The Last Drop
Dorcas stood by the couch and said, “I’ve slept on my laurels all my life. I’m the grasshopper who sang all summer.”
Wayne grunted, eyes fixed on the TV.
Dorcas sighed; it was like talking to a wall, like baring your soul to a marble statue. He only cared about dinnertime. Dorcas hung her head. She entered the kitchen and took in the warm sunny buttercup wallpaper and pea-green countertops; her favorite room.
She ran a hand along the cedar table and whispered, “My place in this house.”
She’d spent hours cooking up a storm in this cozy room, for Wayne and for the kids. Her boys were raising their own families, her daughter, the youngest was halfway through college and almost on her own.
Dorcas recalled the last chat they’d had, right here on this table, the sun gleaming on the porcelain tea mugs and bouncing off her earrings in sparkles.
“Mom, you can do whatever you want now, go anywhere, be anyone. You can live again.”
Dorcas had nodded and stifled a sob.
“Yes, dear,” she’d promised, knowing that while Wayne watched sports and waited for dinner, her life would never change.
A happy whoop from Wayne brought her back to the present. She used to run out and celebrate the score whenever he whooped, cheery yet watchful the water didn’t boil over or the casserole didn’t burn. But it had been years since she’d felt excited.
Dorcas brewed chamomile tea. The warmth flowed into her tummy as she imagined herself going back to school, or working at a big department store (they were always hiring seniors). Maybe she could…
The words hung in the air like ball moss on trees which slowly kills them. Dorcas sipped her tea and “maybe” tasted bittersweet.
A loud bang startled her; she hurried to the window. Storm clouds cloaked the sky and thunder clapped so loud it set off the car alarms. Rain poured down as if someone had opened a hole under heavenly waterfalls. For a moment, Dorcas imagined herself outside in the wet, hair clinging to her face, clothes sticking to her bones, and wished it were so.
She turned back to her tea and hugged herself. Her sunny kitchen had turned dark and cold and uninviting; “our time together has passed, you are no longer welcome here” it seemed to say. Wayne groaned and cursed at the TV.
“God,” whispered Dorcas, gaze upwards, “if you stop the rain, I’ll leave with nothing but the clothes I’m wearing.”
Like magic, the heavy rain stopped and sunshine broke through the wet sky.
Dorcas opened the hall closet, grabbed her purse and walked out the front door.
The house was gloomy and dark when Wayne hollered for his dinner.