Afternoon Shadows

The day was like any other August day as Wayne Miller walked into the sunny, spotless kitchen of his suburban home. It had been a hard day at the office, but a quick shower once he'd gotten home had alleviated some of the stress. Now, it was all just a matter of time before his wife arrived home from wherever she was, presumably on some basic domestic errand. To kill time, he decided to inspect his grilling equipment. He walked to the drawer where the utensils were kept, pulling out each stainless steel blade by its smooth wooden handle, checking the blade for spots or signs of wear.

The was the familiar low rumble of a car pulling onto the driveway; his wife's new 2006 Dodge Neon, he recognized the engine's sounds by now. The familiar scratch of a key being inserted into the front door followed, and sunlight and a gust of warm air poured into the living room, which Wayne looked into through the half wall of the kitchen.

"Hello, honey," said his wife Anne pleasantly, closing the door behind her with a cute kick as she carried two grocery bags into the kitchen. "How was work today?"

"Rough; Mr. Henderson was on my back all day about the Pryce account."

"Aw, I'm sorry Wayne. Maybe we'll take some of that tension off in a little bit?" Anne suggested mischievously.

"I've been looking forward to that all day," he replied with a grin. "Any more groceries that I can help you with?"

"No, just these two bags. I saw that we were a little low on a couple of things that we'll need for dinner with the Morgans tomorrow, and some little ideas for tonight: Lemon juice, salt too, and I couldn't remember if you liked the Buttermilk Ranch dressing or the regular, so I got them both."

"Well, there's no harm in having some extra ranch around," Wayne said distractedly, his voice muffled from the wood of a cupboard he was currently rooting through. "Say, Anne? I can't find my grilling tongs anywhere."

"I put them in the dishwasher this morning dear," Anne said as she began to put the groceries away. "Also, before you start to worry, I already got your drill out of the basement. It's underneath the sink."

"You did? Great! What size bit did you put in it?"

"I wasn't sure which one you would want tonight, so I just grabbed them all."

"Sounds great, dear. Oh, do we still have any skewers? You know, the shish ka-bob kind?"

"Um, if we do, they'd be in the drawer right next to the silverware. Do we have any?"

"Yeah," Wayne said, sifting through the drawer. "Do you think we'll want wood or metal?"

"Wood, definitely," she replied, finishing with putting the groceries away and grabbing a large leather satchel from under the sink. Into it she placed the salt and lemon juice. "Do you have all the silverware we'll need, dear?"

"Yep, right here," he replied, grabbing the bundle in two big handfuls and dumping them into the satchel as well. "Shall we, baby?"

"Love to, sweetie," Anne said, kissing her husband sweetly. The two walked over to the garage door and Anne grabbed the handle, then turned to her husband and said "Oh, Wayne? Could you turn out the lights? Wouldn't want anyone distracting us tonight!"

"Absolutely, darling!" he said with a grin. He almost skipped over to the light switch and flicked it, watching shadows fall across the countertops.

It's an interesting thing, he mused, to watch shadows appear just under the surface of sunlight. There's almost a tangible line between the two, where the difference between the two is so apparent that it takes your breath away. One half murky and unclear, as if God himself poured used mop water into the air, and the other half bright, warm, inviting.

And yet, if you look too hard, all you see in the sunlight is a million little specks of dust and filth.

With a shrug, he walked back to the open door into the garage. He took one last glance at the sunlight filtering into his kitchen before joining his wife in the garage with their tools for the night, and the wide-eyed, terrified, trussed and gagged cheerleader tied to a chair.