The Cost Of Love
He loved her in his non-committal way, and every morning without fail, as he left their home, would say, “Enjoy your day,” and wave his hand to emphasis the comment: he didn’t believe in altering routines! His wife, was more expressive than him, she thought, and with that edge of manicured hysteria which marks out the gifted from the pack; those who munched their way mindlessly through life, like soulless cattle feeding from the trough.
“He doesn’t love me. Where’s the hunger ?” had been her lament to any lover, though her husband cared for her in every material way and her wardrobes spoke of everything but neglect, yet she, clinging to her version of lament, was past noticing those truths wrapped in humdrum details.
Alfonso, her new landscape-painting tutor, whose class she joined two months or more ago, searched her soul with brazen soulful eyes, ravaging her composure with those words of his, dispelling the air of boredom which was her signature reaction to the world around her. “Love has no boundaries and no government, he said. “It sweeps all before it. It sculpts us with its passion”
“Oh yes” said Karen, for that was her name, ” What depths this man from foreign climes possesses: he is both painter and prophet!” and so when he suggested she displayed a raw if untrained genius with her brush , so he must coach her privately at his home, she agreed without hesitation and soon with a deft, dare we say practised, hand he removed her clothing proving, once again, that love hath no boundaries, and, he might have added, “Can be vague about morals.”
Two souls caught in a sublime light: fragile beings trapped in a dull suburban landscape: oh how they longed for a more glorious backdrop, with moonlight and the scent of tropical flowers to celebrate their newly discovered urgency. Both of them lacked resources, which stifling fact threatened this sacred union where eternal joy and beauty both found sanctuary.
Lying awake in bed, some time after husband had drifted off to sleep, she said to herself, “No more of this” and determined to remove this dull pedantic being from her life. “You are not worth another moment of my time” she mouthed silently to his inert figure as her delicate heart filled with chilling purpose. Promising herself to reveal her thoughts to no one but her lover, she investigated poisons which could kill, and yet leave no trace within a couple of hours.
Impressively, if that’s the word, she managed to obtain some after requesting help from her darling Alfonso, who had brought her to the brink of paradise and wished for nothing but her happiness, recognising their life and love together required a larger canvas and must not be denied by suburban morality. Her husband, they agreed. could show no greater appreciation for his wife’s frustrated genius than, leaving this earth, allowing her to make their dreams come true.
As it happened, her husband, dull beyond the powers of description, and without any imagination she believed, tasted something odd in his first mouthful of soup and raising his eyes, saw the fearful unease she tried to hide as she stared back at him. Somehow he understood her plan, and sadness more than anger filled his heart. He loved her beyond definition but sometimes she could be a silly and clearly wanted free of him, if not his wealth.
With calm deliberation, he filled his spoon again, and looking back at her said, “Lovely as always.” Her heart filled with remorse and something approaching self-knowledge, but as she opened her mouth to tell him “Stop,” he swallowed the noxious liquid. His dry acknowledgement reminding her of his unspoken gentle qualities, but now the die was cast, and his eyes, filled with uncritical love, dulled, then ceased to shine. He tipped sideways off his chair leaving this life without unnecessary comment.
“Heart attack,” the doctor said. Truth be told his own mother was ill and he, distracted and not that fussed with this routine event, allowed Justice to sleep a while longer, so the romantic pair could set off on their enchanted voyage of self discovery. In time our heroine sat quietly neglected once again, but on a beach, while Alfonso, her new husband, reminded his growing class of ever younger ladies how “Love has no boundaries” and neither, it seemed, did his appetites.
He seldom commented on practical or domestic matters but he might remark, if pressed, that he never let his wife do the cooking.