You Think You Know Somebody

They sat in the coffee shop holding hands as his eyes undressed younger women. She was aware of this, always had been. Look, but, don’t touch was her motto.

The grandmother knew she could no-longer turn heads. Particularly her husband’s. Her once thick, long, brunette waves had now become gray and stringy, thin on top. And her cheeks did not set high; nothing did. But, she had his hand to hold. She was most proud of that.

These two had been married for fifty years. They had just celebrated with the kids and grandchildren. Capped it off by going to Paris for a week. Walking around the city, his eyes were filled with attractive women. She just giggled. Saying to herself, some things never change.

Walks in the parks, art museums, fine restaurants, and always hand in hand. It would be that way till the day he died. He took very good care of her. Told her he loved her ‘fore slumber each night. She missed that.

The old man had been gone a month before she had the strength to go through his things. Old clothes he never wore, hats of various kinds, and a desk filled with unpaid bills, receipts, and letters. Written letters to him without a return address. Stamps and coins in a copper bowl.

These letters reeked of perfume. She didn’t know why she’d never smelled them before. It was Chanele, her favorite. His too. Some were written on stationary while others were written on plain white paper in black ink. They were love letters. Dated up to a week before he died. Sweet messages of an affair that had gone on for years. Her name was Lilly.

At first she cried, felt betrayed. Tremendously betrayed. Anger was in her. She called all his friends to ask if they knew of this Lilly woman. They all played innocent. And there were pictures of her. A tall woman with ginger hair and obvious work done to her. A tightening here, an adjustment there. She was thin. She was thin.

The mother of two and grandmother of six, placed the letters and pictures in an old coffee can outside one night and watched them burn. But, she never forgot of their marriage, their trips, their walks hand in hand. She just whispered, you think you know somebody.

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