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Pillow Talk

Tia shut her car off and stared at the back of Ibn’s car parked in the garage. This was the third night this week he “forgot” that he was supposed to park on the right side of the driveway so she could use the garage. It was too long of a day for her to dwell on it. They were all long days now. Her shift ended at 7, but it seems she never left the hospital before 9:30 these days. Her watch read 10:01 as the garage door closed and she began her new nightly routine.

Tia grabbed a pair of gloves then removed her mask from around her neck, shed her scrubs and sweater into a plastic tub, placed her sneakers into a box, then her wedding ring, cell phone and watch into a Ziploc bag. She spent the next few minutes disinfecting her car, spraying her shoes, cleaning her personal items, then wiping the surfaces she touched before taking her clothes to the washing machine.

The microwave told her it was 10:27 when she opened its door to see if Ibn placed her plate inside of it. He usually left it on the counter left of the stove, but there was only a dirty glass and a bowl with a spoon that obviously held ice cream. She practiced her deep breathing while washing the dishes and thought of something she could eat quickly before turning in for the night.

Somehow, tortillas and salsa were just what she needed. She caught up on two of her shows, texted a friend back at the hospital to check on a patient and stared at a lone sock Ibn left near his recliner. The living room went black after she grabbed the sock and turned the television off. The only light was the 11:43 on the cable box.

She stared at herself in the mirror after cleaning the hair left around the sink. He must have trimmed his beard. Again. Over her left shoulder, a raised toilet seat. This wasn’t the life she wanted, not the life he promised, not the life she envisioned when she said, “I do”. She was working too hard. He gave minimum effort. How hard could it be to remember to put the toilet seat down? To make your wife a plate? To park in the driveway?

These questions joined the list she seemingly went over nightly in the shower but dismissed as she dried herself off. She was on the frontline at work, she should not be at war in her own home. All she wanted was a partner, she needed to feel like she wasn’t alone. Especially during this time when she was surrounded by so much pain, so many deaths, tremendous uncertainty. She should feel security in her husband’s presence. Instead, she listened to him snore and watched the clock.

It was 2:34 when she rolled over on her left shoulder and nudged him awake.

“I want a divorce.”


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