She wears a Jackie Onassis inspired lemon suit. The skirt sits above her knees, but not what you might call a mini. She only has one mini dress, the fabric a symphony of pink and green paisley swirls. He doesn’t say anything when she wears it, he only frowns and looks away. He doesn’t say much about anything.
The dark shadows under his eyes make him look like he’s forgotten how to sleep. ‘My bags’ is what he calls them — a bundle of dark matter he carries around. Where can he lay down the crumpled fabric tied together with coarse string? Perhaps in the garage, where he disappears to clean and polish his hammers and screwdrivers, to mix the yeast and the hops of his home-brew. He uses a machine with a long arm to crunch the fluted edges of gold bottle tops against the glass of the brown bottles.
When he gets older he will go mad, crazy, demented. Once the silent, long-suffering man is gone he will begin to speak. When he thinks no one is listening, he will say how much he loved the woman he tried to keep a secret. He will forget that he chose to stay with his wife and children and remember instead how the other woman let him talk, tell jokes and be himself.
He stays because he doesn’t want to be like his own father. He stays because he’s trying to make something of himself. He stays because it’s what a man should do.
And he stays silent, looking at his wife from behind black bags. The muscles in his face have grown accustomed to showing nothing. Except for a frown, when she wears her paisley mini.