It was gradual, but inevitable. Thirty years at the breakfast table. The dimples that had charmed him as a younger man repulsed him now. The lilt at the end of each question that she’d found fascinating three decades ago just grated with her these days.
They’d smile at each other. All was fine on the surface. But they cringed underneath. Underneath was a swirling mass of regret. Wasted years and missed opportunities. Moving from passion, through acceptance, to the long dark autumn of cold, quiet contempt.
He slurped his coffee for the millionth time. She no longer flinched these days. Anyway, today was different.
“More coffee dear?” she asked brightly. She filled his mug, offered wordlessly from behind the newspaper, from a fresh pot.
It would take seconds, she told herself. Relatively painless, too. No need to make a fuss. Her passport was upstairs, next to the bank book. A few seconds unpleasantness, then Rio was ready and waiting. She sipped her Earl Grey like it was a Mojito.
A cough. Chair legs scraped across the floor. Thud. Over.
Her smile froze as her own throat began to tighten. Her eyes bulged. Oh no. Surely not the tea?