What do Yellow Ducks and Love Affairs Have in Common? Turns Out, Nothing

Submitted into Contest #193 in response to: Write a story containing the words “it’s the thought that counts.”... view prompt


Fiction Romance Suspense

Today I parked farther down the street. Yesterday I was one house up and it was impossible to see past the large tree in his neighbors yard. After the car was in park I was committed, moving closer would make me look odd, suspicious even. People are naturally nosy. It’s as though minding one's own business is merely an afterthought in today's world. Just like clockwork the light blue curtains with little yellow ducks slide out of view. I always see her first. In the way. It’s quite disgusting. She darts back and forth, making breakfast I’m sure like a good little housewife. Always looking busy. I feel sorry for him. Living a lie every day. Pretending to be happy when deep down I know he is miserable. 

Then there is beauty. His figure is barely in view but I know his body. Every line, every move he makes is intentional, just for me. His silhouette standing there, slowly bringing the coffee cup to his lips. Perfection. Soft pink on the horizon tells me what I hate and love at the same time. He will be leaving her soon. That, I love. I will have him to myself. I love this more. What I hate is knowing he will return. Back to the little yellow ducks and blue curtains. The red door with the wreath that spells out their last name. The woman who pretends to be what he needs and the walls that keep him prisoner from me. 

5:30 AM Beads of sweat appear on my hands where they grip the steering wheel.  As the front door opens my heart beats faster. My breath leaves a little circle against the window as I draw closer. He chose the blue tie today. I feel my cheeks flush. I knew he would. I told him he looks great in everything but blue reflects his eyes. As his car moves in reverse I set mine to drive. Here is where we part ways, for now. 

Fumbling to fit the key in the lock I know I am rushing. He isn’t due to be on until 7:00 but I like to be ready. He deserves perfection. I choose the liquid liner and smokey gray shadow. Pressing my lips together, I taste strawberry gloss as it seeps into my mouth.

He loves strawberry.  

My dress still has a few creases and I hate myself for not ironing it earlier. Black silk is hard to maintain but he’s worth it. I know I need to do better next time. 

6:57 AM I feel my pulse quicken. Finally, it’s time. 

“Good morning friends and family. Thank you for tuning in and starting your day with us here at KTMA Channel 11.”

His smile lights up the screen. His voice soothes my soul. It washes through my veins like dark red wine. My love, my life. 

“I am so happy you’re here with us. Get comfortable and get ready because we have a lot to share with you today”

I am ready my love. I see his eyes twinkle.

Our conversation only lasts an hour each day. The hour I live for. 

When our time has run out I fight against my own thoughts.

I remember the first time he told me he loved me. Of course our messages must be discreet. His intelligence far exceeds anyone I have known before. He speaks to me in a way only I will understand. 

His eyes were staring directly into mine that morning.

“I love having you with us each day and sharing our mornings together”

The best day of my life. I responded a little more boldly. My heart poured onto a piece of paper. 

My beautiful soulmate. 

I love you too. I know you must hate yourself for not telling me how you feel until now. Please don’t. I know your heart and I will wait for our perfect timing. Until then, I can only count the minutes until I see you again.

Yours forever,

The letter was left hours before the blue curtains opened. 

She checked the mail that morning. I was there, waiting, watching. 

I could barely contain my rage when she stopped and opened it right there in the driveway. How dare she? What was she thinking opening an envelope clearly addressed to him? 

I wanted to put the car in drive,  push the accelerator and watch the terror in her eyes as I closed in. 

But then I felt amusement. Delight even. After all, she should know how we feel about each other. The poor thing must have felt so stupid after finding out the truth. 

I felt no guilt, not once. My intentions have always been pure, all for him, all for us. 

Our love affair started only six months ago, a lifetime for me. When I saw him that morning I knew he was mine. I spoke to him as though he were sitting there on the couch next to me. 

“I know we are meant to be together” I whispered. 

His gaze met mine

“I can’t wait to see you again tomorrow morning” 

Then I knew. We were soulmates. 

It wasn’t hard to find his address. Obviously he couldn’t just tell me. A week later I was spending the morning with him, just feet from the red wreath and yellow ducks while he drank his coffee. And every morning since. He made his mornings routine for me, down to the minute, I loved him for that. 

After our meetings each day I worked diligently to better myself for him. Making notes, cleaning the home we would someday be sharing, maintaining my figure. The things a real wife takes seriously. 

Now here we are, together still. Me with my liquid liner and him with his blue tie, a love like no other. I slipped the black silk dress over my head and hung it up carefully. I had to be more intentional tomorrow. Think ahead. Wrinkles and creases would not happen again. Some might say, it’s the thought that counts,  but that isn’t good enough, not for him.

