Margot slammed the door as she walked into the house. The glass panes in the door shook and threatened to break. The noise made no impact on Margot as she walked in the kitchen and got a glass of water from the tap, downed it all at once, then marched heavily upstairs, grumbling to herself.
In her room, she opened the closet to find an outfit for that night. Last time she had worn a light blue, v-neck sweater made of thin Merino wool. Fall was her favorite time of year and wearing jeans and sweaters made her happy. She had thought she looked pretty nice that night, but Mrs. Harmon, who had never liked her anyway, kept staring at her cleavage and whispering to her friends about how tight the sweater was. At one point during the night, when Margot saw out of the corner of her eye that Mrs. Harmon was whispering to yet another person, she turned to the woman on her left, grabbed a boob in each hand to hold them up creating an abundance of cleavage, and asked, “What do you think, Susan? Can you see my tits?” Mrs. Harmon gasped then turned her back to Margot. Feeling satisfied, Margo let her breasts drop then went to get some coffee from the urn.
Margot grabbed a pair of new jeans from the shelf. She bought them yesterday and thought her ass looked great in them. Paired with a sweater, they would be perfect for reviewing “Lit” by Mary Karr with a room full of women, half of whom she didn’t know, and Matt and Lance, whose relationship had outlasted most of the people in the group. Margot guessed it was because they always held hands and weren’t afraid to kiss in public. She had always been awkward when it came to PDA and now that she thought of it, maybe she should stop turning her head whenever Paul went in for a kiss while they stood in line for a movie. Suddenly remembering their argument earlier, Margot scowled and began in earnest to find the right sweater.
Not finding anything just right, Margot checked out Paul’s sweaters. Some of his hung nicely on her in a baggy sort of way. She found the chunky red one. She knew red looked great on her, but she thought it might be too warm for a September evening.
Off to the right on the very top shelf she spied an off-white, medium weight, button-up sweater that she hadn’t seen in years. She and Paul had lived together in a tiny apartment 3 blocks from the college. They were both Juniors and she bought it for him for their first Christmas together. She was touched that Paul had saved it all this time and then wondered why she hadn’t noticed it sooner.
Margot grabbed a chair from the vanity and on tip-toes, reached for the sweater. Her fingers grasped a sleeve and the rest came free as she pulled. Unsteady in her landing, the chair wobbled and she cried out in surprise as she fell to the floor. She banged her knee on the side of the chair and just as she was registering that pain, she felt something heavy hit her on the head and fall in her lap.
As her curses subsided, she finished rubbing her head and knee. She slowly opened her eyes and registered the light as fading.
Margot looked in her lap and saw a book she’d never seen before, which she thought odd since it looked old and she’d thought she’d seen everything of Paul’s at one time or another. 12 years? 4 moves? A zillion garage sales? And yet, she knew she had never seen it before. She would have remembered it. It had her name on the cover.
Margot looked down to her lap and found a metal box about the size of a cigar box. It was dented in a few places and looked worn by years of opening and shutting the lid. They’d been married 12 years, had 4 moves and a zillion garage sales, and yet, she knew she had never seen it before.
Margot looked at the clock on the wall. She was supposed to leave in 10 minutes and she wasn’t even dressed yet. She ran her finger along the side where Paul had used a black marker to write his name in cursive. It was the kind of cursive you wrote in grade school after just learning where all the loops and connections go. She was guessing he must have been about seven or eight.
Get dressed or peak inside? Margot considered for a moment and then decided to remove the lid.