by Angela Carlton
I’ve been caught up in your lies. I’m not the spider but the bug who waits to get swallowed in your web, those delicate strands. Yes, I’m wrapped inside where everything tends to hang.
“If my husband calls,” you say, ”Tell him, we were at the sports bar or I was at lunch with you on a chilly day when the gust of wind kept us tucked away inside a cozy booth. Right, I was stuck inside that booth with you…remember?” When you laugh on the other end of the line, my brain swirls like the fierce, grey tornados I’ve seen on the television set. On a Tuesday, you might meet me for lunch to give me a rundown of your calendar as if I was another character in your shady plot.
The next week, I learned, you meet with the “other man again,” again and again. Sometimes you’d call to fill me in on whatever was next but over time, I stopped listening. I was too busy looking out toward the garden, the one I planted with my own hands as I waited for the Spring harvest, my reward.
When the rains came and washed winter out, some of your friends gathered around to celebrate your five-year anniversary, but I wasn’t there. Instead, I sat on my bench surrounded by the aroma of jasmine and honeysuckles waiting for the cucumber and zucchini, the yellow squash to break through that rich, fresh dirt.
I waited for it all to emerge.
Angela Carlton is a Georgia native. Her fiction has been published in EWR, Everyday Fiction, Pedestal Magazine, Long Story Short, High Noon, Third Iris, 50-wordstories, and Friday Flash Fiction. In addition, she won the reader’s choice award with Pedestal Magazine in 2006. When she was a child, she wrote a book called, The Magic Fish and tucked it away in a box for safekeeping. Her collection of stories, “A Jigsaw Life,” was released in December 2022.