I've Just Seen A Face
Harry stood on the other side of the street looking through passing cars at a Restaurant, “Truffles.” In the front window at a table was his wife with a man Harry had probably heard in conversation or even met before but couldn’t place.
He stood in his long coat and tie as the rain beat down on him, people rushed past trying to get back to work on time from lunch. Harry felt the rain soaking through his jacket, through his vest and dress shirt into his undershirt as the tune “We’ll meet again,” By Very Lynn played silently in his head.
He stood there transfixed on the image that was presented before him, like a stuffed caveman on display at the ROM, never moving or blinking, just frozen in this state. For a long time he forgot to breath, his mind swelled with images of his wife Martha promising him that never again would she break his trust, that she would, from this moment on, be faithful to him and always tell him if she showed these feelings again. Roger, that was his name, it was clear through the concern he showed when she started at a new gym, and he wanted to know the name of every man that introduced himself to her.
It wasn’t that Martha was beautiful; she was to Harry, but not in the empirical sense, it just that she was just always ready for a challenge. Harry thought at one point that she might have been sociopath, but brushed it off when he saw her kiss a dolphin once. But he knew she barely knew Roger, as she hadn’t been to the new gym for more than a month, that’s not long enough for him to know her darker side, the side of Martha that pushed children out of the way in malls and attacked birds that landed on their back porch with pellet guns, not the TRUE Martha.
Harry knew that even if they were to remain together, Martha and Roger, and he finally cut the reigns of their wild adolescent relationship, he would only be condemning another man to a life of misery, which even though he hated the thought of Roger, wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Than a final thought dawned on him, perhaps this relationship was purely platonic, the idea of Martha cheating again simply seemed the logical choice and it never even came into his mind the notion of her actually being faithful for once. And just as he thought this the final nail was struck in the coffin as Martha leaned over the table and kissed Roger more passionately than Martha had ever kissed him in the accumulated years they have been together. Without thinking Harry stepped out into the busy street before him, a ford focus nearly missing him laid heavily on the horn, cars swerved and stopped in anger and avoidance of him. A bus nearly flipped as its tires spun attempting to grab traction on the wet asphalt but luckily it grabbed control at the last minute and corrected itself. Harry stepped onto the sidewalk on the other side of the street and instead of going into the restaurant entered the convenience store next to Truffles.
He walked to the back left aisle of the store with determination, blinded by the action on the street. He searched the shelves of the store until he found what he was looking for and took it off the shelf. The shop keeper stepped out of the shop to look at the commotion on the street and upon re-entering the store saw Harry aggressively eating out of the jar. The shop keeper became irate, but before he could approach Harry was out the door jar in hand. He walked past people who were now out of their cars yelling at him and went directly into Truffles approaching the table with purpose.
Martha looked up in surprise.
Harry ignored her and talked directly to Roger.
“Roger, I presume?”
Roger sneered at him.
“And you must be the husband, listen man; I want you to get…”
“Roger, I’m going to do you a favour.”
Martha stood up quickly and in a hushed voice said, “Harry get the hell out of here, you’re making a scene.”
Patrons of the restaurant began turning to the confrontation and stopping their meals. Harry only continued to talk directly to Roger.
“Roger I know you think you know this woman, but you really don’t. I want to do you a favour…”
Roger lifted his hand in a gesture that meant silence and spoke, Harry paused smiling and gestured for Roger to speak.
“Harry. I know more about this woman than you ever have. I know that she likes to be tickled in the back of the knee during our love making; I know that she enjoys summer over fall; I know she cheated on you, twice, and I know you deserved it. I know that you have never understood this woman or treated her as well as she deserves. I understand that you tried to trap a flower instead of planting it in a garden of understanding and nurturing. And I know that I know her better in one month of listening to her body and soul than you have in the 30 plus years you have known her.”
Martha smiled at Roger softly and turned to Harry scowling. Harry looked at Roger still smiling and spoke in a calm and sincere voice.
“Roger you may know all of that…”
Harry grabbed Martha by the waist not forcefully but with passion and kissed her like he had never kissed her before; Martha felt the warmth that she felt when they first fell in love. She felt the man she promised to keep and hold for her entire life in sickness and in health, she felt a sudden regret and anger at herself, and him for never showing before how much she meant to him. But most of all she felt his tongue, his soft yet strong tongue caressing her mouth and teeth and tongue in a way that made her wilt and excited a little. Harry let go of her suddenly and with force, so much so that she fell to the ground with a thud and turned to Roger.
“But I bet you don’t know where she keeps her epinephrine pen.”
And with that Harry tossed the half used jar of peanut butter he’d been holding at Roger, turned on his heels and left the restaurant smiling. Behind him Roger leapt out of his seat in order to help Martha who was lying on the ground, her face swelling up and coughing. The patron of the restaurant were up and out of their seats screaming and trying to help, Roger trying to interpret Martha’s gurgling and irate pointing as communication.
With the restaurant moving in slow motion Harry
walked out of there feeling like the man he always wanted to be, and he
smiled, not just on the outside but for the first time in a long time on
the inside too.
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