New wallpaper can usually lead to an amazing turnaround regarding life. Another day to focus, to just get through it all, Clarita thought to herself, stomping around the dinner table in her enormous feet; half complaining about the decorative placemats that she was damn picky about using.

Her husband Todd waited about twenty minutes before she shifted them all again, her feet not appearing to touch the earth directly but instead balanced precariously upon the dual realm of obsession and duty. But today was solace day, where a reconciliation of opposites would come together in the universal act of redemption.

The Major Arcana cards he was shuffling had predicted it and Todd had already regarded
Clarita’s own needs and unique personality as detrimental. He didn’t want to be defensive about his choice; he didn’t want to rationalize it without owning up to its own personal
meaning, acceptance was important.

“Did I tell you that Mary Fisher copied my cross-stitch design? Her workmanship isn’t as good as mine and neither is the wool she uses…”

"I've put up new wallpaper in the bedroom. You'll like it, it's earth tones, good for grounding..."

“Don’t you have anything to say, Todd? A cup of tea with you isn’t exactly one of the richest intellectual treats, now is it?”

His eyes were open but he wasn’t focusing on anything. They never spoke directly that afternoon; instead he sat and listened to her slap around useless words together, he, not interested in hearing them. Todd was a man of few words and when he spoke, they had meaning.

Dinner was just about to be a repeat performance of teatime. Clarita felt the distance spreading between them, and though she could not pinpoint its source, she knew she had somehow disappointed him throughout the years. Like a mannequin, her fingers nimbly passing over the placemat, smoothing out the surface, she replayed the ritual.

“Sometimes people make mistakes you know, there are misunderstandings,” she says.

His eyes watch her face, a juxtaposition of moods.

“I love from my heart, and love isn’t about sex and sex isn’t about love. But if I know anything at all, I know that men love with their dicks. Are you still fucking her?”

Todd, "Jesus, Clarita, are you going to bring this up again? We've been over this time and time again. We haven't slept in the same room in 4 years. Why do you even give a damned about her? She meant nothing...absolutely nothing to me. This isn't about cross-stitching. This isn't about 3 years ago, after the party when I made a huge lapse in judgment. It is about you, and I, and how we no longer work together."

”She took my husband, and then she tried to take my cross-stitch. She went over the line, way over the line. She never should have done that. The nerve of her, coming here, to my home, violating my sanctuary, thinking this would be smoothed over, that it would all go away, that she would have her victory...again. No way, never going to happen.”

”Clarita, what are you saying? Mary was here? Today? She swore she would not violate our home, or you. I told her I was wrong, it was wrong, that it would never happen again, could never happen again.”

”Don't worry. She will never again violate the sanctity of my home. We had it out, once and for all. She tried to weasel her way out of here, but I got the point across and drove it home. She won't be walking in and out of my home again.”

”Clarita, I don't know what you have said, or done, but she should never have come here. She was wrong. Let me take my shower, get ready to go, we'll deal with her and any ramifications later.”

”You mean sooner, rather than later Todd, Clarita said with a gleam in her eye, smirking as she walked back towards the kitchen, a spring in her step.”

”What the fu!!!!!” Todd screamed, as he drew back the curtains on the shower, and saw Mary's lifeless corpse staring back at him from the one eye that didn't have a sewing needle protruding from it.

Aside from the other needle piercing her larynx, passing neatly through her jugular vein, she almost looked wide awake; surprised, a small trickle of blood in the corner of her mouth.

”Clarita, what have you done?”

”Why, Todd, a stitch in time saves nine...”

"Life's Table"
Copyright: © 2010 Theresa C. Newbill and Harris Whitman

Theresa C. Newbill is a is a self described free spirit and former elementary school teacher turned writer. Her work has been widely published in various print and online magazines and she has received numerous awards for her writing.

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