God Moved The White King

Short Story (20m challenge)

I bit the fabric so hard I felt my jaw strain. The deep, hollow grief in my lungs escaped with a sharp pain in my abdomen, the salt of my tears choking me in my enforced silence. I screamed into the bedsheets like a child, the savage shudder of disappointment and bitterness burnt me again and again, until I lay exhausted, comatose with my outburst.

Was this the punishment, I asked God, the dusk and wide expanse of the ceiling. Did you take him from me for my own adultery?

I beg God, the God I half believe in, to let me forget his name, his eyes, his lips on my hair. Let me forget the shadow of him, the height of him, the largeness of his hands or the way he laughed from the back of his mouth. Make him to me a forgotten name, a man from an evening long ago.

As ever, I knew my sentence before my prayer. God had moved the pieces on the board in the space of a text, and I fell hard into empty bed linen, silent evenings, and the arms of men I sought to fill the space of him. They never would. He was gone, to the new world, his memory the only shadow he’d leave behind. I would be left without reasons, a why or how. More than I deserved as his other woman.

The other woman he had never kissed.

Perhaps God has moved him for my own good, I ask the last sunlight through my curtain. Perhaps God had made him callous so I would not want him. He was married. Is married. Will be married. I should not want him. I refuse to want him. I am not that woman. I will not be that woman.

I listen to the silence. The clatter of pans in the kitchens continues as any other day, my heartbeat thudding in the dusk. Slower now. I do not know why, but God has moved the White King, and the game goes on.

My phone vibrates in the darkness, spilling a ripe headache into my mind. It gapes blue on the sheets, unmercifully ringing until I can’t bear it. I pick it up, inhaling deeply.

“Hello darling,” I say brightly. “How was work?”

Written by

24 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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