Here’s a little sequel of “Tea or Lemonade.” I just couldn’t help myself. The following video helped with inspiration and I think you’ll find it quite fitting.
“Goodness, Papa! This here stew’s real good!” Exclaimed my dirt-covered little boy while scooping up more broth in an over sized spoon.
“See? I told ya your mama’s veggies would be good this year.”
I smiled as he nodded and took a large bite of a cooked onion and chewed a cube of beef. He quickly swallowed and commented, “I sure wish she was still around so she could eat with us.”
My throat had tightened at his words and it became difficult to swallow. I still ached for her even though she had to be punished. I wish she could have seen her garden this year. No matter what, she will always be a part of it now.
I sometimes wish I didn’t catch her out in that barn, bent over the corn crib. Some day, I will find the man who was thudding her hips against the wood, defiling her and the sanctity of our marriage. If only my aim had been better in the dark, I would have pinned him to the barn post instead of slicing his shoulder with my hunting knife.
I love my wife, even in that moment of finding her loving another man. Even afterward, while she sat with her head in her hands, her tears flowing through the cracks of her fingers, I lovingly poured her a shot of bourbon and stirred in a bit of ground almond.
And while she clutched her swollen throat, she still reached for me to save her. So I did. I tackled her to the floor and softly pressed against her neck. I wiped the tears from her eyes as she turned blue and I whispered, “I love you with everything inside me, but you don’t love me enough. I can’t let anyone else have you.”
I cried when I carried her back to the barn, cradling her just as I had when we entered the threshold of our home for the first time. As the heat left the cheek pressed against my chest, I hummed to her softly while brushing her ruffled hair. I turned her face away as I laid her body down on a black, wool riding blanket. I couldn’t let her see me. I wanted to spare her the decency.
After some time and a now dull saw blade, I gathered up the pieces and tied the blanket together with rope. My wife was now in shambles just like my heart.
Admiring my work, I wiped the blood filled sweat from my neck and quickly decided where to hide her. It wasn’t quite Winter, but the pond would be cool enough to keep her from decomposing too much. As I watched the pack slowly sink, I said my final goodbye and haven’t cried since.
By the time the top layer of ice thawed in the Spring, I fished her out and threw her in with the pig slop. They must’ve felt like royalty with such a bountiful feast!
All I had to do was clean the pen and I had spectacular fertilizer. Just as my son said, the garden came in really good this year. The vegetables flourished and we even had plenty to share with my brother.
I shook myself from my thoughts just as a knock came at the door. In walked the belly of my young and pregnant sister-in-law followed by my exuberant brother.
“Well, hell, c’mon in! Yer just in time for some supper!”
She eased herself in my wife’s chair and ruffled my son’s hair. He smiled at her and continued his focus to the contents in his bowl.
“That must be some good eatin’ there, kiddo,” said my brother as he sat, opposite of me.
I immediately stood and fetched them each a bowl with a helping of cornbread and a glass of tea. I hadn’t quite mastered my wife’s tea, yet, but no one ever complained.
“Have you heard anything about Maggie?” My brother inquired. He always asked about her and I can see his concern was for my son.
I shook my head and tried to negate the conversation, “Eat up.”
I proudly watched as he leaned down and scooped the cornbread into the mud colored broth. His shirt collar folded slightly over his muscular shoulder as he brought his food to his mouth. Just enough to reveal a large, light pink scar. A scar that healed nicely over a large cut. Right in the spot… where I threw my knife.
I stared intensely, gripping on to my spoon and whitening my knuckles. He must’ve felt the heat of my glare as he cleared his throat and adjusted the fabric. As he turned to me with a chewing smile, I rapidly blinked away my fury.
I made a glance at my brother’s wife and back to the man who forced me to murder mine, “How’s the stew?”