Time and Distance by Lee Wright
December 31, 2012 Comments Off on Time and Distance by Lee Wright
The storm started when she was halfway through her first glass of Chardonnay. Now, rain pelts the apartment windows and lightning fills the small room, overpowering the meek flame in the gas fireplace. Molly closes her eyes and counts—one one-thousand, two one-thousand — just the way her father taught her when she was eight. The thunder rolls around the room at the count of fifteen, drowning out the Stravinski — or is it Tchaikovsky? — on the stereo. Molly can’t remember who composed this particular piece, but she knows that the lightning is about three miles away.
“Do you like the wine?” Richard asks.
She opens her eyes and smiles. “Yes. It’s good.”
“Louis Jadot, ’94,” he says. “Forty-five dollars a bottle.”
Molly holds the smile and takes another sip although she prefers Chianti.
Richard notices that her glass is nearly empty. He picks up the bottle. “Would you like some more?”
She shakes her head. “I’d better not. It’s raining and I have to drive home.”
Richard looks into his wineglass and says, “You don’t have to go home, you know.”
So this is it, she thinks. But she doesn’t want to decide, not now.
She sets her drink on the coffee table and says, “So, do you want to watch that movie now?”
Richard hesitates. “Yeah, sure.”
He gets up, goes to the entertainment center. He’s rented a foreign film about an AWOL soldier and a nurse who find love amid world war. She’s seen it and hated it, even though it won a ton of awards. Richard, of course, probably assumes she’s never seen it because it’s foreign and won a ton of awards.
He puts the disc in the machine and, while he’s navigating the menus, Molly folds her hands in her lap. Out of habit, the fingers of her right hand try to twist the wedding band on the left but it’s not there. It hasn’t been there for nearly two years now.
Holding his wineglass in his left hand, Richard sits next to Molly on the sofa, closer than he was before. He drapes his right arm across the back of the couch, behind her neck. Lightning fills the room again.
The movie runs more than three hours. By the time the credits roll, the storm is right on top of them, and the forty-five dollar bottle of wine is empty. So she stays, lying under him, feeling small as the lightning flash and thunder crash merge into one terrifying entity.
© 2012 Lee Wright
Lee Wright is a fat, surly, bald man who lives near Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his beautiful wife (who is only a little surly) and son (who is not at all surly and has made his parents considerably less surly). He is the author of several short stories and a couple of plays. His short stories have appeared in, or are forthcoming in, Absent Willow Review, Metal Scratches, Micro Horror, All Genres Magazine, Black Fox Literary Magazine, and others.