“Excited about your day-off, babe?”
“Yeap, work’s been crazy since our wedding last month.”
“I know you work hard, babe. Let’s keep going until we can retire early together. It’s a blessing how I found someone with identical life-goals.”
Joanne nodded meekly at Josh while sipping her lukewarm instant coffee. It tasted like steeped cigarette but she really didn’t want to respond.
“So, Rocky Point Park, right? Sorry babe I can’t go– got a meeting.”
“No worries. Yep, my go-to place since high school.”
As Joanne pulled out of their West-End townhouse, Josh waved his hand and blew a kiss. She looked at her husband, their practically rent-free abode thanks to the in-laws, and her face reflected on the rear-view mirror. She smiled bitterly, cursing under her breath, “DINK lifestyle? F*** it.”
Instead of the Rocky Point, Joanne drove until she reached a dingy mart in Coquitlam Square. She rummaged through its dusty isles but came out empty-handed. She then drove to a small store in Pitt Meadows—no luck there either. At last, a tiny shop in Maple Ridge had what she wanted: a box of almost-expired condoms.
“Do you want your receipt?”
“Nope! Thanks.” On the way home Joanne stopped by the Rocky Point to grab Pajo’s fish and chips, Josh’s favorite. The dense smell of fried food soon filled up the car and Joanne got hungry. She skipped her lunch and couldn’t wait to get home. Everything was flowing according to her plan: It will be a nice evening—no need to cook or clean; Maybe she will have sex; Maybe she will soon be pregnant. But what Joanne didn’t know was that Josh had secretly installed a tracking app on the night of their wedding day.
This short story by Christine is posted in submission for the ESA’s 2022 Short Story Competition.