I ran after the trash blowing in the wind down the path at the back of my house. I picked up as much trash as possible while cramming it into another trash bag as I surveyed the bushes on each side of me. It seemed like I was the only one who ever took the trash out to be picked up by the trash men. My husband certainly did not. He was on another one of his working trips far from home.
The wind howled again as another gust blew papers and a dirty coffee filter further down the trail. I am going to be late for work, I thought. I do not have time for this today! I kept on though. I just did not want to leave the path strewn with papers and banana peels. It just wasn’t right.
Finally I retrieved the rest of the trash in a pile of dry leaves swirling in the wind. I looked up and there on the tree in front of me was an envelope plastered against the trunk, blown there from the wind. I went over to the tree and snatched at the envelope realizing that it was not my name on the front, but my husband’s. Something inexplicable drew me to this envelope.
I knew that I should not open this envelope as it was not mine; but in spite of this, I tore it open anyway. It was a credit card receipt for the Motel 6 down the road. My husband had gotten a king size bed for two and a full bar with room service last Saturday night. The total of the bill came to $225.79.
I looked at the name on the receipt again and again. Time seemed to slow down and stand still. The name and credit card information was my husband’s! I wrestled with this new bit of information. He had been out of town last Saturday – working. Again.
Now I knew the truth. He had been cheating on me! I felt like I could not breathe and I gasped for air. I read the receipt over and over again. Tears flowed from my eyes. This hurt was deep. I felt raw and exposed while these naked emotions shook me. I just stood there with the wind blowing the remaining bits of trash around me in a circle.
My cell phone rang shrilly in my pocket. I answered the best I could with tears streaming down my face. My voice was cloaked with emotion. It was the Highway Patrol. They regretted to inform me that my husband had been killed in a car wreck on the interstate yesterday. They had tried to reach me this morning however, no one was home.
I thanked the officer on the phone and just stood there, rooted to the ground. My husband was gone. Dead! Killed in a car crash. If I had not found that motel receipt I would have never known what a cheating, lying, bastard I had married.
I tore up the motel receipt into tiny shreds and let the wind carry them away from me. I wished I had never opened that envelope. I walked toward my house, all the while mentally preparing myself to plan a funeral for a cheater.
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Thanks for visiting! This short story was part of my Writing 101 assignment and is around 550 words:
“You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.
Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.”