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And Another Thing by L Mari Harris

My sister Tara says, “Tell me everything you know.” I do her one better and tell her to grab her keys.

We park at the far edge of the lot where the workers park. Tara rolls her windows down, and we light cigarettes from the pack Tara keeps hidden in her glove compartment. Evening shoppers are walking in and out of the mall, and the standalone restaurants surrounding the parking lot shimmer under the light poles.

We’re finishing our second cigarettes when Tara leans forward, her mouth open. I already know what she’s seeing, so I continue to sit there, cool as a cucumber.

My husband Rick and our neighbor Diane walk out of P.F. Chang’s. They’re walking so close to each other I can’t see the lights shining between their bodies. Their cars are parked next to each other. Rick holds Diane tightly against him, and even though I’ve now watched this a dozen times over the last few weeks, I gag and clutch my stomach.

After Rick backs out and drives off, Tara and I watch Diane in her car, where we can see the glow of her phone. My phone lights up. It’s a text from Diane—running late but on my way!!!—all rah rah exclamation points like the high school cheerleader she once was.

Tara says, “Jesuuuuus Christ. I mean, P.F. Chang’s? Rick? Diane? How long has this shit been going on? P. Fucking Chang’s?”

I love her indignance over their choice of chain restaurant as much as over the cheating.

Tara asks me what I’m going to do.

I tell her I’ll go home and just happen to pull into the driveway the same time Diane pulls up in front of the house. I’ll tell Diane how much I’ve been looking forward to us getting together as we walk into the house, will ask her how Andy’s doing and add that we don’t see nearly enough of him around here these days.

Diane will say Andy’s been working long hours, that they’re trying to ramp up their retirement savings now that the kids are gone, that she understands why Andy’s working so much, but still.

I’ll pour us glasses of wine and will say Oh, me too, me too, I feel like Rick’s never around anymore.

Diane will say how much she misses the noise and the mess from when the kids were still at home, will say how quiet the house is now, how very quiet her life is now.

I will say Oh, me too, me too, will chuckle as I tell her how I find myself brushing up against the person in front of me at the checkout counter just to feel something solid and warm.

Diane will say she and Andy never take weekend trips anymore, that every time she tries to suggest a place he’s always wanted to visit he’ll change the subject, will say his workload is too heavy, will say he doesn't think they should be spending so frivolously right now.

Diane will say I thought we’d be enjoying this time in our lives, and yet.

I will say Oh, me too, me too, I know relationships ebb and flow, but. I know how lucky we are to have these lives we’re complaining about, but.

Diane will nod, will hold out her glass for just a little more wine.

We will see headlights sweep through the house as Rick turns into the driveway.

He will walk into the kitchen, and I will press my lips to his, will flick my tongue along his bottom lip, will taste a hint of vanilla lip balm, will see his eyes catch hers as I straighten his collar and smooth his hair.

I will say what a wonderful surprise it is to see him home so early, how I thought I’d be alone again, how I asked Diane to keep me company, how we were counting all the ways our hardworking husbands take such great care of us, so many ways, too many to count—Isn’t that right, Diane? There are just too many to count!

Rick will say But I told you I’d be home by nine. And I will say Did you? I don’t remember. And I will say And another thing I just thought of—

And I will wait for all the air to leave the room.


L Mari Harris’s stories have been chosen for the Wigleaf Top 50 and Best Microfictions. She lives in the Ozarks. Follow her @LMariHarris and read more of her work at


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