THE ART OF ADULTERY - angela rydell

Jenny sat three tables from her lover’s wife, idly sketching the woman’s face, amused by the natural narrowness of her eyes, how far apart they were. As if this made it harder to see, distance a feature of her being. She drew the high, broad brow, unfurrowed. Not the kind of woman who holds onto worries. She would let go. Move on. Jenny fleshed out the angular cheekbones, weak chin, wondering if she chose Dean partly because his wife made him an easy choice. Small, petite, barely an obstacle. Though not without beauty. Jenny sometimes wished she too had eyebrows as shapely. Lips as full, held in a mild, faultless smile. Jenny set her pencil down, couldn’t bring herself to edit slight exaggerations—a hardening of the jawline, an uneven complexion—or finish the lines pulling at the corners of the woman’s mouth and eyes. But could she leave it like this? She had the urge to get closer, take a long and careful look. Drop a spoon, roughly scrape her chair back, force Dean’s wife to look up, stare her right in the eye. Then Jenny would decide what changes she needed to make.

Angela Rydell
The Corrections
Jonathan Franzen