His First Wife

by Patrick Civiello

Every morning Dad got up and took his nerve pill so he didn’t yell at us all day. His first wife, Jeanette, stepped out of a shower dripping wet and turned a short-circuited switch he’d installed. Ten years after her funeral my Mom looked over at me as she worked the cloth on the ironing board and said, “They had to take Uncle Louie’s voice box out.” Smelling of fresh gauze and cigarettes that Christmas Eve, his first family welcomed us as if nothing had happened. The adults laughed and joked and I secretly ate pink Canada Mints as they smoked 'til the kitchen was a fog bank. Then, I heard Louis use his machine voice as he walked from the fog; he coughed from the hole in his neck and I saw the skin under his bandage was as red as Dad’s little pills.


Patrick Civiello has lived in Maine most his life. He works in education and health care by day and aspires to write his life story after dark.


Quin Browne said...

let me apologise for being late in commenting... i'm catching up on my reading...and, being late here is rude.

i love this from beginning to end. wonderful visuals, wonderful storytelling... it's a delight.

thank you.

MAJ said...

awesome. love the machine voice and the nerve pill and the missing voice box and the pink canada mints trying to soothe the fog. i just love those pink canada mints... what are those, i want some. bravo!

Mel said...

This is a little bit brilliant. So much depth in so few words. Great stuff.

kk said...

Patrick, this is so nice. I'm immersed in the world you create. Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Patrick: Your words are very evocative. I feel the fog and the closeness of the room. I can smell the gauze and the canada mints. This is lovely and a tad scary too.