Friday, August 08, 2008

The Disguise - An Excerpt

The four of them sat, two on each side of the dining room table, and on the table between them lay what remained of their dinner, plates crusting with the remnants of chicken and pasta with white sauce and stir-fry vegetables. A second bottle of wine was only half full. Isaac carefully noted the table (natural pine), the silverware (hammered), the dishes (store-brand). A desk with a computer sat in the darkness of a corner of the dining room. Under the table, Amy, his wife, squeezed his knee lovingly. The conversation lulled.

"It's a nice house you have." Amy broke the temporary silence. It had been clear to Isaac that she didn’t understand why they were all friends.

"Thanks." Mark included himself.

"Mark always wants to do something else to it. He wants to put French doors where this window is here, so we can walk right out onto the patio." Elizabeth gently patted Mark's shoulder. "But, we never get around to it."

"Oh yeah, Amy thinks she's going to paint the bedroom. She has the paint chips and everything. It's still white, though." Isaac stared at Mark, with his close cropped blond hair and the perpetual smirk he wore. He couldn’t help but believe Mark was laughing at him behind that smug expression.

"Amy, how's the nursing home?" Elizabeth asked.

"It's good."

"Don't people die there all the time?" Elizabeth put her elbows out on the table, brushed her hair back before setting her chin in her hands. "I know it sounds morbid, but how do you get used to it?"

"I don't know." Amy glanced at Isaac. "They don't die that often, really." She paused. "I guess you just don't get that close to them."

"Oh, it sounds awful. I'd be crying all the time. I remember I was volunteering at the hospital, what was it, senior year?" She asked Isaac.

He nodded, remembering.

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