She scrubs the linoleum floor on hands and knees with a thick hard brush, left to right, right to left, in large arcs, the tiny glistening soap bubbles forming and reforming only to be washed away.
The kitchen door opens. He walks in, sniffs the air. “You haven’t started dinner.”
She pivots on her knees, but all she can see are the bits of grass clippings and dirt from his expensive shoes mucking up her clean wet floor. She watches him walk to the cabinet and take out a crystal champagne glass. He holds it up as if to make a toast, then smashes it onto the linoleum. She flinches, then looks at the floor, the broken pieces sparkling. She retrieves each slender shard until her hand is full, then grabs the counter to pull herself up. Turning away from him, she drops the broken pieces into the trash.
“Let me look at you.” His thumb and forefinger grip her chin to turn her face, his dark eyes probing hers.
“I need to finish wiping the floor—” She pulls away and bites her tongue. Swallows the tang of blood. He lets her go.
Snatching her pail, she pours out the old water and jams the bucket under the spigot, watches it fill. Steam purples her cheeks.
She lifts the hot, hot water away from the sink and pivots, head down, thinking about it, daring to think about it, a thrill charging through her: splash him, splash him, SPLASH HIM.
She hesitates as their eyes meet. Static crackles between them, the finger-in-a-light socket kind, and she drops her head, drops to her knees, her heart pulsing in her neck. She thrusts her hand into the water, yanks the brush out fast, her skin burning. She forces herself to push together the smaller shards, left to right, right to left, into a glittering little pile.
Coward. Coward. Coward.
The brush halts at his mud-grass shoes. Her eyes move up his body, along the crease of his pants, his designer belt, expensive tie, smug face. Her eyes meet his diamond-hard ones for only a second before she turns toward the floor. He strides from the kitchen.
Sitting back on her heels, she watches the tiny heap of splintered glass fade with the late afternoon sun.