After a year, the separation ended so she had a yard sale
and sold all the trappings of her brief independence.
She gave up her lover
and her tiny apartment
and went back to the stately pillared home
her husband had built for them.
It was for the good of the child, they both agreed.
Months later, the returned wife realized
her memory box had disappeared
somewhere in the shuffle,
like a grey tooth beneath her pillow.
Gone were the dried flowers, drawings and stories,
and the little glass bottles
she’d kept since she was twelve.
The recent love letters,
she had destroyed on her own.
If she suspected her husband, she never said.
The wife merely forced herself to smile
and enjoy all the trappings of comfortable servitude,
simpering like his time-worn basset hound
crouched in front of the fireplace.
Months earlier, as he tossed her memory box
into a construction lot dumpster,
the husband hadn’t recognized
that most of the dried flowers
were ones he’d given her
and this was why she had left him in the first place.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He has a wife, Vickie, and a daughter, Sage. His work has appeared in hundreds of publications including Prime Mincer, Sheepshead Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Fox Cry Review, Two Thirds North and Red Cedar Review. He has work forthcoming in Bluestem, Poetry Salzburg Review and The William and Mary Review.