Fast and Furious
She smokes her cigarette out the window of her bedroom, waiting for the nightingale to call and the street racers to come down the freeway. In the six years she’s lived in her house, she’s only smoked in it twice before. The first time when there was a rainstorm, and the second time when there was a rainstorm. There is no rainstorm today. That means the cars will come out.
She needs the cars tonight.
The cats talk to each other in the living room as she turns on the ceiling fan and closes the door to contain the smoke and direct it out the window with fanning fingers.
What she’d seen downstairs at 11:00pm had not been real. Dale had been in the bathroom and what she’d seen had not been not real until she touched the laptop keys and determined it was real. The screen showed her an open chat with an icon showing a lingerie-clad woman in the top left corner. “Cora,” it said. Underneath, Age 29. The message her husband had sent Cora was an invite to his hotel in Boston, where he was traveling for work the next week. Blood had drained from her limbs towards her heart and torso, she had touched her belly.
In her bedroom, she stubs out the cigarette after only a few puffs. I’m sure half a cigarette with a four-pound baby in me will only give it bad teeth. She can afford braces, even without him. In the window seat, she rests on a pillow, leaning against the wall. She takes deep breaths of the outside air and thinks about what she will say when he comes into the room.
“What did you do?”
“You know what I did.”
“Did you smoke in here?”
“No. Fuck you. Get out.”
She walks to the door as he backs out of the room and into the hall. He watches the door shut in his face and sighs, almost indifferent.
Before Dale had returned from the bathroom, she’d messaged the woman, “My wife has nicer tits and she’s pregnant.”
She looks at her phone, 11:30 p.m. She has still said nothing. He has still said nothing.
Her nightingale begins to call. His months in her yard are short, feeling long because he sings all night without fail. The cars begin to hum. A police helicopter flies overhead. The hum starts on the 134, then there is pick up on the exit to the 101. As the cars echo through the Valley, she wonders about the drivers. She wonders if not having sex for five weeks meant fair game to Dale and Cora.
And the bird sings.
And she touches her belly.
And she says nothing, but she listens.