Okay, I’m not sure that this story is really “ready”, but when are they ever? This is another flash fiction piece submitted for Chuck Wendig’s weekly challenge. The prompt allowed for 1,000 words and requested a story based on one of the Seven Deadly Sins. So, I give you a short tale on Wrath.

A warning: slight NSFW language below.

Bitter Reflections

Graphic of an angry face

As Debra sipped the coffee, she could smell its acidic aroma. The restaurant dining area she sat in was sparsely populated. A couple sat across the room and to Debra’s left. They were at one of the tables lined up in a row against the wall.

She noticed that the couple was middle-aged and looked very similar to one another. She wondered to herself if one day she and Trey would be like that. She couldn’t see it. This couple looked roughly the same height and build as one another. They both had short hair, similar styles even. They both wore glasses. They even sat with the same relaxed body language. How does that happen? She thought to herself.

She and Trey would never physically look the same. She was four foot eleven. He was six feet tall. She was slight, and he was starting to get a gut. If anything, they’d grown more and more dissimilar over the years.

For the dozenth time she looked down at the crème brûlée waiting to be eaten. Two spoons lie on the plate beneath the ramekin. She slouched further into the chair and took another sip of coffee. The server had already warmed it up for her twice.

The couple was laughing together, and Debra felt her forehead crease into a scowl. As she lifted her cup, she saw her muddy reflection in the bitter beverage. She put it down without drinking. She stared into her cup.

When she looked up from reflecting, the couple had gone. She’d been content to people watch for a while, but now she was the only person left in the room, other than the restaurant employees who were wiping down the tables.

Their server came back, looked down at the uneaten crème brûlée, and asked half joking, “Did he leave you?”

Debra laughed, and her face turned red. “After twelve years married, I don’t think he’d just walk out in the middle of dinner.”

Yet, here she sat. And, he still hadn’t returned.

She didn’t know how she felt about that. She had become dependent upon him, making every decision based on what he would like. Or at least her interpretation of his opinion.

She suddenly sat up straighter. She knew exactly how she felt. Free.

She wasn’t free of her husband. She was free of her own self-imposed torture. She was free to make a decision for herself. She knew full well that she had made herself miserable all those years. Honestly, if she had just told him what she really thought, what would have happened? She knew that he had a temper, but good god, what was the point in being married if you spent the whole time simply trying not to set off an avalanche? Something had broken inside of Debra, but it was a good break.

She looked over at the server, now wiping the table right next to her, and she laughed. She laughed loud and raucous and said, “Well, I guess he’s not coming back.”

The server kind of gaped at her a minute. And, Debra laughed again.

She grabbed one of the spoons off the plate and dug into the crème brûlée. She savored each bite, not having to worry that someone else would gobble up three quarters of it, forcing her to choose between not enjoying her dessert or getting less.

And then Trey walked into the room.

“You started dessert without me?”

“Yes,” she said, continuing with the spoonful she had just scooped up from the ramekin.

Trey clenched his hands into fists at his side. She was familiar with that gesture, but it didn’t affect her this time. He looked over at the server, trying to calculate an appropriate response.

He settled for sitting down in his chair. Then he spoke through gritted teeth, “Don’t you think that was kind of rude?”

“I’d been waiting for forty minutes, and dessert was just sitting here.” She looked Trey in the eyes. Calmly, so calmly, she picked up her coffee and took a sip while watching for his reaction.

The server must have felt the tension because he high-tailed it out of the room, taking his rag and spray bottle with him. Trey pounded his palms against the table, and Debra could see another server in the entryway jump and turn to look their way. Debra understood her reaction. But, she didn’t jump at the display—not this time.

In fact, she smiled at him. It felt crazy and good. And, she was sure she looked quite insane, smiling at this man. A wide, happy grin.

“What’s the matter, Trey?”

“Why would you do that?” he said.

“Do what?”

“You damn well know what I’m talking about. I leave for a few minutes, and you eat dessert without me?”

“You were gone for forty minutes, Trey.”

“Don’t give me your semantics. I was gone for a few minutes.”

His ears were turning red. “We’re supposed to be having a nice night out, and you go and pull something like this. I can’t believe it. No, I take that back. I can believe it. You are just a rude person, Debra. You don’t know how to act.”

“You’re right. I don’t know how to act. I am rude. I’m a bitch. A cunt. A cold-hearted robot. Just like you’ve told me.”

She stood up and pulled the wallet out of her purse. The server hurried back into the room as if from nowhere, but she’d already tossed the bills onto the table and started to walk out.

“Debra, if you just walk out while we’re talking about this, don’t expect to come home tonight. I’ll put the chain on the door.”

“I don’t intend to.”