Always, She

She spent her days in a dusty library, slowly wheeling a cart laden with books up one aisle, then down another, stopping periodically to resort and arrange the books lining the shelves. Sometimes, while she worked, she talked to herself. Sometimes she talked to the books. Always she searched for something that would make her happy.

Her husband ate the meals she prepared for him at home, usually without comment, then left for his study to work. Where once he had been affectionate and kind towards her, almost doting, now she found him only dutiful. It had become apparent early in their marriage that she could bring him no children so his resolve became to earn a living and continue his studies. As she was infertile, he felt she had nothing new or interesting for him, so he devoted himself to his work.

They lived comfortably and he tried on many occasions to convince her to leave her job at the library. It stung his pride to think she felt they needed the money. But she knew they didn’t need the money. She did it because she like the work. She liked the hours alone it gave her with the books.

Still, it gave her a no small satisfaction that her job hurt his pride. She never meant it as hurtful or cruel, but all the same she needed to have some effect on the man she married. For where he was dutiful, he was often obtuse. Where he was hardworking, he was often distant and at the office.

One afternoon he came home unexpectedly and walked in on her in bed, the coverlet tented over her raised knees, her hands busy under the covers.

“I forgot my reading glasses,” he announced flatly as he stepped to the bedside. Her heart froze on her chest pushing her to the teetering brink.

“You hear that noise? That buzzing?” he said as he scanned the room for his glasses. His expression flickered a shade of curiosity and then he saw his glasses. His typical distracted smile returned. “I’m glad you’re taking a nap. Enjoy it.” He picked up his glasses from the end table and kissed her forehead. A half-smiled was the last thing she saw before he before he closed the door behind himself.

THE END

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