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Abigail looked at the clock on the wall, ticking the seconds away as she sat waiting for the sound of tires on gravel. Twelve thirty-four. Jason should have been home by now. He always came home for lunch.

She watched the second hand crawl up the face of the clock she’d found at an antique store around the time she and Jason had first gotten engaged. The grey hand seemed to shudder with each movement.

Jason was having an affair. He had been in a car accident and died on his way home. He was suffering from amnesia and had no idea who he was. He decided he didn’t love her anymore and wasn’t coming home. He was dead. She would never see him again.

The crunch of tires on the gravel outside surprised Abigail and she knew it was the sheriff coming to tell her she was a widow. It was Jason’s lover coming to take his clothes and things to her place. She couldn’t bring herself to look out the window to see if it was his blue pick-up. Tears formed in her eyes.

“Abby-gail?” Jason called out as he walked in the front door. “Sorry I’m late. Meeting with the boss ran a little long.” He walked into the kitchen where his wife was sitting stoically at their dinner table. He saw the surprise in her eyes as she looked at him. He also saw the wetness.

“Jason?” Her voice whispered with disbelief.

“Abs.” He crouched down and wrapped her in his arms. All of her suspicions and worries flew out of her mind as he embraced her. She let his body warm her. “You can’t keep doing this, you know?”

They parted and she stood, a broad smile on her face and all the sadness had disappeared. “I made fried chicken and mashed potatoes for lunch. I hope you’re hungry.” She filled matching plates with drumsticks and a spoonful of potatoes. Jason took a seat at the table and watched her move about the kitchen.

Abigail chatted happily about the gossip she’d heard during her trip to the grocery store as Jason ate. He noticed she didn’t touch her own plate of food, but he’d already convinced himself she waited to eat until after he left.

Twenty minutes later Abigail walked Jason to his car and kissed him good-bye.

“I’ll be home around six tonight, Abby-gail. Okay?”

She nodded with a smile.

“If I’m not here right at six, don’t worry. I’ll be home.”

She nodded again, kissed his cheek, and waved good-bye until his car disappeared down the street.

Once he was gone, she returned to the kitchen and looked at the clock. Almost a quarter after one. Less than five hours until he’d be home again.

Unless he died. Or left her. Or disappeared forever.

Abigail felt the tears well up again, and this time she didn’t hold them back.


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1 comment on “Athazagoraphobia”

  1. Cameron

    I get those fears sometimes, just passing, flutters of imagination that spiral out of control, but to be chained to them like that? I simply cannot imagine!

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