It is a small dark space and it is moving
Thomas wears a light brown sport jacket and is hunched over eating mashed potatoes. Melinda sits across the table and watches him carefully.
-Why do you do that?
-Eat like that.
-You’re eating your sides and letting your main course get cold.
-I didn’t really think about it.
-Well you’re paying the bulk of the money for the pork chop, so I don’t understand letting it go to waste like that.
-I’m still going to eat it.
-But it’s cold; I just think you’d enjoy it more if it was warm.
-Okay, I’ll think about it more next time.
-I don’t know why you didn’t think about it this time.
A waitress stops by the table and refreshes their drinks. She tells Thomas that she likes his ring and says it reminds her of steam punk art, and then shows Thomas a tattoo on her wrist that has a similarly jointed retro look to it. He tells her that it’s neat, then turns back to his food.
Melinda watches the waitress walk back to the kitchen.
-What was that about?
-I don’t know.
-Do you know her?
-Where did you get that ring again?
-A shop in Hamden. I don’t know if it’s even there anymore.
-No one bought it for you? Because it looks like it was a gift.
-I just don’t see you buying something like that.
-No, I did. I think I was just bored.
-Her skirt is really short.
-Oh, I hadn’t noticed.
The remainder of dinner is incident free. During dessert Melinda inquires as to when Thomas is going to get a better job so that he can help her put a down payment on a house in Mount Washington. He has been looking for some time, but has not been terribly inspired by his options, or to the idea of living with Melinda, despite his being engaged to her.
He drives her back to her apartment and moves in to give a kiss, but is dodged and given a kiss on the cheek instead. They exchange “I love you’s” and he drives home feeling familiarly unfulfilled. His apartment is on the tenth floor of a well-regarded building in downtown Baltimore. He is not particularly fond of animals, but upon hearing of Melinda’s allergy to cats, quickly adopted one and named it kernel as a means to delay cohabitation for as long as possible.
Their dinner this evening was supposed to be a casual discussion concerning the guest list for their wedding, however descended into what has now become fairly standard squabbling. He’s fairly sure he loves Melinda. The feeling comes and goes, but he feels it more times than less, so figures that things aren’t too bad. Thomas Newton is 26, 5’9.5”, 140 lbs., wears silver rimmed glasses with ¼” thick lenses , has brown eyes, black hair and walks with consistently bad posture; a fact that is pointed out to him at least once a week as of late.
The sparsely furnished apartment smells vaguely of cat urine and burnt toast. Thomas opens his refrigerator, gets a beer and sits down in front of his computer to engage in what he considers his only guilty pleasure. It was entirely accidental, but after a more spirited than usual fight with Melinda he came home to view internet pornography and saw a video featuring a girl who he was almost certain was Melinda. After multiple viewings, screen captures, pausing and the like, he determined that the actress was not her, but had been unexpectedly satisfied at seeing this girl repeatedly sodomized and humiliated. So began Thomas’s habit of ending arguments without much bravado so he could go home and watch what his eyes determined was Melinda being tied upside down and used like a sexual piñata for hours on end.