Maggie sits on the edge of the bed, her arms crossed, and eyes fixed on an imaginary spot on the wooden floor. The green dress and the way she has her wavy auburn hair tucked behind her ears gives off an inaccurate depiction that she is demure. The radio provides white noise while everyone pretends to act normal downstairs. As the chorus of the Rolling Stones Waiting on a Friend begins, Sean knocks lightly on the door frame. He's dressed in an ashen gray suit, tailored perfectly for his six foot five frame.
“Can I come in?” He asks as he already has passed the threshold of being inside the room anyway.
“Aye.”She sighs and looks up at him. “I like that suit on you.”
He enters and sits beside her. He rubs his hands together nervously before placing them on his lap. “So?”
“I’m sorry.” Maggie leans against Sean.
Sean places his arm around Maggie. “For what?”
“I don’t know, you being a good solicitor?”
“You knew he’d be home soon,” he says as he places a stray strand of hair that has escaped from behind her ear. He leans closer to her.
“But I didn’t expect this.” She continues to stare ahead even though she can feel Sean’s breath on face.
“I can’t just call you when a pipe breaks or when Liam needs someone to talk to…”
“You’ve got Gerard now, Maggie.”
She brushes him away from her. “Why do you always tell me the obvious? You’re like that little devil that sits on my shoulder.
“I thought I would have been the angel.” He smiles kisses her cheek and stands. “Guess this is sort of goodbye.”
She looks up in semi-shock. “You live next door.”
“I was talking to the bed.” He looks for her to smile.
Her mouth begins the semblance of a smile. “Fucking funny, you Fenian bastard.”
Sean stands and walks towards the door. “Least I didn’t get caught bein’ one.”
“What am I gonna do without you?” She stands and walks to him, her head only reaching his chin. She runs her hand down his violet tie and fixes his suit lapel.
“You could get arrested. I can be your solicitor. But I can’t guarantee I can get you conjugal visits for your partner and your boyfriend.”
The disembodied voice from Maggie’s father yells from downstairs. ”You’re goin’ to be late and Liam’s already bored out of this mind.”
Maggie places her head on Sean’s chest. ”Do you know anything about baseball?”
“Why would I know anything about baseball?” He places his arms around her, and places his face in her hair, taking a deep breath.
“Gerard. Some people find Jesus in prison, he found baseball.”
Gerard sits at the kitchen table. The first time in three years he’s been in his own house and semi-alone with his wife. He runs his hand through his black hair that is in need of a trim. He returns his hands to the table, at first placing them in front of him, and then placing them both around a bottle of beer. He taps his fingers on the bottle in succession, over and over.
Maggie enters the kitchen nonchalant, as if Gerard sits at the kitchen table every day and hasn’t been eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Magilligan Prison in Limavady. She goes to the stove and begins opening lids and stirring simmering contents. "I hope you still like salmon." She keeps her back turned, emptying green beans into a colander.
He answers quietly. "Aye. I haven't had a good salmon for a long time. Thank you, Maggie."
Their son six year old Liam runs into the kitchen and opens up the refrigerator.
Maggie covers a pot with a lid and turns. "Liam, no snacks now, dinner will be ready in a bit."
He has the milk bottle in his hand when he turns to her. "I just want some cereal." He shakes the bottle. "Looks like you'll have to go to Sean's."
She places a wooden spoon onto the counter. "Why is that, Liam?"
"We're out of milk. Anytime we're out of something, you gotta go to Sean's to get more. Out of butter, out of milk, no more eggs…”
“That’s enough…examples, Liam. Go get washed up then go wait at the table.”
“Alright, ma.” Liam puts the empty milk bottle on the table in front of Gerard and meanders out of the room.
Gerard takes the bottle in his hand and looks at it like a crystal ball while Maggie pouts her mouth and raises her eyebrows. She lets out a sigh and relaxed her face.
“I guess we got a good deal on legal fees…and our lot of farm products as well.” He gingerly places the bottle on the table. Liam can be heard running to the dining room and sliding out a chair.
They both speak at the same time.
Maggie: “We can figure this out.”
Gerard: “I want a divorce.”
They stare at each other, the potatoes beginning to boil over.
Liam starts singing a song to himself in the other room. “All washed up. No cereal to be had. No more milk.”
“Mashed potatoes. We’re out of milk.” She realizes as she turns the burner off.
Gerard tries to suffocate a smile, but can’t. “Fuck that, I’m not goin’ to Sean’s for milk.”
Maggie shakes her head and smiles. Gerard pushes his chair back. He stands and walks over to Maggie, who waits for him to come to her. He stops before their bodies touch. Maggie reaches out to touch Gerard’s muscular arm, but he gently stops her by locking his hands with hers.
... To Be Continued