Nowhere to Hide

Shannon Sweetnam

It all began one of those warm September evenings, one of those beautiful late summer nights you often find people wishing they had something better to do than take out the trash, wishing they had picked this week to go camping or vacationing up north in one of those four-star resorts you find at the end of mile-long driveways through the Wisconsin woods. Though fall was fast approaching, no one has worried yet about putting away their patio furniture or stocking up on rakes or calling to get the furnace tuned-up. The whole neighborhood acted merry and everyone went about having a damn good time and there was no where for Paul and Annie to hide.

If they’d listened to the priest who’d told them that first year of marriage would be the hardest of all, they might not have tried so hard to fight it, but fought it they did, and if they ever knew how to do anything well it was make each other miserable. Oh sure, they had a lot of great times, but they both had a lot against them from the start, and how they ever managed to stay together is a mystery.

There was something in Paul that demanded a strong woman with definite opinions. He didn’t care what she believed in, so long as she believed in something. That is, until he met Annie, who held precarious views on everything from food to politics, who neither knew who she was nor what she wanted.

Annie worked for a temp agency in Chicago. The work was mostly secretarial. It required precision and organization and speed. Annie wasn’t that good at it, but everyone seemed to get along with her anyway. After all, she was only temporary. It was something to do while she ironed out her plans. Annie was full of plans. She had the idea to be a massage therapist, another to go around selling hot kettle corn at the farmer’s markets. Well, she’d had lots of ideas, but nothing worked out. Her friends didn’t understood why she didn’t have a real job and why she’d bought a 140 quart stainless kettle popper and then left it in the corner of her apartment. As they all began to marry, they worried about her not worrying about dating anyone seriously, but Annie just brushed it off. She wasn’t in a hurry for anything, she never had been. But then she met Paul.

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