Page 41 - Vol. VI #2
P. 41

  2017 Honorable Mention for the Literary
Enda gulped and swallowed. Of the two of them, Bobbi was the extrovert, chatty, and with a quick laugh, if shrill at times. They had both weathered the menopause and were left with changed bodies, Bobbi with a small round belly like a cantaloupe half and Enda with twenty ex- tra pounds of fat all over, that she pictured just beneath her skin, just like a roasting-chicken. Bobbi’s arms and legs were very thin, burning calories round the clock, Enda supposed, run- ning around here and there and talking with everyone she saw.
few large garbage bags. We pass them into the truck to Russ, who will not look me in the eye, and he manages to get his clothes off and stuff them into the bags. Then he wrapped the blanket around himself the best he could and hobbled into Ann’s house straight into the bathroom.”
“Number one,” said Bobbi, “for the past twenty
“Cripes, Bobbi,” said Enda.
years Russ has been carrying on with Ann, our accountant. Number two, he has end-stage colon cancer, which has metastasized hither and yon, and probably won’t live another month.”
“Cripes,” Enda said again. About the only thing she had ever noticed over the years about Ann was that she dressed too formally for the Russo’s an- nual backyard barbecues, with her skirts and silky tops and sandals instead of jeans with a t-shirt and gym shoes or boots like everyone else. Ann was in her forties now and still wore sleeveless silk blouses during the summer months, her jiggly arm flab on exhibit for all to see. She had never married, but had grown middle-aged, waiting, Enda now knew, waiting for Russ.
Enda’s mouth fell open. “Drink,” Bobbi said again, nodding at Enda’s glass of beer.
“Bobbi,” she said, “What happened next? I mean at Ann’s house.”
Then Bobbi proceeded to say that she had learned both these facts herself when Ann (the mistress!) telephoned her to say that Russ had suddenly and violently soiled himself in his pick- up truck while idling in her driveway. There was an unspeakable mess of body fluids all over the upholstery. He refused an ambulance, but some- thing was very wrong.
“Oh, we listened to him blubber and shuffle around in the bathroom for a while and Ann tells me that she ‘shares my concern for him.’ Can you imagine?”
“So I drive over there, and Ann,” Bobbi spat the woman’s name out, “brings out a blanket and a
“I said, ‘Well since you took a share of everything else in my marriage, why shouldn’t you share my
“My God,” said Enda clapping one hand over her mouth.
“Make no mistake,” said Bobbi, “this is what makes a marriage a tragedy.”
“You said it,” said Bobbi, “so I had to stand there in the hallway with Ann and listen to Russ sob in her shower, his last shred of dignity gone.” Bobbi took a big swig of her beer and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I felt sorry for him Enda, you know? Humiliating himself that way.”
 “What did you say?” asked Enda, scandalized and absolutely riveted.
concern too?’”
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