Ozzie Ausband



She heard his Volvo backing out of the garage and rolled over under the blankets. “Ugh…” She sighed and rubbed her eyes. The numbers were blurry on the bedside clock radio. She reached a hand across and pulled it closer. 6:04 am. He’d be late for work. He had a two hour drive to Los Angeles ahead of him. He probably felt as hungover as she did. “Fuck him…” she mumbled. She could only hope he was miserable. Last night they had finally had it out. She pulled a pillow under her head and sat up. She lit a cigarette with long delicate fingers and exhaled. A blue cloud drifted across her bedroom. She felt hollow. Two weeks earlier, she had been afraid to find out, what she already knew. Then she found out. Another lover. Her name was Holly and he’d been meeting with her for a few weeks now. Crying, she tried to gather herself together. They’d been married for twelve years. They built this house together.



She looked at the red bricks and tile floors. Opulent wood beams shouldered the roof trusses. Persian rugs spread across the cold tile floor. A fireplace loomed in the den. Windows stretched across the front of the house. A vista. Panoramic. Neighbors were few. Big Bear Lake was just up the mountain. Hills marched off into the distance and trees stood tall in the morning air. She padded through the house in her slippers and continued looking outside. Hummingbirds fluttered near the front windows… idyllic. In her current situation, the beauty around her was but a cold reminder of what she truly lacked. She had so much, yet the very man that she thought she knew best had become a sullen stranger. In his emptiness, he became contagious. His emptiness was her emptiness. Misery exchange. They could no longer touch each other except in mutual pain. Deprivation. The enormity of their problem could not be contained within the walls of their gorgeous house. She cooked some eggs and made coffee.


Glancing out, the pool glimmered below. They hadn’t swam in it in a very long time. She absently stabbed at her eggs with a fork and recalled the first year they were together in the house. He had built a fire pit near the pool and they would make love on a blanket beside it at night. They’d talk for hours. Everything he said seemed interesting and every interest was shared. No more. Vacuum. She cleaned up the dishes and took a sleeping pill. She only wanted rest.  It wouldn’t be long… Within an hour, she had slipped into the dark void of sleep.

Wild Fire In California

That afternoon, flames licked at the foundation and timbers sparked alight. Fire spilled over the wooden beams and caught the carpets and drapes. Inferno. Nothing could survive. Nothing did. Nothing. As the flames consumed all of his past, a Volvo drove slowly out of the driveway… - Ozzie