The argument that had started before they left the house – before, even, they had learned that they would have to leave the house at all – continued as they drove. Jacob gripped the steering wheel with white knuckled hands, channelling his anger into the car instead of out at his wife, Barbara.
Barbara sat next to him, seething silently, her own hand wrapped together, her own knuckles just as white as her husband’s. One would soon break the deadlock, but neither wanted to be the first. The air was heavy with upset.
Jacob broke first. “You still not speaking to me, Barb?” he asked, an edge of irritation in the question.
“Should I be?” asked Barbara, glad that she hadn’t been the first to speak. Wondering whether she had heard any hint of contrition in Jacob’s words, she spoke hesitantly. “You sorry yet?”
Jacob had to make a choice. Either they could arrive at his mother’s not speaking, or they could arrive on good terms. Would it make any difference? Probably not. If they hadn’t reconciled they’d just put on a show for the family anyway, neither able to face anyone knowing that they’d had a major disagreement. And yet… revenge would be sweeter if Barbara thought the problem was solved.
“Course I am, Barb,” he said, placing his hand on her knee and squeezing. “Course.”
Barbara smiled. They both plotted vengeance.