It’s turning grey out there again

It’s another cold, rainy Saturday at the bookstore. It’s January, and the holiday rush is over. But it’s warm in the store. Patrons line up in the aisles and the cafe like refugees who have survived an onslaught. Perhaps they have. After all, it is after the holidays.

The cafe is littered with bodies with various troubles. One couple has been there for hours now. Not that this is weird in itself, after all, this is a bookstore. But only the man in the couple seems to want to be there. The woman, she’s another story. It’s enough to make you wonder what is happening between them.

She watches him eat while he ignores her. She folds her arms to get his attention, to get him to hurry up. It doesn’t work. She wonders about how she is going to go home in this rain, she parked the car too far away and you can never find parking space near where you want to be in the village. He sighs, and sips his tea like there is nothing to do in this world but wait.

They came here because he wanted to get some Hemingway for whatever book he is writing now, but she would have much rather stayed home. For crying out loud, it’s Saturday and everybody else is out. He knows she hates crowds, and yet he still dragged her on the busiest day of the week. It’s raining and he knows that she can’t stand being on the road in this weather.

Besides, there’s so much she’s behind on in the house, God, she wishes she was there now in the comfort of her routine getting things done. God knows she had enough to do there, especially after the holidays when their daughters came over and fought again like they do every year. What are you going to do? she thinks, “happy holidays are here again”, like usual. But after all this time, she has given up on them. They are adults now. She is done playing referee.

What does he care, she thinks. He doesn’t seem to care, he never does. He doesn’t help, he doesn’t listen, he’s always wrapped up in his own little world with books and whatever else. He leaves all the messes for her to clean up, as usual, whether the mess is the dishes or their kids. After all that nonsense, he says that she’s the one who is illogical? That’s men for you, she sighs to herself.

She catches an image of him in the corner window, sipping the last of his soup down, with the feigned elegance of a professor who is too dense to realize he never made it to Paris, and that Paris would never want him. She wonders what she ever saw in him. Of course, it was thirty five years ago. So much had changed since then, and back then she never thought she’d be sitting in a book café on a rainy day with her husband, wishing she were anywhere but there with him.

It is not that she didn’t love him anymore; it was just that after their daughters Cheryl and Joan moved out, they had nothing to talk about. They still went through the motions, going out to dinner, entertaining his department every Friday (except for January: the holiday season was good for something, she supposed). There was sex every Sunday (God, that’s tomorrow, she remembered. Where was the flu when you needed it?), but it was just that, motions. Where was the spice in her life? Sometimes she felt in quiet moments like this, that somehow she let her life run away from her and she never saw it go.

The rain keeps pouring down and it matches her mood. Blah. There was snow here just a couple of days ago; it felt so much like Christmas. Now it felt like nothing. Not good or bad, just there. Oh well. That’s just how her life always went, it seemed to her.

He finally finishes his soup, and his tea. He is done so she can stop waiting. He decides to go, just like he decides all the times before. She follows him out the door.

It’s another day at the bookstore, just after the holiday rush with the shell-shock of dashed expectations and exploding credit card bills. The snow looked nice before the New Year, but the rain takes away all its cheer. It’s turning grey out there again. There’s not much anyone can do about it. That’s just how it goes.

2 Responses to “It’s turning grey out there again”

  1. Nethra Ram says:

    “After all that nonsense, he says that she’s the one who is
    illogical? That’s men for you, she sighs to herself” – am sure a
    lot of ladies out there are sighing right now. You got me hooked
    on to this one with the 1st mention of the bookstore, a cafe, a
    rainy day!