A Terrible Weed (Story by Risa Peris)

In the deep core of love is evil. One cannot love without knowing the deep, elemental scar of hate. I loved Randall. It was not immediate. We worked together for three years and then began dating. The office we worked at, a publishing house in Chelsea, thought of us as a couple long before we were a couple. We married, bought a house, had two children, and then Randall got a job at a scientific company doing technical editing that paid more. Working together put an odd strain on our relationship. Grievances and grudges were executed at the office and we became quite entertaining to our coworkers.

There is a day in London when you feel the shift from summer to autumn. You close your windows and retrieve the heavier blankets. Children notice it too by picking up leaves from the ground.

“Oh, it is a new season.” After reluctantly leaving the bed I took the children for a walk to a bakery four blocks away. Jenny was three and Mikey was four. They walked very slowly and sometimes ran, but neither failed to pick up a leaf when they saw one.

It was a Saturday and Randall said he had things to do at the office. As we crossed the street, I saw Randall by a fountain tugging on a woman’s sweater and then zipping it for her. They kissed passionately and the woman giggled. Randall grasped her hand and they walked on – intertwined like an octopus holding its prey. The children were absorbed with the leaves they had collected and I stood in the street stunned. Cars honked at me. The children had already moved to the sidewalk and were yelling, “Mommy.”

I ran to Jenny and Mikey and hugged them. It was then I began to plot Randall’s death. I gave no thought to depriving the children of their father. Yes. At the core of love is evil. Beware all of you in love. Goodness does not always beget goodness. Even as I clung to my treasures, I wanted to root out Randall like a terrible weed scarring a lovely garden.