This is the third and final part to the short story. Again, this story is told in reverse.
The boning of her bag released from the wear and tear of the days spent wandering through the baked goods at the farmer’s market. Rich sauces and jellies rest at the bottom. The sides are still damp from the apricot chutney that spilt out the week before. She pushes the items aside and leans into a nearby bench in a park. She had bought honey comb and free-range eggs from a farmer who throws in a cluster of honey suckle for her each Wednesday. They always banter about reality television and their lack of interest in politics.
After her shopping, she pushes her hand into her eyes pushing away her exhaustion. Her fingers catch flints of sand that she flicks across the seating. A leashed, young beagle grazes her ankle as she twirls the bundle of flowers near her nose. Her eyes settle and the hustle of the town dims.
Those who pass by stare, but no one bothers her. Sellers gather their tents and head home as they count their earnings and she rests.
Her husband finds her that night and carries her to the car. His cheeks pinken in the car as he fights off the emotions that filtrate through his brain. He keeps looking over at his wife beside him in the car as her eyes glaze over again. When they arrive home he helps her into the house and makes her a sandwich with one of the marmalades she purchased before they go to bed.
He watches her sleep when he struggles to find comfort in their bed. The sharpness of the cotton sends him to his feet. He gathers some water for the both of them, and is soon lost in the sheets until his alarm sounds. He spreads a piece of toast with butter and brown sugar that he leaves out for her when the sun wakes her.
It was her first full night of sleep, and she slept past lunch and made a second piece of toast for herself just like the one her husband had made. She read a mystery novel that her brother left for her months before that she vowed to never read. She finished it that night and told her husband all about the scandalous adventures of Dr. Woodspin when he came home. He laughed at her new found love for mystery, and they picked out three new books that weekend.
She responded to her e-mails in the kitchen when she drank her morning tea. She sweetened the flavors with sugar, and placed her hands around the mug, absorbing the warmth. She used the same spoon each day she did this, the smallest of those in the heavy drawer of silver. When she first noticed the Corinthian design of the handle at the antique store she imagined it having once belonged to a queen, which prompted her to buy it along with a feather sun hat she never wore.
She finished writing out her thank you letter to her aunt for the salt lamp she received on her birthday last week. She liked to end each letter with an endearing signature like “warmly” or “best.” It was these little things that she felt made her more sincere, and she always followed up with a call later in the week. She had read a book a few years back about the power of gratitude and has done her best to emulate the attitudes expressed throughout the book. She calls an old friend each week, and keeps a rock in her shoe that reminds her each morning as she tries to slip them on that she needs to make a mental note of what she is thankful for.
Her husband always laughed when he came across the stone in her shoe, and found those self-help books to be unnecessary marketing ploys. Nevertheless, a few nights ago he exchanged her pebble for a piece of rock mixed with what looked like crystal and golden flakes. She smiled when she found it the next morning.
She reached for the kettle for one more cup of tea to last her in the backyard. Her hands reach for her round stomach as she rises. She grabbed her gloves and kneeled before the ground. She tended to the beds of carrots and asparagus with the heat pushing down on her. Sweat formed onto her skin, and the smell of bark overwhelmed her. She thinks about redesigning the yard to make room for a hammock or other lighting fixture like lanterns.
A rustling in the bushes reveals a rabbit that quickly startles and scurries past the yard. She thinks back to Easter when she spilt wine on her blouse, and remembers she needs to wash it out. She patted down a corner of soil and slowly raised herself off the ground to find the shirt. Her hair loosens as she gets up and there is a rocking within her that turns to a forceful surge. Her brain feels like it’s reverberating from the lasting motion of getting onto her feet, and loses her hearing in her left ear. Her cheeks become flushed and she loses the feeling in her lips as the dryness advances. The lines of the house blurred and her legs wobbled in and out of place.
The dirt marked itself on her skin as she fell to the ground and the sun burned her shoulders until her husband arrives later that day. The gold stitching in her linen pants stretch until threads break and dampen from the dew resting on the grass. The rabbit escapes from the yard and burrows under the yellow fence line until he finds air. Tuffs of fur are left on the wood, and a hole is left in the dirt that stains the rabbit. Sweat permeates her clothes and fills the corner of her eyes as the soil reddened and her child lost.
She was now alone.
If you missed the beginning parts to this story, here are the links to both.
Part 1: https://uiwomenscenter.wordpress.com/2016/05/02/the-lowest-golden-apple-part-1/
Part 2: https://uiwomenscenter.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/the-lowest-golden-apple-part-2/#more-7437