He loved hats.
Had always loved them.
And, in her turn, it was what she loved about him. When he was gone for days or weeks at a time, she would finder herself wandering into the closet, drawn there like a compass finding its’ North, and running her fingers over them.
They were always carefully ordered on their special rack, placed in accordance of style and, of course, how much he liked them. Bowler hats, top hats, derbies…. Even a single, mistakenly-purchased beanie, which both of them swiftly came to regret.
She touched them all, slowly, reverently, seeing, in her mind’s eye, each one perched, just so, on top of his head.
It was a production – one that she looked forward to every morning. She would sit perched on the edge of the bed, from which she could see his reflection in the bathroom mirror, watching as he emerged from the shower in a cloud of steam and stood before it.
She watched every morning as he arranged his hair.
Yes, reader, he arranged his hair, as one would arrange a vase of flowers or a clandestine meeting – there was no other word for it.
She looked forward to the selection of the hat each morning, as he approached the rack, ceremoniously made his choice and, with a delicate touch, placed the hat upon his head, just so – no other placement was an option. And when he wore a hat, reader, one got the impression that there was no other way that hat could – or indeed, should – be worn.
He was a vain man. He knew it. They both did. It was, reader, something she forgave him for. Because, reader, that is the sort of thing you do when you love someone.
You forgive them.
Life hummed along merrily for the two, as it tends to do. Things were not perfect – they never are. Dishwashers broke and mysterious inkspots were discovered on favorite shirts. But in general, life proceeded as it is wont to do, disorderly as that may be.
Until, that is, the day he came home without a hat. She had arrived home from work early, as was her habit. She’d already rolled up her sleeves and popped the roast into the oven. And she was starting to mix together the ingredients for some muffins when he arrived home.
She had an egg in each hand when he entered the kitchen. And she did not notice those eggs cracking, cheerful yellow yolks sliding to the floor, as she stared at him.
“George,” she said, staring blankly at him. “You’re not wearing a hat.”
George lifted a hand to his head, feeling the empty air as though the absent hat might magically appear.
“No,” he said. “I’m not. I must have forgotten it at the office.”
She said nothing. She merely stared at him for a few more moments. She had nothing to say. For indeed, reader, what can one say when confronted with such an obvious, clear piece of information?
Nothing, reader. There is nothing to say. Even when one is almost completely certain that the information is false.
Prompt: Hat, Fidelity, Deceive
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