Becomes One Hundred Stories #21: Doesn’t Like Being Alone

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Doesn’t Like Being Alone

The woman said she did not like being alone.

The woman sat while the other woman cooked the evening meal, and she told the other woman that she did not like to be alone.

The other woman did not say anything. She continued cooking the evening meal. The evening meal for her and her husband and perhaps the woman if she would stay for the evening meal.

The woman said her husband had been gone for a week on political party business and he would be gone for yet another week.

The other woman said stay away from her husband. She said the other man was off limits to the woman no matter how lonely she was.

The woman said the other man and her husband were brothers.

The other woman said family connections never stopped her husband from pursuing anyone who caught his eye.

The woman’s silence spoke the truth that the other man had indeed pursued the woman at some time. Her continuing silence spoke the truth about his success.

The other woman continued to cook in the true silence.

The woman looked at the back of the other woman as she bent over the heat source for cooking. She looked at the back of the other woman and almost began crying. She bit her lip and the burning in her eyes went away. Then she almost confessed. Then she realized how useless and dangerous it was to confess, and she bit her lip harder.

The woman told the other woman that the other man had indeed made a few advances to her, but she had refused him angrily, even going so far as to slap his face once.

The other woman let the woman lie, and she cooked the evening meal.

The woman said she had never cheated on her husband, the other man’s brother and the leader of the local political party.

The other woman let the woman lie completely.

The other woman put the evening meal over the heat source on a low setting. She told the woman to follow her.

The woman followed the other woman outside to the bottom of the hill. The other woman pointed to the place at the top of the hill. She said she had seen the woman often enough visiting the man who lived in the place at the top of the hill.

The woman said the man hadn’t said anything, had he.

The other woman said no, the man seldom said anything about anything. She said she knew well enough why the woman visited the man who lived at the place at the top of the hill.

The woman said she wouldn’t say anything to her husband, would she.

The other woman said whose husband, the woman’s or the other woman’s.

The woman said both. She said either.

The other woman said she wasn’t one to talk, but her own husband might figure out why the woman kept visiting the place at the top of the hill if he could get his mind past his own member.

The woman said she did not like being alone.

The other woman said she had already said that, but all she had to worry about from then on was leaving the other man alone.

The woman protested once more that she had never—

The other woman cut her off and said it was a warning for all time to never touch the other man again or she would die.

The woman said why was the other woman being so threatening.

The other woman said it was not a threat but a statement of fact.

The woman said but she had never—

The other woman said the only thing she had to worry about was that it never happen again.

The woman said she thought they were friends.

The other woman said as long as the woman followed that rule, they could be friends. She said if the woman was lonely, she always had the man who lived in the place at the top of the hill.

The woman said she didn’t like to spend much time with him.

The other woman said but he was from her homeland.

The woman said that meant he knew too much about her. Too much bad she had done. She said she had known him since they were children.

The other woman said he was a hard worker.

The woman said that was the best anyone could say about him. She said he was a hard worker, but he was hard to relate to. Hard to understand. But in one way he seemed normal and willing.

The other woman said that was enough to keep her from being lonely wasn’t it.

The woman said maybe. She said for that hour he could keep her from feeling lonely, but afterward, he became hard and difficult to relate to and that made her feel even more lonely than before.

The other woman said she didn’t know that the woman and the man who lived in the place at the top of the hill had known each other as children.

The woman said they had been mean to him. She said he had been an easy target, but he hadn’t seemed to mind too much.

A message arrived for the other woman. The message came from her husband, the other man, and it said he was joining his brother for some work at the political party conference. He said he would be back in a week when his brother returned.

The other woman told the woman to come back inside with her.

The woman followed the other woman into the place where the other woman and the other man lived at the bottom of the hill.

The other woman prepared the evening meal for the woman.

The woman asked the other woman if she ever got lonely while the other man was away.

The other woman said no. She said she had enough projects around the place where she lived to keep busy, and many of those projects were easier to do when the other man was gone.

The woman ate the food the other woman gave her. She looked at the other woman and said that was not what she meant.

The other woman said she never thought about that anymore.

The woman said maybe she had the man at the top of the hill visit her when she was lonely.

The other woman told the woman to stop being funny.

The woman became serious and said she remembered one time, long ago, soon after she had come to the land of her homeland’s allies to the south, and it had been probably still during the war, that the other woman had kept the woman from being lonely.

The other woman was silent.

The woman said she had been a young woman and the other woman had been a woman and had taught her much about much.

The other woman said that was long ago.

The woman said not too long ago to forget.

The other woman said her husband had been away at the capitol for too long with his brother working with the ministry of their homeland on the diplomatic plans for the war.

The woman said not much had changed.

The other woman said except they were much older now.

The woman said far from too old, though.

The other woman told the woman to tell her the truth. Had she been with the other man.

The woman said no. She said it as earnestly as she could, and it almost sounded true.

The other woman said the woman could stay with her if she wanted to keep from being lonely.

The woman said wasn’t that why she had invited her for the evening meal anyway, and hadn’t she expected her husband’s message that he would not return for some time.

The other woman said yes, and she remembered much about much with the woman for the week their husbands remained gone.

To read more stories in the series, see the Becomes One Hundred Stories page.

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