Flash Fiction By: Christina Banks
A single tear slid down Amber’s cheek as she watched the truck speed away. She turned from the window, slumped in the chair, and stared at her empty hands. Mike hadn’t even waved goodbye.
Over and over, the scenes from breakfast played in her mind. She relived each excruciating moment, from preparing the oatmeal until her husband stormed from the house. Amber swiped at her tears and picked up the phone.
“Hey, Baby Girl, I was just thinking about you.” At Patti’s cheerful greeting, Amber began to sob. “What’s going on?”
“I want to go home,” Amber finally choked out.
“But you are home, Sweet Pea. Mike’s your family now.”
“He left me.” The sting of his rejection ached. It had been the first time in their marriage Mike hadn’t kissed her goodbye.
“He’ll be back. He loves you.”
“He loves bacon more.”
“It’s not funny, Mom.” Amber wiped her face on her shirtsleeve and sat up straighter.
“Your fight was about bacon?” Patti snorted again. “Oh, Baby Girl, just make the man some bacon.”
Amber stood up and began to pace across the small apartment. “But he knows I don’t eat meat.” The package of bacon still lay on the kitchen counter where Mike had flung it.
“Is he asking you to eat it?”
“No, but I would still have to cook it.” Amber shuddered.
“Are you telling me that you don’t love Mike enough to cook him some bacon? Your vows were for better or worse.”
“I remember.” It had only been three months since Amber proclaimed those words before God and witnesses. They had been living the better part, but cooking bacon would definitely fall under the worse category. Amber picked up the package. Would it kill me to cook it? She wasn’t sure.
“I love you, Sweet Pea.”
Amber hung up the phone and braced herself for what was to come. With a prayer of fortitude on her heart, she opened the container. Just the sight of the raw meat, with the white fat running through it, made her gag.
Grimacing, Amber closed her eyes and reached her hand into the package. The bacon was cold and slimy. She shuddered and swallowed back the bile rising in her throat. Holding the strips with two fingers she tossed them in the fry pan.
With her nose buried in her elbow, Amber stirred the pieces of pig with a fork. She tried not to think about the animal it had once been.
“I love Mike more than I hate meat. I love Mike more than I hate meat.” She repeated the mantra over and over as the slices began to sputter, crisp, and curl. Tears of distress ran down her cheeks. She felt so barbaric, the poor pig.
The grease in the pan hissed and leaped, attacking Amber’s arm. She jumped back and carefully turned down the burner.
Amber heard Mike’s truck roar up as she was pulling the last slice out of the pan. She placed it on the paper towel covered plate and turned off the stove. With the hot bacon in hand, she walked the few steps to the front door. Mike opened it only a moment later.
“I am sorry.” Amber held her peace offering out to him.
“I’m sorry, too.” Mike handed Amber a grocery sack. Inside was a package of Morning Star veggie bacon strips.
Amber laughed. Mike opened his arms and she moved into his embrace. He sealed their apology with a kiss and a caress that soon turned passionate.
Bacon wasn’t the only thing sizzling that morning.
Question for you: What compromises have you made to enhance your marriage?