slowly dying oil lamp that always made the room smell like cinnamon. The times were simple back then.
The sound of footsteps approaching forced Roulette to look up. Her husband had come out of his room fully dressed with a dash of cologne that could be smelled from where she sat. She frowned slightly. He never wears cologne when he’s going out casually. The cologne he liked was expensive and imported so that made it hard to come by.
“Where are you going?” She asked. Her voice was tight with emotion.
“Out,” William replied nonchalantly.
She just stared at him. How could he possibly act like nothing had happened? They had just gotten into a huge fight about how he’d fallen back into his old drinking habits. This is something they argue about frequently. William drinks at least one bottle of beer with breakfast, another with lunch and then he goes out in the evenings with his friends so she could only imagine how much more alcohol he consumes through the night.
His habits cause her to worry. She worries that one day he’s going to overdo it and that will be the last time she saw him. Every time she brings up his drinking habits, especially his morning drinking, he always brushes her off and tells her to mind her own business since they’re only married on paper. As far as he’s concerned, they’re the same as being roommates and nothing else.
Roulette sighed, “Will you at least be back for lunch?” She asked as she watched him get his shoes off the shoe shelf.
William doesn’t say anything as he sits on the ottoman by the door. He takes his time putting on his shoes, considering her request. Standing up with both shoes on, he grabs his coat and heads for the door.
Just as he’s about to leave, he replies flatly, “No. Don’t wait for me,” and shuts the door.
She flinched at the sound of the door locking. His words were like a slap in the face and she could feel it sting. Frustration welled up inside but she didn’t have the energy to entertain it. She was tired of fighting all the time. She was tired of this life. Getting up, she placed the photobook back on the shelf. I guess it’s just me and Onyx again.
Roulette went down the hall into her bedroom where her trusted companion slept. He was curled up in the middle of her mint green comforter. “Hey boy, it’s time to get up,” Roulette said softly while resting a hand on his broad back. Onyx replied with a drowsy trill. She smiled affectionately as he uncurled himself and stretched with his paws outstretched and his rump in the air, “It’s time to eat,” she said and exited the bedroom with Onyx’s hefty frame on her heels. He never missed a step. Roulette fed the cat and headed back into her room. This time, she went over to her wardrobe. She still had errands to run.
She picked out a white, mid-calf length skirt with a soft yellow blouse and matching yellow flats. To complete the look, she wore a white head scarf. Turning to her mirror, she examined her outfit. Her simple clothing hung on her tall and slender frame in a way that made it seem elegant. Her style was simple and makeup wasn’t needed. She had natural beauty that could make anyone jealous. Her olive complexion was flawless and her warm brown eyes sparkled. Her wavy hair was dark brown and stopped at the middle of her back. The accessories she wore were minimal. From her appearance, you wouldn’t know she was from a prestigious family. However, whoever engaged with her would soon figure out her status based on how she spoke and presented herself. It was like spotting a diamond among the rocks.
Taking one last glance at her outfit, she grabbed her side satchel and a wicker basket before exiting her room. Stopping at the door, she turned around to see Onyx sitting a few feet behind her.
“I’ll be back soon,” she sighed. He cocked his head to the side and meowed at her almost as if in question. Are you going to be ok? His eyes seemed to say.“I’ll be fine,” she murmured to herself. I’ve been through this before. She knew the routine. Now he’d barely talk to her, not like he said much before, and every time she’d try to talk to him would be a grueling task. She sighed again in defeat. Hopefully making a trip to the market would help her get her mind off of things for a moment. Getting some fresh air and being in a new environment will do me some good, she thought. Bidding one last goodbye to Onyx, she exited their home and began her trip towards the farmer’s market.