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February 2009 Flashers

 

Flash Fiction written by members and friends of the MuseItUp Club. Submissions are invited for this page.*

 

The Bottom Line

 

by Marjorie Doering

 

 

“You’re being ridiculous.”

 

Unused to standing my ground, I felt my knees quake. “No, I’m not.”

 

“Why now? We’ve been married over … twenty years.”

 

"Twenty-three." It came as no surprise he’d forgotten.

 

“You make it sound more like a sentence.”

 

I bit my tongue.

 

“Is there another man, Julie?”

 

“No.”

 

His shoulders visibly relaxed. "Then what’s this nonsense all about?”

 

“I can’t do this any more.”

 

He turned and picked up a newspaper, virtually dismissing me and the subject. A familiar tactic.

 

I straightened my shoulders. “I want a divorce.”

 

He flung the paper down. “You’ve got a magnificent house, a luxury car, and more! Most women would give their right arm to be in your shoes.”

 

“Then find one. She can have my shoes and all the rest. Hopefully, for her, it won't be a tradeoff.”

 

“What are you talking about? Make sense.”

 

I willed away the tears stinging my eyes.  “I’ve tried to make sense of this for years.”

 

“Poor, poor Julie. So now you’re a martyr.”

 

“No. A fool. I kept waiting, needing to see I was more to you than just someone to raise the children and keep your household running smoothly. So much wasted time! I wanted a family; you only wanted success.”

 

“And I got it.”

 

“Depending on your definition. Our children saw more of you in the news than in our home. Your contribution as their father was strictly financial. I’ve felt more like an employee than your wife.”

 

“Then let me put this way.” He smiled, smug and superior. “If you quit this ‘job,’ you’ll find yourself without even severance pay. You haven’t forgotten our prenuptial agreement, have you?”

 

“I haven't forgotten; it just doesn’t matter anymore.”

 

He looked as though he’d been struck. “How do you expect to support yourself?”

 

“You've never acknowledged my talents or skills, but they do exist. It may not be easy, but I’ll find a way to use them.”

 

He sneered. “If you're planning to look for another man, you might as well face it: the competition is younger and prettier.”

 

It cut deep, but I refused to bleed. “I’m going to look for me … to find out who I am again.”

 

“I can tell you. You’re a middle-aged woman who’s giving up a lifetime of privilege and love for an uncertain future. You’re a fool.”

 

“Privilege, yes. Love, no. I've stopped kidding myself about that. Maybe it’ll be enough for me to love myself. And maybe someone else will come along someday, someone who knows what love is, someone who’ll treat me like a partner, not a possession.”

 

“Have it your way. You’ll be back.”

 

He was wrong. I left with my head held high and a sense of lightness and hope I hadn’t felt in years. I found myself, and three years later found my wonderful Michael. We saw Brian and his new wife on TV the other day; she’s very young and beautiful. I wish her well.

 

 

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Marjorie Doering is a wife, mother, grandmother, and animal lover. Her two children are grown; her husband is a retired data processing manager. She has completed three novels. She is currently working on the next which is the third story in a series of mystery/crime novels. To her delight and amazement, in 2005, her first attempt at one-act playwriting was produced in Chicago, Illinois. More recently, short stories and flash fiction have become additional interests. Currently, she’s won twenty-six contests on the FanStory site.  PitWit has awarded honorable mention to three of her short stories. “Winging It” - a short story - was published in The Secret Attic. She has quite an imagination, but can't imagine not writing.

 

 

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*Send Flash Fiction submissions to underamuse@yahoo.com.au .

Please include the words “Muse Marquee Flash Submission” in the subject line.

 

The Flashers page is edited by Les Stephenson 

 

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