The prompt for this week is: I understand.
Marge set a white Correlle plate plate on the blue and white plaid place mat. She folded the paper napkin in a neat rectangle, placed it on the left side of the plate. Fork on top of napkin. Knife and spoon on the right side. She checked the pan and it was hot enough for the scrambled eggs. The microwave timer gave the countdown for the sausages. Coffee gurgled in the pot.
Don sat down at the table in his white v-neck t-shirt and pajama bottoms. She said nothing. The eggs were almost ready. The timer went off. Coffee done and poured in a white cup. Eggs and sausage on white platter. Coffee cup brought to his place setting. The familiar clunk of the plate on their old formica table top. She rushed to the refrigerator and brought out the creamer.
She heard the neighbor children playing in the driveway next door. She smiled to herself and thought of happy memories when their children were small like them. She pulled in her chair and waited for him to go first.
"I haven't been working late, Marge."
"You'd better eat your eggs before they get cold." She rubbed her eyes and poured her coffee in her empty cup. She reveled the smell of her coffee.
"Marge. I don't even know how to begin." Don covered his face with his hands and drew them down, as if washing away the night.
"Did you not sleep well? Joe has to go to band practice at 10. Do you want me to give him a ride?"
"You've always been a good wife. You've always tried to do the right thing and I've enjoyed being married to you."
"I hope so. It's been twenty years of that." Marge smiled and sipped.
"You're a good, kind woman, Marge. It's just that. Well, we've fallen into a rut these past years. I don't know. Maybe it's so hard raising the kids. Maybe it's work. I don't know. But things need to change. I get up and go to work. Come home. Argue with Joe or Lizzy. Drive them somewhere. Come home. Fall asleep on the couch. It's so monotonous. Uninspired." Don lifted his coffee and drank a sip. He put it down and filled it with creamer, stirred vigorously.
The blood rushed out of her hands. This is the conversation that she had dreaded for her entire marriage. A thousand thoughts rushed through her mind. Where would she go? How would they tell the children? Who would be the one to leave the house first? When would they tell their folks?
"I haven't been working late, Marge. I lied to you and I'm sorry." Don stared at his empty plate. "I've been at the library."
Marge put down her cup on the edge of her plate. It flipped up. She gasped but her cup did not spill. Don rose up but sat down with a sigh. He took one of her cold hands into his own.
"I want to go skydiving."
"I've always wanted to do it and I've decided this is the year. I know we should be saving the money, but it's time. I can't live my life in a rut any longer. I need to open myself up to new things." Don kissed her hand and scraped a heaping of eggs on his plain white plate.
"I understand." Marge smiled and wrapped her cold hands around the warmth of her cup.