Flame Tree

She watched her navel sink into the flab of her belly through the mirror. Today was the fifth day this week. Sally’s obsession with herself was rather alarming, Chanda thought. He tucked his shirt into his pants and splashed the last of his cologne. The air between them was tangy. His hot headed-ness had disallowed his tongue from rolling out a single word.

Silence. It was killing her. Soft and steady.

Sally inhaled a weak breath and sat herself on the edge of the bed facing the window. The Flame Tree was in full bloom, its pettles glazed fiercely in front of the rising sun. A halo had formed reminding her of the wedding band on her ring finger. At a certain point in their marriage, they were all that mattered.

How did we get here, she wondered as she aimed for the middle of the pregnancy test. By now she was squatting with her hands on the bed for balance. By now Chanda was on his 2nd cup of coffee. Jacob’s, actually. He loved the smell. He said it was strong. He was a strong man. She remembered how on their wedding night, he staggered into the bed of the hotel room while carrying her with one hand and the other sifting the door. She chuckled. There was a time when they laughed at things. There was a time when they talked about things.

Nostalgia. It carried a heavy load of pain on its way back.

It cut deep, rippling through every part of her. The test was ready and even though she knew they were having a baby, she did it to show Chanda. She knew he would need some kind of confirmation. Something official, like he put it. They weren’t trying after all. She didn’t want a baby. Not in such circumstances anyway.

Up she stood and walked to the mirror with nothing to cover her dignity. The towel had been thrown on the floor at dawn. She did it for Chanda. It was routine.

The tree danced in full color showing off its majesty and reminding Sally that beautiful things took time grow. Beautiful things didn’t last forever either. Some pettles begun to fall when the wind blew the flame tree too hard. Like a fire being quenched, life was cut off. Like her marriage. No one really knew how, why or when but the fire that ignited their desire for each other had been put out.

It was 9 AM by now and the Flame Tree had a red carpet on the ground around it.