Peer Review by Misfit (United States)

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Lemon Meringue Pie

By: Aarushikrishnan


PROMPT: Story Cubed

The smell of citrus wakes me.

I've always been hyper-attuned to senses, ever since I was a little girl. My father would joke that I was like a canary, and if I don't hide my talents I would be sent to the gold mines. Comfortably warm memories are still flitting through my head as I make my way downstairs, and it takes me a moment to process the scene in front of me. 

The kitchen is immaculate, and empty. Nick must have cleaned it after our fight last night, and somehow managed it without making a single sound. I take a peek into our dining room, hoping to see him sipping his tar-like coffee as usual.

Instead of my husband, I see a box. It's pretty the way prima ballerinas are pretty- consciously elegant. I open it, and perfectly whipped white clouds of sugar stare back at me. The smell of lemon intensifies. 

Lemon meringue pie. I can picture the backstory perfectly- Nick wakes up before I do, drives all through town till he finds the perfect bakery, and buys the best looking-and most expensive- pie he can find. He leaves it out for me, then leaves to work, a self-satisfied smile playing on his face. He was no worries. after all. His life is perfect.

I stare at the cooling pie for what seems like ages. I have everything here, everything I could possibly wish for. There's nothing left for me to desire, yet I feel empty inside. It's a perfect life, it's true, but it's not perfect for me. 

I have been married to Nick for seven years. I thought I knew everything about him, and I was sure he knew everything about me. Together we have a life he would call steady and comfortable, and I would secretly call predictable and boring. The past five months I've had with Eli have impacted me so much more than Nick ever had. We've had fights throughout our marriage, but never with this fervor and regularity. He now spends more nights on the couch that he does in our bed.

As melting gloops of meringue  drip onto the table, I make a decision. I tear out a fresh sheet from my notebook, and grab a pen.

Dear Nick, I start, then pause and grab a new sheet. We seem to be past the stage of endearments.

Nick,

I won't be coming back home today.I feel like you don't even know me anymore. I need some time for myself, to take a breather. Please don't try to contact me.

Olivia.



I re-read my letter three times, then leave it next to the pastry box. I glance back at the pie, debating whether or not to throw it into the trash. I can't believe he doesn't know that I can't stand the taste of lemon. So much for supposedly knowing everything about me. 

I cut myself a thick slice of the pie, and that is all I leave my house with. I don't need anything else, now that my new life is waiting right around the corner.

                                                                                          *****

My wife is barely out of the door when my girlfriend comes barreling in.

"Olivia?"  Is she holding...pie?

"Eli, my darling!" She kisses me flush on the mouth,and she tastes vaguely of lemons.

I push her off, but the grin on her face seems unshakable. "I've done it, baby, it's done!"

"Olivia, you have to leave."

She shakes her head, eyes glinting. "I told Nick it's over between us. There's no going back, ever." She holds up a plate. "I even got pie to celebrate! It's lemon meringue, your favorite."

I move away from her, taken aback. "Olivia, I can't give you what you want. We had fun together, but I love my wife." I pause. "I love my wife."

I stare out into the driveway, and with cold horror I realize my wife is staring back at us. Or more precisely, she's staring at Olivia.

                                                                                         *****

 As I read Olivia's note I'm not sure what to feel.

My wife has always been a very smart woman, but she was wrong in one part of the note. I know her, I've always known her. For instance, I know she despises lemon meringue pie. Eli, however, adores it.   


                                                                                       ******************


 


Message to Readers

Feedback and constructive criticism welcome, as always!


Peer Review

The last part. Whoo! I am a bit confused, however. Why did Nick buy the pie, then? Did he know Olivia was going to give it to Eli?


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