This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 737 words.
I never liked my wife that much. No idea why I married her, really. It seemed to be the thing to do. We went out for a year, got engaged, then got married a year after that. That’s what you do, isn’t it? You conform, play the game, do what everyone before you did. It’s expected of you, let’s face it.
What makes people change so much when they get married? The security of a thin gold band? The knowledge that they are now entitled to half of everything? Why do you walk into that church with one woman, then walk out with someone you hardly recognise?
Eve smoked a lot. I knew she smoked of course, but once the certificate was signed, I found out just how much. She smoked while she ate. Chewing a steak and puffing on a cigarette between mouthfuls. Gazing at her phone to see who was doing what, and where they were doing it. Why did she think it was okay to do that? To ignore me, and to blow smoke over my food.
Because she could. Because she was now a wife.
Then she changed her mind about having kids. “Let’s not rush in, Daniel. We are still young, and kids can come later”.
Always with the ‘Daniel’. Why did everyone call me Daniel? I told them I wanted to be called Danny. I felt like a Danny. Daniel sounded so old fashioned, Biblical, boring. Danny was cool. Leather-jacket cool. I can’t remember how many times I asked Eve to call me Danny.
But she never did. Not even once.
And where did the sex go? Not that she was ever that adventurous, but it was regular and very nice before the wedding. Then came pyjamas in bed, all make up removed, and sensible big knickers. “Leave it to the weekend, Daniel. You know I get tired at work, and I have to be up early. Go to sleep now”.
Well she had to work before we got married, and get up early. But that didn’t stop her in the past. And the knickers were brief and lacy then.
Six months in, and I was starting to feel more like we had been married for ten years. Eve was home late from work, meeting the girls for shopping at weekends, and going to visit her granny in the old people’s home every Sunday. I was back to eating alone – at least that was smoke free- and cooking easy meals in the microwave.
Just like being single again. Until she came home.
When I turned twenty-eight that autumn, I was feeling more like fifty-eight. And her idea of a birthday present was an electric drill. “You can put those extra shelves up in the airing cupboard that I asked you about”. An electric drill? What was she thinking? When it came to her birthday, she spent weeks dropping hints about all the things she was hoping I would buy her.
She got a slow cooker. I told her she could make the casseroles that I asked her about. That went down like a lead balloon, as you can imagine. But it gave me a much-needed laugh when she unwrapped the box.
So she went out and bought herself a car. A car we couldn’t really afford, and certainly didn’t need. We already had a decent car, and that only got used for the weekly grocery shop, or to drive over to see her granny. Now we had two stuck outside the door, and a three-hundred quid a month loan over four years in her name.
Even before our first anniversary, it was all going downhill rapidly. Eve joined a gym, because one of her friends went there. Then it was gym after work, swimming on Saturday mornings, jogging when it wasn’t raining, and anything to stay away from me, so it seemed. We started to pass in the house like ships in the night. Her coming in as I was going out, and vice versa. She said I should get a hobby, play a sport, go out with my mates.
“We can’t live in each other’s pockets, Daniel. It’s not the nineteen fifties any longer. Times change”.
If I had wanted to go out with my mates, take up fishing, or play tennis, I needn’t have got married. Naturally, I wasn’t happy. Not happy at all.
That’s why I killed her.