This Great Society - Issue 6 - The Future

Creative Writing

Mark Gunderson

Synonyms of the Verb 'Covet' by Sharon Bala
Mark Gunderson

1. Desire

The colourful stones sparkled. The lamplight glinted off their beveled surfaces, inviting curiosity. But as the child drew closer, her eyes wide, her mother moved the treasures out of reach. The movement was effortless, made without interruption to make-up application or conversation.

The woman glanced in the mirror at the man standing behind her. “A strongly worded email should sort it out.”

“Up! Up!” the child demanded, toddling to her father.

“These guys are playing hardball.” He reached down to oblige his daughter, then swiftly stepped aside when she reached for the forbidden fruit. “I don’t think an email will suffice.”

“Then you’ll have to speak with them in person.” She peered into the jewelry dish, considering her options.

Mesmerized, the child’s eyes followed the progress of slim fingers as they chose a heavy necklace, watching as it looped around her mother’s dusky neck.

She reached out to touch the shiny baubles. “Mummy, can I?”

Her father’s voice drowned out her plaintive tone. “Tomorrow then.”

He shifted the child to his other hip, and in his arms, she was carried away, one plump hand still out-stretched.

In the mirror, the child saw her mother shake her head. “Maybe when you’re a little older, darling.”


2. Envy

On a plate sprinkled with berries and soaked in syrup, the wife laid out the waffles. “Breakfast?”

“Can’t. Running late.” Her husband’s head was turned, pouring coffee into a thermos, careful not to spill any on his pressed pin stripe suit.

“Today’s the big presentation?”

He made a non-committal sound and patted his pockets in search of his keys.

“You’ll be great.” In her mind’s eye, he stood at the front of a boardroom, confidently quoting figures and impressing clients and colleagues with his knowledge. Though she had never seen this side of him, she could imagine it clearly.

“When will you be home?” Having located the keys, he was headed for the door.

“The lads and I may pop round to the pub, if all goes well. Don’t wait up.”

“I had your shoes polished,” she said as he slid his feet into another pair.

He smiled absently, his mind already on the day ahead. “Thanks, hon. See you tonight.”

Wrapped in her robe in the sunlit kitchen, she watched out the window until he was swallowed by the crowd, all of them going to high rise offices in vast buildings to join their peers at water coolers and cubicles.

The morning offering was tipped, unnoticed and untouched, into the bin.

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