(Writer’s note: This isn’t the finished piece of my Portfolio 3 for my Creative Writing class, but this is definitely my favorite version of my main story. This version is rather raw and unedited so please excuse the couple mistakes and awkwardness.)
Michael slid the paring knife from the wooden block on the counter and looked at the blade. Sharp and metallic. It would do just fine. On the cutting board laid several oversized strawberries recently rinsed under cool water. The red bled into the wood of the board. He picked up one, inspected it and nodded. Placing it back on the board, Michael placed the edge of the knife gently on the skin of the fruit. With a flick, the knife slid through the flesh of the berry like butter. The top leaves popped off and fell into the sink. After he had cut the tops off all of the strawberries, he tossed them into a food processor for quick spin.
It was a simple process he went through on each anniversary. Cleaning the fruit was always his favorite part to the whole thing. Washing the impurities off of something so beautiful and delicious. What’s more satisfying than that? With the strawberry puree covered and fridged, Michael stirred some angel hair pasta into some boiling water. Alfredo sauce simmered in a pot on the opposite oven element. It tasted spicy with a hint Cajun seasoning, red bell peppers and bacon pieces. It was a masterpiece of a sauce he had perfected over his years of taste testing and trials. As a chef for nineteen years at a little place called Une Petit Bol, one tended to learn the ins and outs of good cooking.
The celebration honored his wife, Marianne. They had been married for four years. It had been a good four years too. Starting out with a honeymoon in Paris that took them all the way to Greece and back to the United States. It was a beautiful trip full of good things. Good food. Good smells. Good sex.
Michael hesitated for a moment, spoon in hand. Good sex. It had been good sex. He thought back to the time when he and Marianne sneaked from the hotel suite they were honeymooning in to the lapping waves just below their window. There, they made love for the first real time. Unburdened, unbound, free love. Under the moon and the stars they were alone with no one to bother them. But now…
She had been a sweet girl when he loved her. Her long blond hair seemed to give her a look that took him back to her youth. Rarely brushed to perfection, her curls swirled over her shoulders effortlessly. They were golden like ambrosia. Her blue eyes matched her hair’s flawlessness. Deep crystal blue eyes stared back at him when ever he looked at her longingly. It was the lips though that really got him. They blossomed like roses in a winter storm. Plump, gorgeous lips. If you gazed downward you could tell she took care of her skin. She had an porcelain complexion that claimed no blemish. The very touch of her skin would send goosebumps up his spine and spin every thought from his head. If her fingers touched his, the whole day would disappear.
Michael began to stir the sauce again and snapped himself back to reality. That way of viewing her was over with. He longed to be ignorant. It was bliss, wasn’t it? He longed to have not smelled the odor on the back of her neck one morning. The scent of another man. Some cheap cologne that he would have never bought himself. Thirty- three days. It had been thirty- three days since he first smelt that scent on her. There had been other clues though. Earlier mornings to worker, later nights away from home that there were no reasons for. There wasn’t more work to be finished. She was a bad liar and he could taste it every time she kissed him in the last thirty three days.
There seemed to be nothing wrong with their relationship. Things had settled into a nice routine. Wake, work, home, eat, sleep. Michael stepped back from the stove and thought. Maybe it was the routine? Was she bored? Boredom doesn’t merit whoreishness though.
Michael grimaced at the thought. Tonight’s dinner would make up for all of her secret misgivings. And as if thinking of her lured her home, the door opened and Marianne walked through in red heels. She had on a maroon dress that showed her curves and a black headband that pulled her hair away from her face. She closed the door behind her and smiled over at Michael.
“Hey, honey.” Her heels clicked as she crossed the kitchen tile to him. She gently kissed him on the cheek. He could smell it. Again. It was different this time. More… more musky and strong. He gripped the edge of the counter to repress any reaction. How was he going to bring this up to her? He liked that she was happy but hated her for it at the same time. He liked that she was a sexual dynamo, but it felt dirty at the same time. Knowing that other men were putting their paws on her disturbed him.
“Hey.” He touched the back of her arm when she leaned in for the kiss.
“What cha cooking?” She whiffed the air and smiled at the familiar scent.
