Requiem for a House-Husband
He waits, alone in their tiny kitchen. Nothing in it has changed for 40 years. Not the peeling yellow paint, nor her collection of porcelain dolls. Not even the man himself. Until now.
He hears the familar ticking of the hallway clock, the constant dripping of the faucet he always promised to fix, but never has. He hears the seconds of his life pass, just as they have for those 40 unremarkable years. Only now he feels regret; at once a profound love for all of his life’s little details – peeling paint and all – and an equally profound fear of losing it all.
Which he knows, he is about to.
He almost doesn’t hear the click of the hammer – so perfectly timed was it with that of the clock’s tick, but he hears it. And he hears her. She is behind him, presumably with the mailbox’s contents. Simply too fearful to turn, he begins sobbing into his grubby shirt. He imagines her standing over him, a now-empty severed hand in the pocket of her apron, and the shiny, black gun held calmly in her own hand, aimed at him.