(I’ve got nothing today, folks. Enjoy this piece of flash fiction from a while back.)
She would have liked that painting, he thought, as he passed the gallery on his way to the store. The cherry blossoms. I should see how much they want for it. Wait, no, he shouldn’t. She was gone; he needed to start acting like she wasn’t coming back. She wasn’t.
He strolled through the park, not rushing, even in the rain. She wouldn’t have done that; she didn’t like getting caught in the rain. He didn’t mind it.
He went to the store, and got the milk and newspaper he’d come for. Then he grabbed a protein bar on his way to the checkout. She would’ve given him a sly little look out of the corner of her eye.
At home, he let the dog out to the garden, and sat in her chair, overlooking the balcony. The picnic table was getting wet. The dog was getting wet; but the dog didn’t care. So neither did he. There was no big deal about having to towel dry a lovable mutt.
She wouldn’t have liked the dog sleeping on the bed. He didn’t mind. The dog certainly preferred it.
He decided to call the gallery and see what else they had for sale. The young Japanese student intern told him, polite and professional, as always.
Then, surprisingly, she said, “I was so sorry to hear about your wife, sir.”
“Thank you,” he said, with a sense of relief, and warmth. The young woman’s condolences wrapped him in an invisible blanket of serenity and caring. She would have appreciated the compassion, the release it gave him. He didn’t have to get sad, or mad about it. People saying they were sorry was important, not weakening, or damaging to him.
Then he said, “Can I come down and take a look at the newest Shuli Wang?”