The barista handed me the coffee cup and smiled warmly and wished me a good day. The name scribbled onto the cup by the cashier caught my attention and I was too distracted to thank her or return the nicety. The word ‘Cark’ was scrawled in an almost unreadable hand. It took me a moment to realise that when I had said it was Marc with a ‘C’ her brain had failed to comprehend how that would be spelled and that Cark made absolutely no sense in any language. That’s what you get with Art majors I suppose.
I added the necessary two sugars and cream and started stirring aimlessly as I watched the news headlines scroll along the bottom of the TV near the door. Suddenly bright red graphics appeared all over the screen and the footage cut away from a fluff piece about puppies in nursing homes back to the news anchor. The words ‘President Clinton Assassinated’ and ‘Breaking News’ covered the bottom half of the screen. I stopped stirring and stared for several seconds until I realised that the news anchor was flustered and rapidly spewing out words that I couldn’t hear.
“Turn that up,” somebody behind me called out before I could form the words myself.
One of the staff clearly found the remote instantly as the crowded coffee shop fell silent for a second and then was flooded by the news anchor’s voice. She was spouting an unbelievable string of words. Something about a high powered rifle and witnesses seeing somebody fleeing the area in a gray hoodie. When she started to repeat herself over and over, but wasn’t providing any more information I managed to pull myself away. I abandoned my coffee on the counter, the caffeine wasn’t going to wake me up any more than the shock had managed to. As I made my way outside the President’s death was all anybody could talk about. It was all anybody was going to be talking about for a long time. I realised that there was no point going back into work. Nothing was going to get done. I headed for the subway deciding that going home was the best option.
There were still so many people on the way home that hadn’t seen or heard what had happened. They were just continuing on with their lives like normal, commuting to their daily business. I didn’t feel that I should have to be the one to tell them so I kept to myself like normal and watched and listened as the news slowly started to spread.
When I unlocked the front door and stepped inside I could hear metallic clicks and shuffling from the kitchen. Katie wasn’t supposed to be home yet, but I guessed she had decided to come home after hearing the news as well.
“Hey babe,” I called out, kicking off my shoes into the pile beside the door and hanging my coat on the hooks.
The noise from the kitchen stopped and the house fell eerily silent.
“Babe,” I said again but there was no response. She mustn’t have been home after all. I headed towards the kitchen to see what had been making the noise if it wasn’t Katie.
I stepped through the arched entryway and turned into the centre of the kitchen, freezing with my mouth agape.
Katie was standing still in front of the table with disbelief on her face. But no it couldn’t have been her. She was wearing a gray hoodie and there was something on the table behind her. It looked like a rifle stock and a barrell.
“You weren’t supposed to come home,” she said, like it was my fault.
“What is going on?” I said, not letting the obvious pieces fall together to form the complete picture in my mind. I started taking slow steps forward to get a better view of what was actually on the table.
“Please Marc…” she began and held her palms towards me to make me stop, “…Do you trust me?”
“I…” How could I answer that? The woman I’d known since the seventh grade. Who I’d been married to for nearly ten years. The person I thought I knew better than I knew myself. “…No.”