He walked in on her. She was sitting in the front room on the couch. The television was on. Some infomercial. A man selling pots and pans. Cooking food. The audience applauded.
She was talking to herself; a full-on conversation about nothing. Just drunken talk. There were empty beer cans on the coffee table. She’d let out a laugh every once in a while. Then she’d get real quiet. She would watch the man on the TV cook these amazing dishes. And, when he pulled them out of the oven, he said, Bam. The audience would clap louder. She clapped, too, then went back to her conversation with herself.
Her husband sat down in the recliner next to the torn couch. Cigarette burns exposed the foam under the fake leather. She kept on talking. As if he wasn’t there. He wanted to say something to her, but he just watched the television. He picked up the remote and started to change the channel. She stopped talking and looked at him. She said, Why you gotta come in here and ruin everything? We were getting along just fine before you showed up, she took a drink from a dented can.
Am I disturbing you? he asked. She brushed her hand in the air towards him. Who are you talking to? Every night you’re out here talking. Talking to nobody. Where’s your pills?
Don’t make me.
I said, where’s your pills?
Threw them away.
‘Cause I don’t need them, she said. I’m fine just the way I am, she lit a cigarette. Placed the lighter on the couch and watched as it slid between the two cushions. What does it matter to you who I’m talking to? We don’t talk anymore. Gotta talk to somebody, she blew out smoke. If it’s any of your business, I’m talking to my mom.
That woman has been dead for twenty years.
She visits me. Says she likes me the best. Better than the rest of the children. Says I was her angel.
You ain’t no angel honey. You’re just a drunk that talks to herself, he laughed.
You laughing at me? Think it’s funny that I talk to my dead mother? She’s more alive now than she ever was. And she’s got plans for you.
Oh, does she now. What kind of plans?
I said, what kind of plans?
You’ll find out. One of these days you’re gonna find out. She’s going to come after you like the wrath of God.
Yeah. That’s so.
The two sat there watching the infomercial. The cook added garlic and white wine to the dish. He said, Bam. And the audience went wild.