His wife did not love him. He knew that now.
In truth, he had suspected that his dear bride did not truly love him on the day they were wed. She had smiled throughout her vows. She had laughed in their outings. She blushed when she saw her ring.
But it never felt right.
She only seemed to love him only halfway. As a man loved his car, or as a child loves a bike, or as a lady loves a new dress, so did she love him. Not in the way she was supposed to love him. But she did at least love him, even if it was the wrong way, and that was good enough for him.
Even though, two years into marriage, her half-love had dissolved into only a mild fondness. Even though she only gave him plastic smiles. Even though she never looked him in the eyes anymore, but far beyond them, as if wishing she gazed into the eyes of another.
Sometimes, he felt strange about his marriage - as if something didn't fit. Never mind, he'd made it fit. He was good at that.
Even among certain… maladjustments, he still had his queen, she had her king, and his kingdom was as it should be.
Then came the ghost. He never really gave much concern to ghosts before. Certainly they existed, but they were also fancies of a young man, and he had the wisdom to grow out of them. (If only his wife were so wise.) What's more, the ghosts were in their world, and he in his, and the two would never cross over, so there was no need to be concerned. Of ghosts, he was unconcerned and Of ghosts, he was unconcerned and undeniably unafraid.
The ghost in his home was an ulcer in his stomach and frost down his backbone. He did not know where it had come from, or what it wanted, or why it disturbed him so, and he did not care.
It had the audacity to frighten him in his own home, and that was reason enough to melt it down to ectoplasm.
Then his wife smiled at the thing. It was anything but plastic.
He knew then were far superior reasons to abhor this ghost.
Under the influence of Sunkist, I was listening to Voltaire's "Snakes", started thinking of Vladdie in his wacky "Masters of All Time" timeline, and then this drabble happened. (Lyrics like "All the while you claimed the ghost in you lives, but it's dead" did not help)
Plus, I wanted to fiddle with the idea that everyone in that altenate timeline knew something was off, ie: "You think I care? I LIKE it this way!"