The Anniversary Game

A/N: A quick flash fiction. 

Every year Eleanor Perry divorced her husband.

It was always around the middle of May, at the stroke of noon. It was true that midnight would have been more dramatic, but she honestly didn’t feel like having to stay up.

Eleanor loved her husband almost as much as she hated him. He was infuriating in every sense of the word. It was one thing that he was always mocking her, always embarrassing her and always making her feel like a little child – all of this she could forgive.

What she couldn’t forgive was how much he loved her.

He never tried to hide it. He was as brutally honest about his love for her as he was about everything else. He seemed to think it the greatest joke of his life.

“I want a divorce,” she said as she barged into the living room, and Roger looked up with his familiar sardonic smile. He was sitting alone, smoking one of those hated Cuban cigars that made the entire living room smell for days. He had been expecting her.

“Of course, my dear pet,” he told her. “But pour me a whiskey first, will you?”

She stomped over and poured him the drink.

“You drink too much,” she said as she handed it to him with so much force that half the whiskey ended up on his shirt instead.

“I absolutely do,” he agreed with her. “Is that why you want to divorce me?”

She looked at him with as much dignity as she could muster. “You treat me like a child.”

He laughed softly. “My dear pet, you are a child.”

“Am not. I’m almost thirty.”

He smiled at her, and she hated the soft look in his eyes. “You are? Time does fly by. Seems it was only yesterday I convinced you to run away with me. How old were you, dear pet? Nineteen?”


“A child.”

“And you were an old man.”

He grinned at her. “I prefer distinguished,” he told her. “So you want to divorce me for treating you like a child? Did it really take you ten years to discover that particular trait of mine?”

“I tried to divorce you last year,” she reminded him tensely. “And the year before that.”

“So you did.” He pulled her down so that she found herself in his lap. “And why, dear pet, are we not yet divorced?”

She looked at him and that hated sardonic smile. “Because I love you,” she said.

“Then why ask for a divorce to begin with?”

“Because I hate you.”

“Ah. What an intriguing riddle. Of course you know that I can’t just let you divorce me.”

“That’s not really something you decide.”

“No. But you love me and I shall use this knowledge as only the worst of men might. After all, my dear pet, I am not a kind man.”

He was though. At least to her. For all his teasing and mocking, he always seemed to strive to give her what she needed, before she realised what it was herself. What she needed though. Not what she wanted. He’d stayed with her through her childish tantrums, through her shallow crush on another man, and through all the hardships she’d endured. And he never seemed to love her as much as he did when he wasn’t sure if she was really, truly and irrevocably his.

Perhaps that was why they every year went through this farce.

“I’ve already contacted the lawyer.”

“Of course you have.”

“And signed the papers. I only need your signature.”

He laughed again, and kissed the spot under her ear. “You must be aware, my dear pet, that I will do no such thing.”

She was.

“Don’t you want me to be happy?” she demanded of him.

“I do. Which is why I won’t sign a damn thing.”

“I need my freedom.”

“What a load of crap. When have I ever stifled you, dear pet? When have I ever been an obstacle for your ambition?”

“I could travel the world.”

“By all means go. I’m not holding you back.”

“Discover my passions.”

“If there is one thing you don’t need, dear pet, it’s more passion.”

“Fall in love all over again.”

“Haven’t we already been through that particular stupidity?”

She wrestled herself free of his embrace.

“I hate you,” she told him, while really saying that she loved him. More than she hated him. Always more.

He pulled her down again and he was looking at her as if she was a piece of art he didn’t understand. Intriguing, infuriating and provocative.

“I love you too,” he whispered against her skin, and she sighed as he kissed her again, allowing him to distract her as he did every year.

It was the last they spoke of divorce until the following May.

36 thoughts on “The Anniversary Game

  1. Thanks for liking my recent post! I think you write much better than I do. I also like your present title, the only alternative I can come up with would be “The Periodic Petitioner”. But I think your working title is already just fine the way it is.

    All best wishes,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Delightful read. However, I am glad my two divorces were abrupt and done decades ago. Bachelor over 30 years but still got benefits of children and grandchildren. If I did not know better I’d say Mark Twain wrote this as you’e captured his style perfectly !

    Liked by 1 person

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