The Years, a short story

“How do I look?” Millie asked, preening in front of the full-length mirror. She was wearing the new dress she’d bought today just for this occasion.

“You look fine.” Shane answered as he glanced at his watch.

“You don’t think this color makes me look washed out?”

He lit a cigarette. “We’re going to be late.”

She grabbed her purse. “You don’t give two shits about me.” Brushing past him, Millie shot her husband eye daggers on her way out of the bedroom.

“Why do you always do that?” Shane stormed after her. “Wait till we’re supposed to be somewhere to start an argument?”

Millie spun around and got in his face. “Start an argument?! I asked a simple question and that’s starting an argument?” She rushed out the front door, her husband on her heels. He grabbed her shoulder. “Don’t touch me.” she seethed.

“Millie, what is wrong with you?” He instantly removed his hand from his wife, followed her to the car and opened the passenger door for her. “I told you that you look fine.”

Tears threatened as she got in. “Just forget about it.”

Women, he thought, as he drove his wife of 25 years across town to their high school reunion. He’d made a few more stabs at talking to her, but she preferred sitting there like a bloated bullfrog, pouting. He didn’t understand what she expected of him. He knew she felt old, but she still looked good. And that new dress looked sexy as hell on her. She looked great in that color, the color of lust, the color of the heat Shane still felt for his wife.

As they parked at Milford High School –where their son Justin was a junior, where Shane was once a football star and Millie the head cheerleader–she turned to her him. “I’m sorry. I’m just kind of bummed. I’ve been so excited all day. I don’t know what came over me.”

“Did I tell you how beautiful you look tonight?” He asked, smiling, reaching over and kissing her on the cheek.

“Don’t lie.”

“I’m not lying. You look hot.”

“No I don’t.” Millie slapped her husband on the arm, but she grinned.

“Oh yes you do.” He smiled and slid his hand up her dress.