top of page

Trash Day (A Short Story)

The drive to the school seemed to take longer than usual. It was still early, too early for students and parents but she knew the teachers and staff would be there.


This wouldn’t take long. She only needed to confirm one thing and she could go back home and finish getting the kids ready. But after that, she wasn’t sure what she would do.


Turning down the narrow street that led to the school she was stopped by a garbage truck. It was trash day. 


Sitting behind the truck as it lifted a mechanical arm that fit around the large trash bin, she waited patiently as the contents were emptied. Waiting gave her time to think. She’d been doing that a lot lately.  In between loads of laundry, balancing projects at work, cooking dinners, and checking bookbags, her mind swirled with all the little things that no longer seemed so small.


And that’s how it started, with little things. The less than plausible reasons, the paper-thin excuses, and the too-quickly offered explanations.


The garbage truck moved to the next house.


Twelve years is a long time, she thought. That’s how long they’d shared cups of coffee, tender moments, chores, and pillow talk as they built their life brick by brick. And during that time, she’d never had to wonder, question, or doubt the love they shared or the foundation on which it was built. Then, in crept the little things, chipping away at the bricks.


More and more late evenings at the office. Lots of weekend work even when she knew the workload hadn’t increased. An odd comment from their child’s teacher who was also a mutual acquaintance. The funny looks and whispering from the staff when she picked up her son from school early last week. Being physically at home but not mentally or emotionally present. At first, she refused to allow those things to breach their foundation, but once the first crack formed, it was just a matter of time before the crack turned into a gaping hole.


The garbage truck moved to the next house.


How had they gotten here, her inner voice taunted her. She’d asked questions but the answers often proved to be lies. She’d speculated, but the evidence was thin.  She’d wondered but that only resulted in sleepless nights and more distrust.


One more house. She could see the car from here. Her car.


The set of car and house keys that didn’t belong to her or her husband rested on the seat. Did they belong to her? Her child’s teacher. An acquaintance of hers. Her husband’s lover.


The garbage truck moved to the next house.


Her foot felt heavy as it moved from the brake pedal. The sound of the car’s turn signal echoed through her car’s interior.  Or was that the sound of her heart pounding?


She took a deep breath. Keys in hand, she stepped closer to the car. Her fingers felt strange as they held and pressed the lock symbol on the key fob.


Click. The car's lights flashed and the doors unlocked.

Taking a deep breath, she willed herself to get in her car and start the drive home. As she drove through the parking lot, she slowed long enough to toss the keys in the school's dumpster. After all, it was trash day.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Classic
bottom of page