“Cajun Alfredo pasta with red peppers. And strawberry sorbet for dessert.”
“Mmm, that sounds delicious!” Marianne said as she sifted through the pile of mail she had carried in with her.
Michael stared at her for a moment. How should he do it? Her lips… as they moved they seemed like slugs crawling across a stone floor, leaving a trail of disgusting slime of lies behind when ever she spoke.
“How was your day?” Michael removed the sauce from the heat and placed it on a cool element. He could burn her. Just toss the sauce right on her see what happens? But that might not kill her and he’d have to deal with her being sad again. No. That won’t work.
“It was good!” She got up and tossed some of the junk mail in the trashcan. “I met my new boss today.” And by met she meant hand job.
“What happened to your old boss?” As he spoke, Michael leaned over and grabbed a bottle of wine from the top of the refrigerator. Using the corkscrew, he popped he cork out and poured two glasses. Holding the bottle, he imagined what it would look like crashing over her head. Would it break? Or just donk her on the skull? That would be unsatisfying…
“Oh, he quit. Some internal affair or something.” She graciously took the large glass of wine and took a sip. She didn’t even smell it. No swirling. Jesus Christ. How was he even attracted to her in the first place? She used to stop to smell the roses.
“How was your day?” She looked up at him as he moved around the kitchen.
“It was okay.” He tasted the sauce. Mmm. Perfection. “I hired a new chef. He’s pretty good.” He reached out, testing the water. “You’d like him.”
“Really?” She quirked a brow, hearing the underlying beckoning in his voice.
“Yeah! He makes these signature chocolate truffles.” He watched the furrow in her brow soften. Phew. She hadn’t been caught. Right…
“Oh yummm.” She stood up from the table and flipped off her left heel. It landed under the dinner table. That could be useful. Heel to the jugular. Nahh. That won’t work either. Too much of a mess. She took off her other shoe and tossed it under the table next to the other.
The knife. He eyed it on the counter, still dripping with strawberry juice and seeds.
“Dinner’s ready.” He lured her over with the promise of food. She came, predictably. With one step, he blocked her from the stove and embraced her.
“I want to let you know…” She hugged him back genuinely. “that I know what you’ve been doing.” She stiffened in his grip. He held a bit tighter. “You’ve been going around behind my back.” She tried to pull away but he kept her close in a hug so she couldn’t see his face. “You’ve been fucking other men. At least two that I know of.” He smelled her neck like an animal. “And this is a new one.” His inhale left cold condensation on the nape of her neck.
“Michael.” She put both of her hands on his chest in order to push away, but he backed her up against the counter. He centered his strength in his hips so he could hold her still and grab the knife from the cutting board.
“It’s been thirty- three days.” He pressed the edge of the blade against her skin.
“Michael, oh my god.” She now knew her situation was dire. “Stop it Michael!” She struggled against him, like an antelope in a lion’s grasp. “I’m sorry.” She began to cry. “I’m so sorry.”
“No, you’re not.” He pressed the blade into her skin. She screamed. He felt her warm sticky blood run over his hand. It was satisfying. To feel her lies stream over his hand down the back of her red dress.
“Yes I am!” She struggled more, driving the knife deeper in between her ribs. Tears rolled down her cheeks. She gasped for air and began to cough.
“That’s your lung collapsing.” He sneered and pulled the knife from her back, tossing it loudly in the sink. He stepped back, releasing her from his grip and watched her slide down the cabinets. Her chest heaved and she had no breath to speak.
Michael knelt down close to her and lifted her chin as she slowly drowned, internally on her own blood. “You did this to yourself.” She gripped at his knee weakly and begged with her eyes. “You should have just told me you weren’t happy.” He brushed her hand off his leg. It hit the floor floppingly.
Michael stood, and stepped over her pooling blood, making sure not to track it all over the kitchen floor. He strained the angel hair, smothered a plate with Alfredo and mixed the noodles effortlessly. He took his plate and glass of wine over to the dinner table and sat down at the head of the table. While taking the first bite, he looked over at Marianne slumped against the cabinets. He watched her lose consciousness. He took another bite and sipped the expensive wine.
“No second chances.” Michael wiped his mouth with a cloth napkin.