Bren & The Art Of Marital Maintenance

Bren & The Art Of Marital Maintenance

A Story by J.P. Paradise

Brenda experiences a mid-life crisis


Brenda unpacked her brushes and paints, all still sealed in their wrapping and bearing the price tag. She tore open the cellophane and laid the brushes neatly along the thin tray attached to the easel. The bristles shone, the metal ferrules caught the sunlight pouring in through the windows of the church hall and glinted with their newness. Even the wooden handles seemed to glow softly. She placed the plastic palette on the small table next to the easel and arranged the tubes of acrylic paints in a fan around it, lids facing inwards, ready for action.

Brenda, middle-aged and bored, had signed up for the life drawing classes after realising that her own life was in a rut. Malcolm, bless him, had let her be a kept woman as he earned a pretty penny, but she wondered exactly what her kept her for. It was not that she didn’t love him, it was just that the marriage lacked that special little spark. It wasn’t Malcolm’s fault he was exceptionally dull… or was it? She wasn’t sure. What she did know was that they didn’t do ‘it’ anymore, not even on birthdays or at Christmas. She had thought about an affair but ruled it out on the grounds that it was too messy and she was hopeless at lying but she still needed to do something fun, exciting, just a little bit dangerous. So painting people in the nude seemed risqué enough with the added bonus it was considered art instead smut. Tuesday afternoons were Malcolm’s golf sessions so it had all slotted into place rather conveniently.

She brushed the canvas lightly with her hand, staring at the blankness when she heard the door at the back of the hall open and the art teacher talking to someone as they entered, presumably the model. She resisted the urge to peek, breathed deeply and tried to steady her racing pulse; this was so exciting. The teacher told the model where to stand. There was the faint rustle of material as a dressing gown was removed. A cough; a male cough! They were going to be painting a man! Brenda could feel herself perspiring. Don’t look, don’t look she whispered to herself.

“Okay class, you may commence painting. Any questions, please raise your hand so as not to disturb the concentration of others,” the teacher said loudly.

This is it, this is it thought Brenda picking up a brush so as to look arty and peering around the edge of the canvas. As she set eyes on the model she gave a shrill scream of horror, dropping the brush and knocking over the easel. For there, naked as the day he was born apart from golf shoes and Argyle socks, clutching a 7 iron in a pose that concealed very little, was Malcolm.

© 2021 J.P. Paradise

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Added on July 14, 2021
Last Updated on July 14, 2021
Tags: mid-life crisis, short story


J.P. Paradise
J.P. Paradise

Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Occasional writer, serial procrastinator.I write tales that are sometimes comedic, often tragic, and nearly always very dark. Bad things happen to good people, even worse things happen to bad people.. more..