by Dan Powell
One day, though not a suspicious person by nature, Claudine decided to spy upon her husband. He had been coming home late more often than not in recent weeks and had been less than attentive for a good deal longer. Though she tried to dismiss the former as simply the outward effect of increasing pressure at work in a difficult economic climate and the latter as nothing more sinister than the natural cooling of their relationship into something harder and more lasting in readiness to weather their final years together, she couldn't shake her deepest fears free from her thoughts.
Unable to confront him she hid in his office as a vase of daffodils, perching unobtrusively on the window sill early one morning. She watched his work day marveling at the tedium of it as he shuffled his way through files and interminable phone conversations with someone called Derek. He disappeared at lunchtime and she turned her trumpeted, petaled heads to the window and watched the clouds. She thought of their life together, up till now an uncomplicated, some might say dull history, unfettered by children or commitments beyond those they had sworn to each other long ago; in short a simple, pretty, quiet little life.
The office door opening and a hushed voice shook her from her reverie.
'But you will tell her, won't you. Soon.'
And Claudine watched unable to move as her husband closed the door behind himself and his secretary, a woman Claudine had met many times before, watched him take her face in his hands and kiss her in a way Claudine could only barely remember being kissed.
'I will,' she heard him say, 'I promise.'
And with those words, unable to distinguish between the betrayal, the blatant cliche of the situation, and the heat from the midday sun blazing at her back, Claudine wilted.
APRIL FOOLS!!!!! The fabulous story you read appears here as part of the Great April Fool's Day Friday Flash Blog Swap(GAFDFFBS) organized by the exuberant Tony Noland. Dan Powell, a marvelous writer based in Germany, created A DELICATE FLOWER. You can find my story Divine Wind -- and more of his fiction -- at his website Dan Powell - Fiction. We both wrote based on the prompt: wilted flowers.
To read all the dozens of stories swapped around as part of the #GAFDBBS, check out the index at Tony's blog Landless. For more fantastic flash, check out #fridayflash on twitter. We flash every Friday.
Happy Day o' Fools, and peace...