The power went out just after lunch. Jason and Lisa emerged from their respective home offices to the sound of howling winds and creaking tree branches.
“Well, at least we had our morning coffee.” Jason was scrubbing his hands through his hair and looking around the house. He did a quick mental inventory of how many candles they might have on hand.
“Coffee, sure, but I just fell off a video call with one of our suppliers. We don’t have time for this today.”
Jason and Lisa had met and bonded over hustle culture, and in the two years of their marriage they’d launched six different online businesses. Four had been successful. Not too bad. Even now they were turning the pandemic of 2020 into a money making enterprise. They’d had to develop workarounds for everything from raw goods to shipping, and they had to lay off their one employee, but things seemed to be going well. Profits up.
The brutal November storm brought high winds and rain and meant that it would be dark even earlier than usual. By late afternoon the world would be pitch black, so Jason piled the candles he’d been contemplating onto the kitchen table. He had less luck finding matches, but eventually dug an old matchbook out of a desk drawer and a candle lighter from the back of the kitchen closet.
Lisa plodded into the kitchen. She made a plate of sandwiches while she could see what she was doing, covered it with plastic wrap and popped it back into the dark fridge. She took out the wine glasses and opened a bottle of sweet red.
“A bit early isn’t it?”
Lisa just shrugged. They took their wine into the living room. Leaves were flying past the windows and the house groaned a bit. For a few minutes they sipped in silence.
About an hour later, Jason scooped the last of the Scrabble pieces back into the bag and put the game into the box. Even with all the available candles burning it was getting too dark to play.
“You hungry?” He figured since he was up he might as well get the sandwiches.
They ate in silence, and finished off a second bottle of wine. Both of them knew they could have been discussing business, but the internet was down and their phone batteries had already died, and without devices they felt lost.
The romantic things they always swore they’d do if they ever had time, bubble baths, sensual massage, making love in front of the fireplace, never happened. Instead they put on rain gear and walked down the block to see if the whole neighborhood was without power or if it was just their house. Dark. It was dark everywhere.
The next morning all the lights came on, the radio started blaring, and Jason and Lisa made their way into the kitchen for a pot of coffee. Then they each went into their respective offices to google divorce attorneys.
Karen Southall Watts teaches college Humanities in the Pacific Northwest. She’s been writing fiction under a super-secret pen name for years, in between work as an academic and business speaker, writer, and coach, she is a ~Professional Encourager~ and Author of The Solo Workday: Manage your time and gain new clients while working alone
“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson