Dabovitch got fired.
He told his wife that evening.
First she was standing and he was sitting. Then he was standing and she was standing. Then she was sitting and he was pacing. Then she was standing at the sliding door that looked out of their apartment into the lot. It was after sunset.
“I was going to quit anyway,” Dabovitch said from somewhere behind her. His tie was loosened and he had the short, close-cropped beard of a middle manager.
“Going to,” said his wife, as if speculations were irrelevant. In her mind they were irrelevant, though sometimes her definition of speculation varied.
Dabovitch went into the kitchen for a beer.
But he didn’t get one.
He was afraid now how it would look to his wife. He was also afraid how it would look if he didn’t get one, so he removed a can from the fridge and set it on the counter.
But this was no good either.
His wife entered the kitchen and leaned against the doorjamb. She was a very pretty woman with tired eyes. She worked too. They would never be rich. They were just old enough now to realize it. “Look at you,” she said.
“What,” said Dabovitch, though not because he hadn’t heard her. He was in love with her more than she was in love with him.
“What would happen,” said his wife, “if I told you now I was pregnant?”
His eyes went wide. He moved toward her, but stopped when she laughed.
An hour passed.
Neither of them made dinner.
When it was dark they were both sitting on the couch.
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« Drinking: The International Bar, Re-Animated
the simplicity and almost barren quality of the style leaves the reader feeling a bit disoriented.
I saw Ed read this in Houston, TX, and it got a standing ovation. Something about the mood of the room that night. One of my favorite of Edward’s stories.