Barry Armstrong woke early, shivering. It was not solely due to the increasing bite of winter. He lay in bed, staring ruefully at the Marsha-size vacancy the seeping daylight revealed.
He almost couldn’t face the day. The awkward questions his girls would ask at breakfast. But he knew if he did not rise, his mind would lose traction on the famous slippery slope to self-pity and depression.
Barry had always taken people at face value. He liked simplicity. He had never given it much consideration, but he supposed his love of simplicity had drawn him to engineering as a career. With machines, you put them together or you stripped them down and everything made sense. Machines didn’t have secret places where parts were hidden. They had blueprints where everything was laid out in plain view.
Barry had met Marsha at university. She was studying to be a doctor. He considered that an admirable pursuit. She was learning to decipher bodies just as he was learning to decipher machines.
Their lives together had followed a common pattern. They graduated, moved in together, did a few years of OE and returned to New Zealand to embark upon sensible adulthood.
They had been married thirteen years and had two healthy daughters, Hayley, eight, and Rose, six. He had considered himself blessed.
Their coterie of friends was mostly couples. When Marsha introduced Judy to the group, Barry teased his wife in private about “rescuing lame ducks”. He assumed that Judy had been unlucky in love.
When Roger joined Barry’s firm, Barry saw his chance to play Good Samaritan. Roger’s divorce was a distant enough memory that he was ready to start dating.
An intimate dinner for four seemed a perfect idea. But Barry hadn’t reckoned on Marsha falling in love with a woman.
POET'S NOTE: It was so much fun writing flash fiction stories for the National Flash Fiction Day competition, that I decided to post another flash fiction instead of a poem this week. Mix it up a little bit, keep things interesting.
Don't forget to visit my fellow Tuesday Poets in the sidebar for lots of good reading to brighten your day.