A FEW NECESSARY HOUSEHOLD RULES FOR SYBIL
by Gay Degani
Don’t say a word.
Keep your mouth shut.
Unless he talks first.
And if he talks first, listen carefully.
Listen for his tone of voice, look up to see if he is looking down at you.
Don’t smile if he isn’t smiling, and bow your head. Wait to hear what he has to say.
Depending on what he says, adjust your face accordingly before you catch his eye.
When you catch his eye, you have to instantly assess what’s on his mind and respond accordingly.
If you misread this man and answer him with something he doesn’t want to hear, look down immediately and apologize in a gentle tone.
If your softest, sweetest voice doesn’t work, don’t grovel because that’s what he wants to see: you, with that frightened look on your face and the quiver in your voice.
Stay calm and wait and pray the kids are fast asleep and you remembered to shut the curtains and put away the pots and pans, your favorite vase is tucked under the sink, and the heavy metal Pandora station is just loud enough to cover your screams.
Gay Degani has received honors and nominations for her work including Pushcart consideration, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions. Her flash and short story work has appeared online, in print journals, and anthologies. She has published a collection of eight stories about mothers, Pomegranate, a full-length collection, Rattle of Want (Pure Slush Press, 2015) and a suspense novel, What Came Before (Truth Serum Press, 2016). She occasionally blogs at Words in Place.
Cover Design by Karen Rile