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The kitchen’s flavours and smells permeated the air of the room. Swift movements stirred soups, cut up pieces of bread, and flipped pages of the cookbook guiding the whole process. The window, while slightly smudged with fingerprints and dust and dirt, was caressing the light coming through, dividing it into a million colours that hit specific parts of the room. Red tomatoes sat down on a counter as they waited to be chopped up. While the boiling soup had excited Curley’s wife’s sense of smell, and the occasional nibble at the bread excited her sense of taste, her sense of hearing was almost mute.
Sounds were gone; the men had left to tend the fields. She sat down on the chair across from the stove, and stared into the window. She could make out the rays of light dashing through every second, giving her vivid warmth. They felt as if they had sound. She sighed, and the whole room could finally breathe again, as it was comforted by the sound of her breath. Curley’s wife slowly rose from the chair, and shuffled up to the window. She stuck out her hand so it could be bathed in warmth. She followed the ray down to the counter, where it split into a rainbow. She counted each one.
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet… “I coulda shined… ” she muttered. There was no answer. She had forgotten that loneliness was not a person. It was a disease. A bastard disease, she thought. No good for nothing. She looked at the clock near the window above the stove. It read 4:47 PM. Curley would not be home before seven. Curley’s wife stared down at the soup. Curley’s wife began to sip at her soup with an ever-curious mind. But her mind was blank. No thought ran through her head. She sipped. She dipped her bread in the soup, chewed it. The food tasted bitter.
Suddenly, there was a thud on the front door; Curley was back. “What the hell is wrong with this woman?! ” he shouted impatiently. “Open up! “ Curley’s wife immediately stopped eating. “Comin’ honey, won’t be a minute”. A tone of surprise floated in her voice, obviously shocked to see Curley back so late. Before opening the door, she fumbled for a second, then pulled out a cool silver ring which she held in her warm palm. Carelessly, she slipped it onto her finger and continued down the stairs. She composed herself and opened the door. “Oh Curley, I’ve been so worried – I’ve been lookin’ ‘round for you everywhere.
” She shuddered at the sight of Curley’s crippled and disfigured fist. “My, what’s happened to your hand? ” Curley snatched it from her view. “Nothin’, got caught in a…machine,” he mumbled. “Well, you better sit down. I’ll get you something to drink. ” Curley’s Wife shortly returned with a small glass filled to the brim with an amber liquid. She handed it to Curley who was now sprawled over his armchair and she took a seat on the broad arm of Curley’s chair. She brought her hand to her gold-streaked hair and gently twirled her fingers through her sausage curls. Her shoulders loosened and her breathing eased.
Curley sat up. His eyes locked onto hers; she was a cowering mouse under his command. Fuming with a reddened face, Curley begun his assault. “Oh drop the charade, it aint foolin’ no-one! For God’s sake, take a look at yourself – you’re a mess! ” “Wa-watta you mean? ” her voice wavered. “I’ve seen you. All you been doin’ is givin’ them men the eye. ” She looked aghast. “Yeah that’s right, you think I don’t see, but I do. You’re just another one of those whores at Clara’s place. ” “I dunno what you’re talking’ about Curley. ” She stood up and turned away. “You’re not feelin’ well.
I’ll see you in the mornin’,” she said calmly, moving swiftly across the room. Curley was not finished. “Come here,” he demanded sternly. She stopped and stood motionless, but her eyes screamed desperately for help. “Come here! ” he repeated stubbornly. She obeyed. “Closer. ” As she drew closer, Curley stood menacingly with his left hand by his side and his glove lay torn on the floor. It was purple and sore. There were deep gashes where nails had been dug into his flesh. Curley’s hand reached out, cupping her powdered face in his vice grip, then he pulled it towards his – his hot breath spewing over her.
Curley’s hold tightened and a loud yelp escaped the woman’s crimson lips. Curley let go. “Not this time Curley, I won’t let you,’ she warned. But his hand flung at her, delivering an almighty clap to her face. She was reduced to her knees and she sobbed gently, soothing the blow with her right hand. “No-one tells me what to do! ” he bellowed. Slowly, he knelt down beside her and clenched his hand into a fist. He brought it under her glare so she could smell his anger, and whispered into her ear, “Now, you’re not gonna say a word. Alright? ”