portion of the artwork for Vallie Lynn Watson's fiction

Veronica and Husband
Vallie Lynn Watson

How They Met

Ten years earlier, when Veronica had gone back to Birmingham for the first time, the day she arrived she went for lunch at the mall restaurant where she used to waitress. She wanted to sit and have a mug of beer and decide who, if anyone, she was going to contact while she was there.

Dylan and his parents were in a booth by the front door. He saw her and half-stood, pausing like he was making sure it was her. “You used to work here.” He put his index finger on his temple.

“Yes, I did,” she said and looked at his parents. “Hi. It’s been a long time.”

“Last we heard you disappeared after the funeral,” his mother said.

Veronica felt anger for the first time in years but didn’t let it show. “You didn’t come. Any of you.” She smiled and looked at Dylan. “You were one of my best friends.”

“To the funeral of a whore and her poor husband? No, we didn’t,” Dylan’s mother said.

Dylan’s father said, “Stop it,” and stood up, took Veronica’s forearm in his hand, and walked with her outside. “I’m sorry dear. This is my fault. Your mother was precious to me. She’d be so proud of you.”

Veronica left, went to the airport, arranged for the next flight. She found the airport bar and sat down next to a man she would marry six months later. He was reading Gone with the Wind. He said he was from Phoenix. She later found out he’d never read the book, just carried it around.

Their Wedding

They married alone, at the resort in Jamaica. Veronica’s mother would have had the wedding at their historic Birmingham church, reception at the country club, guests invited on 100-percent-cotton rag.
His Family

Her husband was the only child of an only child. The parents and the grandparents lived together in a huge modern Phoenix home. He called Veronica from his parents’ house one evening to tell her about the little blonde mutt he’d found, and when the conversation ended he didn’t replace the receiver properly, and Veronica heard his mother scream obscenities at him, calling him a no-good cocksucker, worthless son of a bitch, and so on. She listened for almost five minutes. Veronica didn’t hear her husband respond. When the mother-in-law finally stopped, Veronica heard a steady snap that sounded like someone beating out a carpet.

Return to Archive

FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 34 | Fall 2011