The Perfect Couple
A Storyby Jennifer Appenrodt
“Would you mind grabbing my sunglasses?” Peter asked. Anna pulled them from the glove compartment and handed them over in their leather case. Their fingers didn’t touch.
They were driving down a country road at a leisurely pace. The sprawling vineyards a vibrant yellow, the trees a mix of red and orange. Anna was always taken by the beauty of the area, particularly this time of year. A song came on the radio, something French in a sultry woman’s voice. An older couple in wide-brimmed hats passed by in a vintage cream-color Mercedes. They waved and smiled. Anna felt like she was in a movie.
They’d been visiting Peter’s parents on Thanksgiving for the past seven years, since they first began dating. There was a faded red barn with a broken weather vane, a winery with a grand ivy-lined entrance, and then a farm stand, Anna’s favorite. It overflowed with dried wreaths, plump persimmons, squash, and apples.
“I’d love to stop and get some persimmons,” she said, and Peter turned down the radio to hear her better. The light was soft against his pale-green eyes. He had shaved this morning. He always liked to for his mother.
“Stop now?” Peter made a motion to suggest turning around.
“No, no, later is fine.” A woman pulled apples from a tree in her front yard. She placed them carefully in a burlap sack that rested over her shoulder.
It had been four weeks and five days since she confronted him. She’d been using his computer when the text came through from another woman. “Miss you too.” She clicked on the text box and scrolled through their correspondence. They had met at a wine bar. There was witty banter and “when can I see you?” By the time she reached the back-and-forth planning of a weekend getaway, a panic had spread throughout her chest and the lines went blurry.
“We can go whenever you like,” he said. He smiled and waved at the woman and then turned toward her. He looked content. Anna’s mood immediately turned sour.