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House Wife on the Market

Her eyes were small, hands tender. Her corrosive banter made her man want to scream, but she stuffed too many little cakes in his mouth for him to make a peep. Her apron was always tidy and her hair was always groomed and not a man in the world can say a bad thing about a woman in an apron with neat hair and a wedding ring.
Fidelity wasn’t her strong suit, of course, but then neither was infidelity. She just happened upon a man or another when she was out and about at the store scanning the aisles for a pound of powdered sugar. Of course a man will happen upon a woman at a store when her small eyes are narrowed and her apron is draped neatly over her arm, the way a woman must carry her apron if she means to show it off. The men, they come for the fine lace that dances across the edge of her apron, stay for the lace that crawls along the rim of their glasses from the round of her breast. Yes, she did not mean infidelity, but it was thrust upon her and she followed suit for what’s a woman if not obedient to her man, or any.
So when her man sent her to the store she complied and when this man or that man spotted the lace of her apron who’s she to stop a wandering eye or a longing hand? There’s nothing wrong with a little lace, she figured. And, of course, lace breeds lace the way lust breeds more lust.
She retired herself from the action of removing her ring, for already her mind was beginning to forget silly things like pulling it out of her tidy pocket and willing it back on her pudgy finger. See, the ring grew snugger and snugger as she grew more complacent, less bitter and sarcastic. A time came when she could no longer remove it from her once tender hands, burned one, two, four times too many times through the holes in deteriorating gloves when removing little cakes from the glitchy oven.
She was done with sneaky. She began telling the men her real name, or rather her man’s name. The men, of course, didn’t like to hear of other men and willed her not to share. They too would lie of their own names and reasons for being.
She would cry when they told her to quiet and likely a strike would follow. Then she would get up to leave before the deed could be done, and the men would have to make a choice. At first they would snatch her by the arm, squeeze so hard she wished her man might ask of the bruise to come, and they’d force her back to her knees or her back. The act would occur and she would wipe her racooning eyes and wobble home. But more and more they let her leave.
It was then she told her man that other men had asked to take her to bed. He struck her when she said she had not been infidel. He struck harder when she said she had. She put salt in place of sugar in the cakes that night. He ate them all the same. She cried again.
Men no longer desired her large, inflexible body. Even the danger of her ring and the baby bump that kept growing seemed to turn them away. She learned to carry the sugar on her own, find it quickly and leave in a hurry so she could get off of her swollen feet though, of course, this meant leaving her nice apron at home. She retired her lace-trimmed delicates. Her eyes grew smaller as she grew tired with age and seclusion. She kept her small eyes down, never meeting the glance of the men who bumped her out of the way to find other infidel mistresses. She turned a blind eye to her own man, as he approached a younger her and slapped the girl’s behind, or caressed her lower back, or fingered the lace of her bra as he no longer did for his wife.



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