Piles on the Lawn, Readying for the Sprinklers by Maddy Lemons

She throws the bouquet at the back of his head as he runs away. Why he thought a shitty little collection of cheap flowers would make up for what he did, she doesn’t know. Why with his secretary? A 22-year-old little slut with short skirts, tight shirts and red lipstick. He’s 55, for God’s sake. She had gotten older, as all women… no… as all people do, she thought. But he was no master prize. A fat little man with very little hair.

She knows for a fact that all the little gold-digger wanted was money, and she can’t blame her. Why not take advantage of knuckle-draggers like her husband? Bend over to pick up his pens for him, touch his arm while laughing at his awkward jokes… Hell, flash your tits at him in the bathroom and he’ll have you right there in the dirty handicapped stall. She remembers a time when her husband was more attractive, and she pulled the same trick to get his attention in the tiny bathroom of their high school during several lunch breaks senior year. The memory was no longer charming, only pathetic.

They married 30 years ago, when the world was still beautiful. The times they had were spectacular. Long road trips across the country with no destination in mind, surprise romantic dinners at a different restaurant every night… hell, once he’d even gifted her with a bookshelf he had built himself, the greatest gift she had ever received. When the world became desolate and barren for her, he’d held her hand. When the doctor told her she could never have children, “Who needs ‘em!” he’d said, straightforward as always. She had loved him then, for his honest ways. But he had lost his honesty long ago, and replaced it with something no woman wants to live with. His secretary wasn’t the first in his long line of insults, but the little tart would be the last. She’s done with forgiveness, done with patience, and done with existing as the tired stereotype of “long-suffering but still faithful” wife. The old days were great, but no amount of greatness was worth all of this.

She makes her way back to the home they share. Well, not anymore, of course. She gathers his shirts with red lipstick smeared on the nipples and tosses them onto the little green front lawn. Such an odd man sexually, she muses, giggling to herself. Next, all his wadded socks, many pairs of pants with unidentifiable stains, and plastic bags full of other plastic bags “for later” are thrown into the pile. Hopefully the sprinklers will turn on before he gets his things, she thinks, smiling to herself for the first time that day.

Humming happily, she gathers dress shoes, tennis shoes, ties, and his pillow. She clears out his cheap beer and TV dinners from the fridge, and takes the frayed and stained blanket off his favorite TV chair. The pile outside grows ever larger. She can see little eyes, peeking through closed blinds. She laughs. Let them see, she thinks. It’s nothing they haven’t seen before.

She would throw out his books, but he doesn’t have any, the idiot. All the books in the house belong to her. She had always loved them, and now she wonders why she married a man who had never appreciated anything she had liked, only what he did. She felt a slight twinge of guilt, looking at the bookshelf he had built for her all those years ago… but no, she had to remain resolute.

Besides, recently he’d begun saying that there was “no need for books.” Why would you need those old things, with the TV right there? Other hobbies of hers fell by the wayside as well: he never wanted to go birdwatching with her, never wanted to help her bake little treats for them to share. He never wanted to go swimming at the local pool, he never wanted to go biking. All he wanted was that stupid TV, her hobbies be damned.

He would stare at the TV during all of his free time. Slack-jawed, fat belly sticking out, with TV dinners and cheap beer always at hand. What he even watched, she couldn’t recall. The shows were so horribly inane that they convalesced into a disgusting cacophony of idiotic drivel that could never be separated into individual narratives. I married an idiot, she thinks. Why did I marry an idiot?

That’s not fair, she thinks. Laughing to herself, she realizes that her husband was much more than an idiot. He was, in entirety, an ugly cheating stupid fat boring pessimistic ignorant pedantic rude unhygienic dogmatic misogynistic big tits loving drooling lying unappreciative son of a bitch.

And even more than that, he was never much at all.