The preacher’s wife, Donna, came early that morning. The morning after Jimmy had died. Sharon had been surprised when she opened the door and saw her there. She was expecting a transport, a van to take Jimmy away. She was not expecting anyone from the church, let alone the preacher’s wife. She and Jimmy had seldom attended services, and then only on Christmas Eve.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Sharon spat. She had eschewed sleep last night, choosing instead to sit by the fire, drowning her emotions with buckets and buckets of tea.
Donna blanched at the coarse language but smiled and shot her white gloves, “I’ve come to check on your Jimmy, my husband heard that he is poorly.”
“Your husband heard right,” Sharon said. “Jimmy hasn’t been well but, he’s gone now. I thought you were the van to take him to the undertaker’s.” She reached for the sill to steady herself and Donna, the preacher’s wife, caught her arm.
“Let’s get you inside.” Donna said, and she led Sharon in to the settee.
Donna went into the kitchen and got a cool damp cloth, brought it back and placed it on Sharon’s brow. She returned to the kitchen and put a fire under the kettle. Rummaging until she found the canister of tea she put some in the pot and when the water boiled she poured it in on top of the leafs, placed it on a tray, took two cups from the cupboard and carried the whole lot out to the front room where Sharon sat. “Let’s let it steep for a bit, shall we?” She sat across the table and began to fuss with the napkins. “I’m so sorry Sharon.”
“Don’t be, I never loved him and he never loved me – but we were married for almost 27 years. When I was young, love was an illusion that seemed to forever evade my grasp. My younger sisters and my friends all wed before me, for I was holding out for love, and I found it. I loved a boy once, but he went to the sea and I saw him not for 7 long years. By that time, I had been convinced and persuaded that the important thing about a marriage was not happiness but, stability.
“Jimmy and I had an arranged marriage, a stable marriage, a marriage of convenience. I had a husband before becoming a crone and, he had a wife. Having a wife is important to a merchant in this town. Keeps the tongues from waggin’, you know. And, believe you me, they could have wagged plenty.
“By the time my love returned to port; Jimmy and I were already wed. There was nothing to be done. He went back to sea and I settled in to make the best of it. Jimmy’s business was successful, we have this town house, we have a country house, and we have more money than we know what to do with. My regret was only that we had no children; I believe that it was Jimmy’s regret as well. Laughter was seldom heard around me and Jimmy.”
“You don’t have to tell me this,” Donna said.
“I want to. No, I need to.” Sharon dropped her face into her hands. “You see, not more than two weeks ago I was in town at the market and I saw my sea captain. The boy I had loved had come back. He had left the sea and come looking for me – for me! For two weeks we have been meeting secretly. We plotted and hatched a plan. I was to leave Jimmy and flee to the coast, where he has a fine home. We were going to give our lost love a second chance. But, now Jimmy is dead; struck down by a vengeful God; perhaps to punish me. Do you think that may be the case, Donna?”
“No,” said the preacher’s wife, “I’m sure it’s not like that.”
“But it is like that,” Sharon said looking fixedly at Donna, “it’s exactly like that. I have the money, I have the fine homes, I have found my lost love, and I am shed of my wicked husband. Don’t you see? It’s right. Everything about this is right.” she picked up her tea and sipped, “And the rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.”
Nobel Prize-winning Gabriel García Márquez passed away at the age of 87. He was an inspiration and yeah write will be paying tribute to him over the coming week. Here at the speakeasy, our media prompt is a video clip from the film Love in the Time of Cholera, which is based on Márquez’s novel of the same name.
Our sentence prompt this week, provided by last week’s winner, Janna, must be used as the LAST line in your piece.
“The rightness eclipsed every mistake made along the way.”
Our submissions must be 750 words or less.