SO LIFELIKE by Robert Overbey
He had come in from mowing the lawn when we started going at it fast. He was on top of me from behind. His hand was pushed into the bed, near my face, as he supported himself pounding me. His hand smelled like gasoline. I imagined I was being raped in a garage. I came right then.
He was in the shower. I rolled over. I listened to the running water and wondered if this was just how it would always be. At least he was still attracted to me, I thought. Lots of married couples probably didn't have sex at all. And here it was three o'clock on a Sunday and I'd just come. Even if other wives were having sex with their husbands they were surely not having orgasms, I thought. I have no right to complain, I thought. But I still do. I can’t help it.
I got dressed and walked out to the porch. In front of the house across the street the Hawkins kids played on the lawn. Miniature swimsuits, tiny inflatable pool, the hose, the sprinkler, the whole thing. I stood and watched the little Hawkinses scream and run in circles. Their laughter blew a breeze across our porch. A moment later the boy pushed the girl face down into the pool. She began to cry. Mrs. Hawkins appeared at the door. She picked up the wet girl and scolded the boy. She carried the girl inside and the boy followed.
I went back inside. The shower had stopped running. I went into the kitchen and poured some vodka into a glass of ice. I opened the refrigerator to get the orange juice when I heard the front door close. I walked over to the window in time to see him drive off. As I began to turn away I noticed something. At the end of our driveway, off to the side, there was a lump on the ground. I could see it was the doll the Hawkins girl often carried around. I walked down to the curb, bent over, and picked up the doll. I looked over at the Hawkins house. The house was silent.
Back in my kitchen I held the worn doll. It was made of cloth and had a brown skirt with white lace trim. I lifted the skirt and saw where its crotch was stitched. I straightened its tiny green sweater, brushed its yarn hair back, and ran my thumb over its flat, faded face. I stepped on the pedal that lifts the lid, threw the doll into the trash, and got the orange juice out of the fridge.
Robert Overbey is a writer of mostly short fiction. His stories have appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, Sakura Review, and Paris Lit Up. His debut collection, A Life Without Seasons and Other Stories, was published by AQ Press in 2016. He received a BFA in writing from Goddard College. He lives in New York City.