The empty wine glass across the table blurred as tears filled Anne’s eyes and overflowed. She wiped her cheeks with the tips of her fingers and stifled a sob. The thick aroma of the hours spent cooking their anniversary dinner hovered in a dense cloud over the dining room.
Anne stared at that empty wine glass and plate while tears fogged her vision. She sat in the soft candlelight, dressed in her best evening gown and adorned with her finest jewelry as the minutes ticked on the cuckoo clock hanging on the wall. The cuckoo had chimed while she set the table with their best china and silver utensils. It had trilled when she turned off the oven, hoping he would arrive soon.
The cuckoo peered out and announced yet another hour. Anne sat at the table, wine settling uneasily in her empty stomach and stirring the nagging suspicion he would not arrive. Anne wiped the tears that kept flowing like salty rivers down her cheeks. She could not stop them. She recalled their first meeting, his proposal, their wedding and their honeymoon, and still the wine glass across the table remained empty, while tears filled the one in her hand.
Wild sobs shook her when the cuckoo poked its head out one more time and chimed the hour to an empty house. Because the house was empty; it was devoid of love and affection, and though Anne sat at their dining table in body, her mind and spirit had left the house long ago.
Those wild sobs stopped, but the tears kept flowing, and as they rolled down her cheeks, they flushed out the love and respect she had for him until they emptied her of any affection towards the man she had once agreed to stay with “until death do us part”.
The cuckoo clock was chiming when he stumbled into the house. He shuffled up the stairs and collapsed on the bed; the pale light of the waning night streaked through the window blinds. In his drunken stupor, he reached out to touch the warm, faithful body of the woman who had sworn “to have and to hold” him but felt only the cold sheets.
Bleary-eyed, he fumbled on the nightstand and switched on the bedside lamp.
The empty closet glared at him in the yellow electric light with its wide-open doors showcasing the gaping hole of all he had lost; the lingering emptiness of all he let slip away.