Little Lies

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As I shovelled dirt to lay the turf, I heard the doorbell ring.

“In the backyard!” I yelled, and strode over to the gate, brushing my gloves against my thighs to shake off the soil.

Christine stood there, holding a large bouquet of white roses with an ivory card propped against the petals. She had flushed cheeks and a sweet smile, and the silver charm she often toyed with hung low in the deep neckline of her black top. “Surprise! Delivery for Mrs Fleet.”

I pulled off my gloves to read the card.

My dearest Gypsy,
I know I’m not the greatest husband, please forgive me.
I will make it up to you on this well-deserved trip.
Enjoy the roses.
Love, Mac

I gaped at the message and had to re-read it. My God, did Mac…? I stared up at Christine, who was watching me with an amused twinkle in her eye. We burst out laughing together.

“Ooh…that’s good!” I gasped. “That’s really good, my God!”

“I almost got you, right?” She laughed as we walked towards the yard.

“Yeah, yeah, if I was any other woman.” I gestured to the back porch, and that sobered us up.

Her eyes widened as she walked over and knelt to the ground, tentatively touching his hair.

“Getting sentimental now?” I drank deeply from my water bottle as I eyed him, his navy bathrobe loose around his chest and waist. I’d gifted it to him for our anniversary, though he clearly hadn’t deserved it.

She peered up at me. “He was all over me this morning - I had to put the ‘Closed’ sign up in case customers walked in. You must’ve pissed him off.”

I scoffed. “Nothing you couldn’t handle or enjoy. Here, get your gear on.” I tossed her the pants and gloves. She shrugged them on, picked up her new shovel, and we got digging.

We were quiet as we worked, each lost in our thoughts. This was dirty work, yeah. Would this be the day, as I looked back and reflected, that I would rearrange if I could? Would I regret what I had done, and regret not believing in him?

Maybe it would be. But with every drive downwards with the shovel, with every grunted effort, I felt the earth give beneath my feet, and I knew it was Mother Earth opening up to offer me this new day. The deeper I dug, the more I savoured the scent surrounding us - earthy, damp, fresh and alive. I knew that, if I fell to my knees and touched my tongue to the soil, it would be sweet, and it would be bitter, but it would be full of life. I was certain of it.

No. This would not be the day I’d rearrange.

When the hole was wide and deep enough, we dragged him off the porch with the tarp and rolled him into the pit. His smug smile, and bathrobe, were long gone. We shovelled the dirt over him and made sure the grave was flat and even. We rolled the turf on top and across the whole yard, then hammered down turf pins along the full perimeter.

Ninety minutes after we’d started digging, you could’ve had a romantic picnic under the lemon trees and would’ve been none the wiser of what lay beneath.
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