5:00 AM The alarm seeps into my dreams. As I open my eyes and breathe in deep, he fills my lungs. My reason for living. Pulling an over-sized T-shirt over my body I spray myself with perfume. A combination of sexy and laid back. He gets to see every side of me.

I park a little closer this time. It annoys me to worry about what others think. I only care to protect him, because I love him so much. His image is more important than mine. Lined up directly across from the window today I wait for the ducks to disappear. Finally, they do. But this time I don’t see her rushing about the kitchen. Light illuminates the room and I see her standing there, her back to the window. 

Then he is there. I feel calm wash over my body. He moves toward the window, across from her. They are facing each other. 

Are they arguing? Is he angry? What has she done to him?

I swear to myself. He has worked so hard to keep his flawless reputation despite his feelings for me. If she has done something to hurt him I’m not sure I could restrain myself. 

He moves even closer to her. I contemplate getting out of the car, walking to the red wreath and trying the handle. 

What relief he would have at seeing me walk through the door. Or would he resent me for interfering? No, I won’t do that. He is a man who knows what he wants and knows how to handle himself. 

But then he wraps his hand around her head, his fingers are tangled in her hair. 

Their lips are pressed together. 

“NO!” My fist slams across the glass.

“NO!” I can’t stop my head from spinning, my lungs from screaming. 

This can’t be real. He doesn’t love her, he loves me!

He’s lying to her. There has to be a reason for this. 

The car is in drive now. Tears stream down my face. 

I let the apartment door slam shut, rattling the pictures on the wall. Pacing back and forth, I had to make sense of this. There is only one logical explanation, he is trying to keep her happy. But why? 

My feet stop dead. 

Of course, how could I be such an idiot? It’s about the money. He has worked so hard for the life he’s built, his success is well earned. If she leaves him, she’ll take his money with her. He will have nothing left for us. 

How could I have doubted his character? His intentions are always in my best interest, I know that. 

He is always thinking of me. 

The spinning in my head slows as I realize how foolish I have been. 

6:45 AM I realize I am not ready for him. I have to pull myself together. He needs a woman who can control her emotions. I choose to wear a pink and white sundress for our date today. The morning has been difficult and serious enough for him, he depends on me to calm him down, lighten the mood. After all, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to convince a woman you are in love with her only to protect the woman you desire most.

His face lights up the screen. 

“Good Morning friends and family. Thank you for tuning in and starting your day with us here at KTMA Channel 11. I have some really exciting news to share with you all in a few minutes! But first, let’s take a look at the weather outside.”

What did he say?

I clutch my chest in an effort to stabilize the rhythm.

Exciting news? 

This is it. He can’t take it anymore. I knew my patience would be rewarded. I have waited so long for him to finally take this step. This morning was just too much for him, he can’t keep living the lie. He is too good of a man to lead her on any longer. 

Now he is back and I can’t breathe. 

“Well as promised, I have some very exciting news to share with our Channel 11 friends and family. My beautiful wife and I are expecting…twins!” 

I am choking, sucking in air but no breath is coming out. Pleading with my lungs to fill and expel but they refuse. 

I see only black.

2:15 AM The little blue ducks are fast asleep pressed tightly against the window pane. I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here in the dark, minutes or hours even. Nothing feels real anymore. Opening the car door feels like I’m stepping foot onto a cloud. I am light as air. For so many months I have been trapped behind the glass watching him love me the best he could. But I can’t let this go on any longer. 

He needs me now more than ever. 

She has brainwashed him so deeply he can’t find the way out. I have sat patiently waiting, hoping he would break free of her control but it's over now. 

She won. He will never be free of her because of what she’s done. 

I must free them both, from each other. 

Now I’m staring directly into the light blue curtains. Only darkness inside. 

I feel a tear slide down my cheek

“My love, I am so sorry she has done this to you. I know what you need me to do and I promise I will carry out your wish. You are mine forever.”

I look down at the empty containers brushing against my bare feet. No fancy heels, no black silk, not this time. The match struggles to stay lit through the breeze so I bend down quickly to protect it. I only stay for a moment longer to ensure the small flame finds its place. Once the light trails up towards the window my job is complete. 

The grass is damp and tickles my toes as I head back to the car. Safe behind the glass I press my hand against the window. A strange combination of burning light and cold window pane against my palm. 

I watch as the flames seep into the kitchen. Little yellow ducks withering away. We did it my love. You will never be a prisoner in your home again. I will love you forever.

April 13, 2023 03:26

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Mary Bendickson
21:18 Apr 20, 2023

Someone is delusional.


Bobbi Brown
17:03 Apr 21, 2023

YES! hahaha


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