The Last Hour
by Kaye George
“What’s the matter?”
He’d asked me that before. And I could never answer him. I only knew what I felt: despair, blackness, hopelessness; depression. Sometimes it came on suddenly. Rolled over me like a flood tide. Other times it built gradually until it rose and threatened to drown me.
But this time was different. This time I knew. Here I was, trying to wash dishes that would be crawled on by cockroaches in the dead of night, trying to wash them with the last remains of watered-down detergent in a sink that hadn’t been scoured in a month for lack of cleanser, in lukewarm water because the bill hadn’t been paid and the hot water had just run out.
I was trying, that was the thing. And he wasn’t. I knew where he’d been last night. With Her.
It all made sense now. Those extra jobs he’d been picking up in the evenings hadn’t seemed to bring in any extra money. When the bus took a detour on my way home from cleaning the last house yesterday, I’d seen our car in Her driveway, which wasn’t cracked like ours. The curtains at Her windows were snow-white lace. I spied a pool in the back. I doubted She had cockroaches. And I knew then that He wasn’t working extra jobs. That’s why we had no extra money.
The depression kicked me in the gut. I clutched my tattered curtains as it drove me to my knees.