from Chapter 2: His best is yet to come.
Marie stood in the walk-in closet of the master bedroom, looking at Oskar’s clothes. Shirts pressed and all in order, more suits and sport coats than he needed. Not a pair of jeans, blue or otherwise. Few casual shoes. In life, he was vain and bought new every season, giving away things no longer in fashion. He bought clothes for her according to his taste, not hers. On her side of the closet were dresses she’d never worn.
Marie pulled an elegant dark gray suit, fingering the Dormeuil. He’d worn it to some affair at the club that winter, she couldn’t remember which. He drank heavily at dinner and ridiculed her, telling a story about her losing the car keys while shopping, how they were later found in the organic vegetable section after he’d sent a spare key to her with a taxi driver. That much was true, but to embellish the story, he told their dinner companions that Marie rode home with the groceries and the cab driver, leaving the car at the market. She laughed along with the others when Oskar acknowledged that the last bit was fictional.
She removed the hanger, dropped it and the trousers to the floor. She carried the jacket into the bedroom, laid it on the king-size bed. Marie got a pair of scissors from her dresser and returned to sit on the edge of the bed. She considered the suit jacket for a moment and then began snipping off its buttons one by one, including the useless, decorative ones on the cuffs of the sleeves. She held the coat up for a moment, returned it to her lap and snipped out the lining. Humming softly, she continued the dismemberment by lopping off circles from the right sleeve. A long spiral in the left sleeve, all the way to the shoulder. Marie held the butchered jacket up to consider her handwork. She cut away most of the breast pocket so it hung limp.
She nodded, dropped the jacket on the floor and returned to look from more in the closet.
Two hours later, when Naomi came upstairs to ask what Marie wanted for supper, there was an impressive pile of Oskar’s re-tailored clothes on the floor. The widow was intently scissoring the crotch out of a pair of dress slacks.
“What are we doing now, Missus?” Naomi asked.
Without looking up, Marie said: “A woman’s work is never done.”
Naomi approached, holding out her hand for the scissors. “You can give me those now, Missus. Enough work for one day.”
Marie looked up, nodded and slowly offered the scissors. “It will go a lot faster with the hedge clippers.”