Galveston was supposed to save them but she knew before they arrived that she’d hate the place.
He’d grown up there, a high school football star with shiny good looks. He had hair then and was somebody.
His aunt met them at the front door, frail, stooped like a praying mantis. She smiled wide and hugged freely. It felt strange, all this eager touching, like being in a commune where everyone had sex with everyone else.
At dinner the aunt eyed the wife with an upturned fork.
“I know you’re not from here,” she said, “but in Galveston we close our eyes during mealtime prayer.”
That night he desperately wanted to have sex.
“I grew up in this house,” he said. “I slept in this mattress for thirteen years.”
His parents had been killed when a train hit their car while crossing railroad tracks. He was seven then.
She said, “But your aunt might hear.”
“She’s nearly deaf.”
“She’s not. She’s sharp.”
He laughed at that, tugging her breast.
“We can make a baby here if we try,” he said.
She wanted a divorce not a child, still she let him do what he wanted, surprised by her reaction, her body alive for once, a scream rising in her throat that her husband squelched by putting a palm over her mouth.
In the morning at breakfast she dutifully closed her eyes during prayers.
The eggs were runny, like plasma trying to grow or escape. She ate them anyway, in a hurry.
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of the story collection The Dark Sunshine. His latest story collection, I'm Not Supposed to Be Here and Neither Are You is forthcoming from Unknown Press in March of 2016. You can also find him at lenkuntz.blogspot.com.