She Imagined Her Happy Place

Carrie heard the garage door lifting. That meant her husband was home from work. A great fear hugged her as she forgot to have dinner ready by the time he came home. She got sidetracked by watching ridiculous women try to find a date on Dr. Phil. 

She rushed to the kitchen and grabbed a big pot from the lower cabinet and filled it with water. 

She turned the front right eye on the stove to the highest temperature and set the pot on. She opened the pantry scooting various cans out the way to find a box of spaghetti noodles. 

It took some time but she finally found the noodle box, tore it open, and grabbed a handful and threw them in the pot as she wondered why her husband hasn’t walked in the house yet.

She looked out the kitchen window and saw Jim walking back from the mailbox with two envelopes in his hand.

Carrie ran back to the pantry and grabbed the pink apron that Jim demanded she wear while cooking. She grabbed two plates and set them on the table. 

“Good evening, honey,” Jim said as he sat his worn and torn briefcase on the floor and threw the mail on the kitchen table.

“Hey babe, how was work?” Carrie asked as she rushed to the cabinet with the silverware to place on the table. Jim walked to the stove and Carrie tensed.

“What the hell is this?”

Carrie ignored Jim’s rude question and rushed to set the silverware on the table. Jim grabbed her arm as she walked back in the kitchen.

“What is this?” Jim asked pointing his finger at the stove.

“Its dinner,” Carrie said contemplating the noodles just starting to boil.

“Why is dinner in a pot and not on the table?”

“I’m sorry we were out of noodles so I had to run to the store and buy some more.” She lied.

“Are you lying to me.”

“Of course not.”

“You are lying. I could have thought that we bought more spaghetti the last time we went grocery shopping a week ago.”

“If we did then I wouldn’t have gone to the store.” Carrie immediately regretted her sarcastic response, but she also felt proud that it even came out her mouth.

“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid!” Jim slapped Carrie. It sounded like one of those poppers to throw on the ground to make a popping noise.

Carrie stumbled and fell over the kitchen counter. Jim grabbed her by the hair. “I don’t want to have to tell you to have dinner ready ever again. Do you understand me?”

Carrie nodded. Every movement of her head hurt. 

“I work hard everyday to put a roof over your ungrateful head and clothes on your pathetic back and this is how you thank me? Now get your ass over to that stove and have my dinner finished when I get out the shower. I want to smell the Ragu sauce when I step out the bathroom. Do you understand me?”

Carrie heard him but wasn’t listening. Whenever Jim beat on her and yelled all she would do is day dream about her happy place. A tropical island with baby blue water.

Jim shoved Carrie’s head away from his grip and went upstairs.

Carrie grabbed the tongs and stirred the noodles. Jim usually took twelve minutes to shower. She still had to cook the meat. She tried her hardest to get things done with a headache and broken spirit.

Soon she stopped hearing the water run upstairs. The meat was only halfway cooked. She knew what would come once Jim came down stairs and didn’t see his dinner and a beer on the table.

Suddenly, Carrie thought about the rat poison they bought last week when Jim saw a mouse scurrying in the garage. She rushed to the garage to look for it trying to remember where they put it. 

It was still in the bag from the store they bought it from because Jim expected Carrie to handle the mouse problem. She placed the bottle in her apron pocket. 

The meat could use a couple more minutes but it was medium well and that was good enough. She made Jim’s plate and poured the poison on his plate. She mixed it up real good and hoped that she didn’t pour so much that he would smell or taste it.

Thankfully, Jim took a while to get dressed and Carrie had enough time to have everything ready for the dinner table.

Jim sat at the dinner table. “You know Carrie, I just want to say I’m sorry for hitting you. I’m sorry for everything I done to you in the past year and I think it’s best that I go to counseling.”

The fuck? Carrie thought. “Did you just say something?”

“Did I what?”

“Oh nothing.”

Carrie imagined Jim saying that apology. Her conscious actually wanted an excuse to stop Jim from eating his dinner. After all these years of abuse she still hoped to have a reason to save her husband. 

Jim took his first bite. He chewed then his chewing slowed like he tasted something off. Carrie’s heart raced. “Can you grab me the salt and pepper?”

Carrie stared blankly at him. 

Jim snapped his fingers. “Hello?”

“Yes. Yes. One moment.” She grabbed the salt and pepper from the cabinet then watched Jim sprinkle it over his spaghetti. He took more bites.

As Carrie watched Jim swallow his death away, the image of her happy place came to mind. And for the first time that imagination started to feel like it would become a reality. That one day she would get on a plane and visit her happy place.

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