The Shape of Things


“Hello, wife,” he told her as he drew up her yellow organza skirt like a curtain.

“Wife?” she said accusingly, then, “Hello, ex-husband.” She swallowed another mouthful of champagne.

They were behind the fig trees on the side veranda, hiding from the New Year’s revelers.

He’d tugged her panties half way down her thighs when the web of violet lace snared his incisor and he stopped to untangle himself.

“What’s the holdup, husband one?” she said, stroking his graying hair. He was always clumsy with complicated maneuvers, she remembered, but his hair was still thick like a teenager’s.

He bit himself free and held Georgia’s waistband with his hands so she could step out of her underwear.

“Look at these,” he said, tracing the purple bruises on her thighs with his index finger. “This one looks like the Virgin.”

“Come off it, Franklin,” she charged, grabbing for his belt.

“I’m not kidding,” he told her—and he wasn’t, “the media should see it.”

They cavorted in silence, then lingered there behind the fig tree, where Franklin had asked her to marry him.

Georgia excused herself when she heard her husband call, “five minutes ‘till, everyone freshen ‘yer glasses.”

Franklin thought about trying to win her back, again, then clutched the bottle and ambled to the back yard. His new wife was dazzled by shiny things, he reasoned, so she’d probably be waiting for the fireworks to start.

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