For any of you following my short story Greener Grass, here is another installment. This is a work in progress. I'm open to any suggestions you'd like to make. Especially if they are presented in a kind and constructive way. The beginning of the story can be found over in the right sidebar under I Like to Write.
Dave was due home in an hour.
The kids had been tucked conveniently into bed. Swedish meatballs simmered on the stove. The house looked relatively picked up.
Tamara paced from the living room to the kitchen and back again. Every third time she would stop at the large window overlooking their backyard, dim in the twilit evening.
Where their lawn butted up against Craig's, she could see a distinct demarcation. Bright, shimmering turf against Tamara and Dave's brownish tufts.
Craig's sprinkler tick, tick, ticked in circles. Across the way, she could see into Angel's yard. There were no sprinklers there. No potted flowers. No faded plastic toys upended or wading pools half filled with water and leaves.
God, Tamara thought. God, for just one day.
But that wasn't possible. You couldn't Freaky Friday someone and pop into their life for 24 hours. As much as you might will it to be true.
Perhaps in a parallel universe. Tamara thought a lot about parallel universes (probably because of Dave's job) and wondered what her alter ego was up to.
She was pretty sure one of her lived in Manhattan or San Francisco, that she edited books or sold high end real estate. That she lived in a tall building prohibiting pets and children, and that didn't have so much as a balcony to contend with.
The key rattled in the door and Tamara jumped. She ran, inexplicably, to the meatballs and gave them a stir. She checked her reflection in the stainless steel toaster, smoothed a hand over her still poochy stomach and glided into the foyer.
"Hey," she said, opening her arms for a hug.
Dave stepped into her embrace, gave her a quick squeeze and pulled away. He snatched the mail from the entry way table and dropped onto the couch, began flipping through bills and grocery store flyers. "Smells good in here," he mumbled.
"Meatballs!" Tamara said brightly. Then she blanched. What was she? Some man-pleasing housewife who planned all day what to make for dinner? Who twisted her kids' schedules to include too much exercise and no naps so they'd collapse at night, affording a quiet house for Dave? Who ran to Bath and Body Works during her one free hour so she could buy some sort of lotion that would smell good and make her face look radiant?
All that was missing were the pearls and heels.
"Fuck this," she said, looking around, hands on her hips.
"Huh?" Dave mumbled, ripping open their property tax bill.
"Fuck. This." Tamara went into their bedroom (the quilt neatly pleated at the corners, the dressers tidied and the adjoining bathroom smelling of lime). She glanced around wildly. She should've been thinking, Suitcase, suitcase, suitcase. But instead, all that came to mind was that she wanted the picture of her mother in the distressed, white painted frame and the brown sugar and fig candle she'd just bought at Bath and Body Works.
She grabbed both things and strode toward the front door. Over her shoulder, she called out, "There's yogurt and granola for the kids' breakfasts!"