The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox

The day is unrelenting, and yet it’s still early morning.

His alarm sounds way too soon. She is tired of waking up at the crack of dawn, in complete darkness, the daylight reducing. She’s just tired. Period.

The acrid smell of the recent San Bernadino wildfires lingers. How did she end up here? She misses the fall colors, the soft peaks of the Presidentials.

“Did you have time to make my lunch?” he asks. His suit looks new, pressed, hair groomed, sweeps off his forehead, like George Clooney. Well, maybe more like Jay Leno. She points at the lunchbox, thinking does he ever eat this crap?

She wonders how many trips she’ll make to the pantry, a room she’s considered locking. Lose the key. She misses sitting in the hot tub. Can’t do that now, doctor’s orders.

“Thanks, sweetheart,” he says, pulling her close. Her massive stomach, swollen with eight months of child causes him to arch forward to give her a kiss. She smells his overpowering cologne, nearly sneezes.

“Any big plans today?” he asks, grabbing his briefcase.

“Oh yeah. I’m running the Left Coast marathon.”

“Ha, ha, sweetie.” He laughs, his adam apple bobbing. “You’re a riot.”

A riot. She feels more like a failure.

A big, fat, heinous, gross, unattractive blob.

“See you tonight,” she says. Swallows her emotions.

He opens the garage door, starts to get into his Lexus. Turns around. “Oops. I forgot my lunch.” Turns back to grab it off the kitchen counter.

The kitchen is empty. It’s as if she’s disappeared.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, published author, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely found in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, BlazeVOX, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Managing Editor at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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10 Responses to The Lunchbox

  1. Angela says:

    Oooo….so good! I feel for them both. Beautifully descriptive. I want her to come over for coffee and nice foot massage.

  2. Andrea says:

    Good story. I feel for her. I wish there had been a little emotional status on the husband. I know SO many women who’ve gone/going through this and felt so similarly. More please.

  3. Don says:

    The scene you describe sounds so realistic. Of course, would be silly for me to speak for a woman’s P.O.V., but as far as the man goes, focusing on work from the moment I get up, is true. And not catching any cues from a wife, or partner, is also well done. Short snippet, but just enough to be very engaging.

  4. Suzi says:

    Oh the truth in this. I love how you so adeptly manage to write from the female perspective and capture it so perfectly. You are truly a genius.

  5. Shari says:

    Wow, powerful and sad, and I remember these feelings from when I was pregnant, too. The other thing you could explore is the unexplainable anger that women go through. Some while pregnant, others post pregnancy. Great job, Robert.

  6. david says:

    A big, fat, heinous, gross, unattractive blob. Lovely… When I had my first so many years ago that is what I felt like.. or was that when I was an 80 pound model?

  7. Beverly says:

    I don’t like alarms either. And I still make my husband’s lunch! So despite not being eight months pregnant, this piece rings so true on rare occasions. Invisibility is a kew issue for many non-working housewives I would imagine. You are so cool!

  8. Dez says:

    I feel for this poor un-named woman in your work, and I also worry about him, too. Is he just that much out of touch with her? Just not into checking with her on occasion to make sure she knows he cares? I hope it’s not their first kid, because so many people expect their children to make a positive difference in their lives, and you know what that outcome usually is.

  9. G says:

    so that is how it feels to be pregnant. I like the story, wow!

  10. Tom Froehlich says:

    You are writing a lot about peoples disconnected relationships. What’s up with that? Makes me sad. Guess that means you’re doing a good job! LOL.

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