“Pass me the milk and sugar Alan.” Susan’s jowls continued to wobble.
Alan paused and peered at the creature he had once called wife, scrutinising every unsightly feature hewn into her ungodly visage. The abundance of whiskers, coarse as pubic hair, clustered around the precipice of her largest chin. The spots and blemishes, tobacco, teak and scum coloured, some light as urine droplets, others as dark as tar, splashed across the considerable span of her countenance in profusion. Wrinkles and creases, of ample size as to work a coin or finger into the flaky-skin crevasse, were of such quantity and of such severity they seemingly defined all of her face.
Even her once beautiful eyes had not been spared a tarnishing into hideousness. How they had enchanted in her prime, a shade of colour, part pale, part lurid, depending upon how the light captured them, how they so decided to reflect the light. A mere widening could make them sensual, serious, playful, mock patronising, reassuring and above all else, radiate a look of earnest, singular love and adoration for Alan.
But that time had faded and the vivacity had shrunken and died, left to wither as a worm on the pavement. The callous sands of time had reduced her orbs to bulbous fatty deposits, the iris of each had morphed into an offensive drabness, the colour of defeat, of resignation.
Alan was eternally grateful that those eyes that had once sparkled, had crackled with a tangible kinetic energy akin to standing near a power generator, had long since lost interest in holding his for long.
It’s all my fault.
The thought sober and staggering, unprompted but as cataclysmic as a bomb-blast, brought his reality back, ceasing his daydreaming, it steeled his resolve into rarely chartered, but crystal-clear waters of blame acceptance. Alan had never been a handsome man, in any sense of the word, having taken Susan as a bride not through out of any puerile notions of love, but of fiscal gain. She had been wealthy, in every sense of the word, and he loathed her bitterly for it. Alan assiduously devoted his days to taking the one beautiful fixture of his life, and transforming it into something physically repulsive.
Susan’s gaze swept up to his, an unwelcome intrusion into his crippling bout of guilt. He had been mistaken, her eyes had not lost that sharpness, a suggestion of a sagacious mind, of a critical mind, one that is self-aware yet accepts oneself in a world of clueless fools. The knowledge that shone from her eyes was unbearable, sun-light blinding.
She won, all this time, she won.
“Did you hear what I said?” Susan demanded, tone curt and confident, accompanied with the curl of an assured smile. “Are you deaf?”
Meek as a kicked cur Alan nodded and fumbled for the milk and sugar. He had not ruined something beautiful, merely created something baleful.
published 1 June 2016