After eleven and a half years, he realizes he hates his wife. He isn’t sleeping well, and his hairline is receding. He wants a convertible. His wife snores and farts in her sleep. To make matters worse, she wants a baby. Maybe he should have an affair with some Brittany Spears look-alike—not as she is now, but some girl, er, young woman in pigtails and dressed up in a school uniform licking a lollipop, about twenty years old.
He wakes in the middle the night to find a stranger standing by his wife. He can neither speak nor move.
Stop! His mind screamed. Get away from her. No, do what you want to her, but let me go. Her biological clock is ticking, but I can still reproduce. You owe it to the human race to spare me.
A true knight in shining armor.
This is not the stranger’s last visit, and his attention to our (*cough*) hero’s wife grows all the more intimate.
Having once been twenty years old, I can say with some degree of confidence that not many twenty-year-olds go around in school uniforms, pigtails, and licking lollipops just waiting for married older guys to stop by and have affairs with them. Forming relationships with twenty-year-olds is not like going to the store to pick up a quart of milk and a loaf of bread. Twenty-year-old women are what you might call human beings.
I suspect the author knows this and is showing how ludicrous the idea is without saying the words. Good for her.
Another interesting device is the nocturnal visits from the stranger. Is he real? He comes and goes. The author doesn’t offer an explicit answer. Again, good for her. Other elements of the story become more important.
I would like to have seen more of what the wife felt about her husband’s actions. She couldn’t have known about his fantasies, but she must have felt his coldness. At one point, she shows him the results of a pregnancy test. His response is, “Don’t put that in my face. You peed on it.” She simply puts the test in her bathrobe pocket. Wouldn’t such a reaction to news of his impending fatherhood hurt or upset most women? (I think at this point, I might have said something like, “Don’t like pee in your face, dear? Better hope it’s not a boy.”)
Just the same, the ending is logical. I enjoyed this little tale.
According to her blurb, author Holley Cornetto is a librarian originally from Alabama but now living in New Jersey.
The story can be read here.
Title: “Night Visions”
Author: Holley Cornetto
First published: Theme of Absence, August 21, 2020