Sigh

She let out a deep sigh as she turned the key in the door. The same sigh as always…of exhaustion, of monotony, of melancholy, and of relief. The comforting relief she found in placing her keys on the same little table as every other day. She thought to herself, with that humble optimism that never left her, “it´s good to be home”.

The flat was empty. She went about turning on the lights and drawing the curtains. She thought James, her husband, would be home as he had a half day. As she approached the kitchen, she thought “wouldn’t it be nice if James had done the shopping”. She laughed to herself knowingly.

Just before the entrance to the kitchen, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She began to examine her face, not fully recognising it. She was still beautiful, she thought. But there had appeared a tired, sad half-mask between her and her reflexion. She zoned out. Floating for a moment in that shady world between her and the mirror. She snapped herself out of it and went to see what was missing for dinner.

Off to the local supermarket. Staring aimlessly at the goods. “Thank god for lists”, she thought. She filled her basket with the necessary items as well as a bottle of wine as a treat for her and James. Waiting in the queue, each individual making up the line stared blankly. No one looked anyone in the eye. She stepped out into a calm overcast day. Being outside was almost the same as being inside.

Mark, her son, had returned home. He was installed in his room with eyeballs the shape of the screen that would not release him. Consuming greedily all that passed before him. To her dinner suggestion, he responded with a peculiar grunt muffled further by the closed door and the frenetic sounds shooting from the speakers. She sighed affectionately. But it killed her just a little bit.

Their son ate in his room, as usual. Husband and wife sat at the table with a huge dinner and a glass of wine each. They spoke of how their day had gone. They reflected on the news. A series of well-accepted phrases interrupted by quiet sighs of resignation. All of a sudden she put her hand on James’ knee. He looked up into her face and placed his hand on top of hers. “You get more beautiful every day”, he said. Then he stood up, kissed her on the forehead and said, “I’m off out for a while”.

She sat there in silence with her wine. Not happy. Not sad. She sighed, “It’s good to be home”.

First published on Misfits’ Miscellany:

http://misfitsmiscellany.wordpress.com/prose-2/jean-byrne/sigh/

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