Guilty Secret by Claire Brown (355 Words)

She entered the kitchen, tentatively placed the carrier bag on the table and slumped into the hard wooden chair.  Her eyes wandered over the array of dirty dishes scattered on the worktop above the dishwasher. So near yet so far. She would have to sort that before he came home.  She didn't want him to wonder how she had spent her day.  She didn't want him to ask about her day although that shouldn't be a problem, he rarely did. 

She risked a momentary glance at the carrier bag on the table then sprung up to get a glass of water. She tried to focus on the stale liquid flowing down her throat, but it was futile.  Why was she prolonging the inevitable? She knew what she was going to do, she had known as she handed her money to the smug cashier with his sly smile.  As she pushed the receipt into the carrier bag she knew there was no turning back. 

And there it was, sitting innocently inside its carrier bag on the kitchen table.  She reached for her phone to check the time.  She had an hour before he came home.  One hour without having to explain or excuse herself.

Of course she would hide the evidence after it was done.  She would keep this from him as long as possible.  Her own guilt and self-loathing was enough to shatter any remaining self-confidence without his disgust and anger.

She looked at the bag and then down at her own body. Her podgy stomach would give her away; soon the whole world would know her guilty secret. For a moment she longed for a different life, where she was happy and carefree, a life full of confidence and promise. It only lasted a moment. Reality came bounding in and reminded her of the carrier bag. With sullen resignation, she reached for the bag and removed the box.  She slid her finger between the layers of cardboard to free the contents. And there it was. She reached into the drawer, pulled out a knife and started to carve up the family size chocolate gateaux.

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