A Love Story
As Jacob Leber’s left heel touches the parquet floor in the entranceway to his house at 5822 Central Avenue he whispers, “Seventeen.” He looks up the carpeted stairs in front of him and knows that his wife Lilly is dead upstairs. He knows this, of course, because he killed her a day-and-a-half ago.
At step sixteen he is on the other side of the threshold slowly inserting the gold OSH key into the lock. The familiar click of teeth fitting neatly into notches is satisfying though his left thigh begins to twitch. He sighs and bites his upper lip. There is such a mess inside. The hollow point bullet from the 9 mm glock left a neat, half-inch hole in her neck just above the collarbone but a full three-inch explosion on the other side. Tiny shards of bone fragments, flesh clumps, and muscle tissue splattered on the wall and bedspread, now dry and crusty. He wonders how the room will smell.
Thir-teen…four-teen…fif-teen— He skips up the cement stairs and grasps the paper grocery bag filled with cleaning products a bit tighter. At step twelve he wonders again if the bullet had become lodged in the east wall of the bedroom. From step six to step eleven he traverses the cement river of the walkway from the driveway to the base of the staircase. He inhales deeply and rolls his shoulders straight. He remembers his mother and avoids the cracks in the sidewalk. She would have been 71 this year.
Five: Did he fax the loan agreement to the new client with the long, sandy hair and the pink high-heeled shoes? Four: Did the bullet become lodged in the east wall of the bedroom? Three: What will I do without Lilly? What will I do without Lilly? What will I do without Lilly? Two: He slams closed the door of the Buick and slides the fingers of his right hand along the maroon hood as he walks. It is smooth and warm, comforting. He feels a tingle in his genitals.
One: He thinks he will have chicken and rice for dinner.