“When we win the Lottery,” Donna always said, “we’ll get rid of this second-hand furniture and buy brand new. We’ll be able to build our dream home and take trips and …”
Ken would sigh and say, “Honey, this furniture isn’t so bad, is it? And, yeah, this house isn’t perfect, but the mortgage is paid and it’s kept a roof over our heads all these years.”
Donna would roll her eyes. “That’s the trouble with you, Ken. You’re so complacent. I’ll bet you’d sing a different tune if we won oodles of money!”
“Maybe you’re right, honey. I just wish you would be happy with what you have.”
The house Donna envisioned for years is now hers; it's not custom built, but it has everything she every wanted, and it’s filled with beautiful things. The trip she took to Italy last month was nice, but not as fun as she’d imagined.
Sitting at the dining table, her thoughts drift back to the old house – the one she and Ken bought when they were newlyweds – the one where their three children were born and raised. She remembers the Christmas there when Ken, never a large man, wore a Santa suit. She smiles and hears herself tell him he looks like a red and white string bean.
Another memory breaks to the fore. In her mind, she now sees the defeated look on Ken’s face every time she complained about their lack of finances. Why, she wonders, is she just realizing how it made him feel?
Her voice shakes as she says, “All I ever wanted was to have nice things, I know. I’m so sorry.”
No one responds.
Donna thinks she has no tears left after the shock of her widowhood last year, but she’s wrong. A wave of sobs hits her, making it difficult to breathe. She clenches her fists, wishing she could punch something. “Damn you for leaving me, Ken!” Didn’t you know you were all I ever really wanted?”
April Winters hopes to help people forget their troubles through her stories, even if it’s only for a little while. Her other works can be read at The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Linguistic Erosion, The Short Humour Site, and here at Short-Story.Me.
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