A full minute passed before the creaking bed and not-so-gentle snores assured Evelyn the coast was clear, if not quiet. Suddenly resolved, she tiptoed to the large walk-in closet that opened off the bathroom and pulled out the step stool. She stood on the top rung and stretched to reach the topmost shelf. Evelyn pulled down an unused loofah, toothbrush holder, box of Dove soap, and her extra bottle of perfumed shower gel. Then she stepped down, clutching her items to her middle. She walked over to the cabinet, opened the bottom drawer, and withdrew her toothbrush and toiletry bag. Arms now full, she slipped to the back left corner of her closet and let her armload tumble out quietly onto the carpeted floor.
Crouching, Evelyn withdrew a valise tucked under her shirts. Inside it, a plastic bag emblazoned with a red CVS pharmacy logo spilled its contents: a small plastic stick that looked up at her, still showing the same smirking skull and crossbones shaped like a + sign. No lifesaving or in sight.
Somewhere in the darkness the tree frog she and Kevin had nicknamed Dave uttered his high-pitched mating call. Evelyn gathered her things and stood. She put each in its place and returned the stool. Finally she plodded back to the mirror and stared at her image captured by the moonlight peeking through the windows. The orange-and-white flowers on her satin pajamas shimmered in the reflection.
So, God, is this Your way of telling me I can't leave my husband?
"Are you with me, Ev?" Kevin touched his wife's shoulder. "Evelyn Lester?"
Gasping, "What?" Evelyn snapped back to the present to find Kevin's six-foot-four-inch frame looming over her in the kitchen. The soapy dish slipped from her hands and clattered against the bottom of the stainless steel sink.
"Where were you?" With one hand Kevin flicked away the suds that had splashed onto his striped Italian cotton shirt. "Anything wrong?"
Everything, her mind screamed. She mumbled, "Nothing. Just thinking."
Evelyn forced a smile and voiced her thoughts, if not the whole truth behind them. "Everything. Nothing." She retrieved the stoneware casserole dish and rinsed it. "Shoot!" She ran her finger along the chip on its edge. Exasperated, she pulled open the cherry cabinet door and dropped the dish in the trash.
"Evelyn! It's just a chip. What are you doing?" Kevin bent to retrieve the platter. '"Ow!"' Hastily he withdrew his hand, but not before Evelyn pinched his fingers as she forced the door closed. "What's the matter with you?"
"I'm throwing it out, Kevin. It's what you do when something is broken." Evelyn edged around him to clear away the detritus from their dinner. Her silence dropped icicles, chilling the kitchen despite the warmth of the summer day.
She whirled on her husband. Lather dripped from her hands onto the hardwood floor. "But what, Kevin?"
"What's wrong with you? You've been stomping around here the last couple of days, barely speaking to me. Pulling my hair when I'm sleeping—"
"And now you're throwing away perfectly good dishes and slamming my fingers in the trash can."
Evelyn glared at him, her wet hands clenched at her sides.
Kevin didn't blink. "It's me, right?"
"I didn't pull your—"