A different kind of speechless

As Tom tied the scarf round his wife’s neck, he wondered if he could ever tighten his grip, pull hard, squeeze the life out of her, but instead tied it tightly enough to last the evening, easy to loosen when they got home.

He smiled weakly as she turned round, and she went to speak but no words came out.

“We’d better go,” Tom said, then followed her out through the open front door.

As Tom drove to the theatre he wanted to tell her about his day, share his mundane, but pretended to concentrate on the road instead, glancing at her occasionally only to see her steadfast gaze through the front windscreen.

He wanted his wife back, the woman whose shopping basket had overbalanced as he’d walked past, the woman who’d blushed as he’d helped her, while staring at her long black hair… a different kind of speechless.

Pulling into the kerb outside the theatre he switched off the engine and put the blue card on to the dashboard, setting the timer and pushing it in place, into the fold of plastic joining the windscreen.

As Tom and Arabella entered the foyer, they waited as a man in front of them collected his ticket. Expecting the man to walk into the theatre, Tom pushed the wheelchair forward as the man moved but then halted as he turned round. It was then that Tom recognised him, his hair a little greyer, but there was no mistaking the dark eyes. The eyes full of sorrow as they’d faced each other in court when Tom had listened to Jack Creaton recount how he’d hit the Italian woman crossing the road as she went to collect the cake she’d ordered for her tenth wedding anniversary.

Jack’s shoulders slumped as he looked at Tom, but said nothing. Tom was debating whether to speak when the woman in the ticket office called ‘next’. Jack looked at Arabella, bowed his head, coughed and left the theatre.

***

Photography courtesy of morguefile.com.

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