Watching (Flash Fiction)

Susanne wove her way through the outdoor food court as if she were walking in a dream. The sky was a brilliant blue and spotted with fluffy clouds of white. She sat down. Why I am doing this, she thought. A shiver slid down her body, and she pulled her jacket tight. Across the food court she could see the small book store and the girl working the register. She slid on her sunglasses and watched.

The girl was beautiful. It became instantly obvious as to why Bob was drawn to her. She was far younger and her body had the tight curves to prove it. Her black hair was long and rich. She smiled with perfect teeth and cute dimples. She seemed to cheer up every person she had time to greet.

Susanne rolled her wedding band on her finger. The gold was duller than it was when first placed on her finger 19 years ago. She still found it beautiful, but the gems had certainly lost their sparkle. She rubbed her hands together to keep the cold from sneaking into her skin. As she watched this woman, this girl, she was reminded of the girl she had been.

They had shared so many laughs together, her and Bob. A smile took to her lips as her memory drifted back to the last year of college. Bob worked at the local pizza place and was terribly insistent. He would give her the cheesiest lines she’d ever heard. Did you just climb out of our oven? Ya sure? Cause you look hot. She did her best to not encourage him, but there was no point. He could always make her smile, and that was the end of it. They were married shortly after she graduated.

But time wore things down, as it always does. Children and work and finances clawed into their lives and stole their passion. Bob worked more and more. Susanne cared less and less. “And now, here I am,” she said to herself. “Just wondering where the time went.”

She watched the mistress, Catherine, and felt a terrible numbness. She wasn’t angry nor sad or even surprised. In a way, it was what she always expected. Bob was engaging and impulsive and women always found him attractive. She stood, took off her sunglasses, and walked into the store to find a good book to read. The woman at the register greeted her promptly with a beautiful smile.

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