by Lex Ham Rand
Will saw Nicole take the trash out, late, after the kids were in bed. The blue light flickers on the window of the den told him that Jerry was watching the game.
Will turned and looked at his empty kitchen, his empty life. Three months without Karen, since the crunch of gravel and the red tail-lights ended four years of marriage.
Nicole was busy with Jerry and her kids. But Nicole would talk to him. Will grabbed the trash bag and headed out the back door.
“Nice night,” Will said to Nicole.
“Hey, Will,” Nicole answered, letting the lid drop loudly on her big trash barrel. Jerry dropped his shriveled trash bag into his smaller container. Microwave meals and paper towels, mostly.
They both wheeled their trash bins down the driveway, Will in his t-shirt and flip-flops, rolling his smaller container. Nicole in bare feet and a shirt with a v-neck that showed off her tan, her breasts, her toned arms.
When they reached the street, Nicole looked at Will and smiled.
“You doing okay?” she asked. “I worry about you sometimes.” She smiled at Will. Even after all she did for Jerry and the kids she still had enough left over to care a little bit about Will, too.
Will felt a little guilty about lusting after his neighbor’s wife, but Nicole’s sincere interest in his welfare gave Will a tiny thrill, a moment of peace, and enough resolve to walk back up the driveway to his silent house.