by jc jaress

She ended it with the slamming of a door that had begun to chip the paint from around the jamb
One day she’d slam that door and knock all the paint off of everything and he would just stand there

There was no sign or warning
No look in her eye
No twitch
No minor hesitation
And then, as if out of nowhere, she would lay 14-years of marriage across his face with a swift, flat hand that reeled the memories in his already spinning brain
It wasn’t fair
It was never fair
As a child he had lived this same way for too many years,
Until that day, as a young man, when he caught his mother’s hand in mid-strike and held it there
Just a little too tightly
And a little too long
And told her, “Never again.”
But not this one
He never stopped her
He just stood
And took it
And never raised a hand
She was just too close to him
Or maybe he was too close to her
And it didn’t seem to matter on which side he chose
Like trying to pick between two long lines at the checkout stand and always guessing wrong
There was no winning in it for him
Just chipping paint
And so many things left untold

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