I spritz the countertop. I hate grime. John hates spray near his food.
“Could you not?” he says, pulling his salsa closer. “Natural and biodegradable are
different than ingestible.”
I keep my eyes on the rag, scrubbing over the spills. Our kitchen is large, beautiful. John sits at a barstool, three feet from where I’m wiping off residue. No spray has come close to him.
“Maybe,” I say. “But this won’t hurt you.”
Then I remember an argument seven years earlier.
“Never go to bed angry,” my mom had advised before my wedding.
John came in. He held a bottle of Clorox. He stood in front of me.
I squeezed my eyes shut and pursed my lips.
I held my hands in front of my face, grimacing, tucking my chin, blotting the droplets.
“Stop it. I’m listening. Just tell me what you want to say.”
“You’re nasty,” John said. “You need to be cleaned.”
“Leave me the fuck alone!” I yelled, licking my lips. I used my thumbs to wipe across my eyes and cupped my hand to spit into it. I wiped the saliva on my thigh.
“You seem angry,” he said, sitting down. “There’s no need to raise your voice.”
I tucked my knees to my chest and wrapped my arms around them, burying my head in the space between them while I blinked. I held my breath.
“It’s okay,” John said. “You’re just upset. Why don’t we try to talk now?” His hand caressed my back.
I shook my head, and John left.
I heard water running. My eyes stung. No matter how hard I wiped them, they burned. I made it worse. Wiping. Crying.
The faucet turned off. Then I felt it. Cold water poured down my face and neck. My shirt sopped. I shivered. John had dumped a pitcher of water over me. When I looked up, he was on his knees in front of me, his hands on my legs.
“Will you talk to me now please?”
I look John in the eyes again, lifting the bottle of cleaner and aiming into my mouth. He scoops salsa with a chip. I squeeze the trigger. He is right. It hurts. Not at first, like some things. Later. When you realize what you’ve done.
Sarah Mouracade has lived in Anchorage, Alaska for more than a dozen years and intends to stay there. She is completing her MFA in creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage, working as the Communications Manager for a local nonprofit, and enjoying every moment she has with her son. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Cirque Journal, Alaska Women Speak, and The Anchorage Press. You can find samples of Sarah’s work at www.sarahmouracade.com.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS
Cover Image: "Verano"