12. Broken doll

When Roberto arrived home that day at noon o’ clock, the lunch was not ready and his wife was not there. At least, she wasn’t in the kitchen as he expected to find her. On autopilot, Roberto began to walk around the house looking for her, even if all his senses were telling him that the house was empty.

He went downstairs, looking for his wife, Sandra, in the laundry room of the tavern, hoping to find her taking out the dry laundry from the dryer, her brand new toy. But she wasn’t there and a beige sack of dirty clothes was still full. He climbed up again and went to the back garden, pleased at the idea of catching Sandra sharing some family leftovers with stray cats and birds, as she used to do in the sunny days. But she wasn’t there nor were the cats and the birds. He took another tour of the kitchen, calling her out loud, but no one answered.

Then, he climbed upstairs and reached their bedroom. He remembered that a day, before the end of that summer, he had found his wife sniffing some of the oldest baby clothes of their son, Marco. Maybe his talking about getting out from the family house to live with some friends in the city while studying Philosophy had saddened her again. But she wasn’t there either, the bed had been done with less care than usual and a wet towel had been abandoned on the floor. Annoyed, Roberto entered the bathroom, to throw the dirty towel in the laundry bag, and caught his son in the act of shaving his whole head. Half of his thick blonde hair was already in the sink.

They looked at one another for some time without a word, the hair clipper buzzing in the air.
” Do you need the bathroom?”
“No. Where’s your mother?”
“She’s not in the kitchen?”
Marco shook his shoulders and got back to shave his head. His father took out the plug of his hair clipper from the socket. The boy, a lean and nervous late teenager, bare naked from the waist up, sighed.
“I’ll clean everything up before mum sees it.”
“Do you know where she is?”
“No. I mean… don’t worry. I’ll clean everything as soon as I finish.”
“That’s the least you can do!”
Said the man raising his voice. His son nodded and stretched out a hand.
“The plug…”
“Your mother!”
The boy took the hair clipper plug out from his father’s hand.
“Please, dad. Where could she possibly be?”
The boy plugged the hair clipper in the mirror socket and the machine buzzed again.
“Oh! Your grandma’s house!”
“Where else?”
“Did your mother told you something before she went outside or leave something in the kitchen ready to be just warm up a little?”
“I didn’t see her. I woke about ten minutes ago. But you can call her at grandmas if you are in a hurry.”
“I can’t deal with your grandmother with an empty stomach.”
The two of them looked at the mirror at the same time, one with a question in his eyes and the other rather worried. One had half his head shaved and the other had white thick hair. One had black marks under his youthful eyes, the other wrinkles and years. Apart from those minor differences, they seemed to be almost the same man. They both had a well-designed squared chin. They both had a light complexion and were a little shorter than average. They both have had casual sex the night before.

That morning around ten, Sandra felt a bit cold. Surprisingly, it was late and she was not dressed up yet. She was still seated on the side of her bed, naked, a wet towel wrapped around her body.

“What was I doing? – She asked herself – That dream was so sad…”

She stood up, letting the towel fall to the floor. She reached her lingerie drawer to grab a bra and a pair of panties but could not find something she wanted to wear. All her undies were plain and sad. All the bras were wired bras with large straps, non-padded whole cups and old style lace. They were white, nude and black. The black ones, more than sad looked totally miserable and gross. The same was of her panties. They were white, nude and black old panties of the high waisted kind, provided with a shaping pad in the front, to prevent the belly to bulge outside the clothes. She closed the drawer on the verge of tears.

“My clothes are so wrong!”

With a sigh, she opened her husband’s drawer. Male underpants and boxers greeted her with lively colours and prints. She took out a pair of yellow briefs with a fantasy of small green pineapples and extended it between her two indexes to test their elasticity.

“Let’s see…”
She put the underpants on and was shocked. She didn’t expect to be able to wear them but the cotton was soft and the elastic band did not hurt her at all. Her husband used to make a lot of fuss around her size but, in the end, it appeared to be the same as his. She looked herself in the mirror, the same mirror where she had caught all that sadness just one hour before and felt great. She loved how the cotton embraced her hips and how the briefs legs ended just under her square butt. Still, she needed a bra. Her breast was too big to allow her to walk comfortably without one. She reached again the wardrobe mirror as she had done one hour ago, but this time not to touch her sad reflexion, but to open the door and fumble some bags full of her sister-in-law Christmas presents. She used to give a lot of sport and dance attire in desperate attempts to persuade her joining a gym or one of her dance courses.

“Got it!”
She had found a nice green spandex vest with built-in bra cups to match her husband panties. She put it on and felt even greater than the minute before. In the same bag, she found also a pair of blue navy cotton leggings and a Christmas card from her brother’s former wife, Gioia. She put on the leggings, she stole a pair of yellow socks to her husband and furtively opened her son’s bedroom door.

The air smelt of alcohol and her son was asleep on the bed all dressed. She entered the room as silent as a cat, she stole a plaid shirt black and blue from the pile of freshly ironed shirts on the chair beside the bed and left. Two floors downstairs, in the tavern, she stole a light bomber jacket that his son had not used since the spring before, a pair of old red canvas sneakers high around the ankle and went outside with a childish giggle.

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