Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Category: Short Stories

What Could Have Happened

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Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

“Let’s not stand on ceremony.” she said “Just say what you want to say and get it over with.”

He stood there looking down at his boots, not daring to lift his eyes to hers. He knew he wouldn’t be able to go through with it if he did. He wouldn’t be able to say the words he needed to say to set him free if he had to see the disappointment and pain in her eyes. He promised to love her forever and now, well, he just didn’t and he couldn’t go on hiding it another day.

She suspected there was something going on for months, maybe even years. When they were first married, they slept warm and naked, side by side, every night. The comfort of his body near her somehow made her feel safe and secure. At any time she could reach out and touch him, and most times when she did he responded to her touch immediately, pulling her close and pressing against her, kissing her neck. Sometimes the snuggles progressed to sex, sometimes they just lay together secure in each others arms and fell back asleep.

After a few years, the closeness started to fade. She reached out for him less and less in the night, and when she did, he didn’t always notice and respond. For her, she felt rejected each time she put out a hand to him and he only responded by sighing in his sleep or rolling away instead of toward her. She knew, logically, that it wasn’t fair to blame him for something he did in his sleep, but what had changed? Would the warmth return? Feeling rejected, she started to reach out less and less until finally it would be a month before he’d reach for her and she’d grudgingly give him what he wanted. Sex had begun to feel like an obligation to fulfill, not the sharing of intimacy it once was.

Life started to change rapidly after the birth of their second child. She worked so hard with the kids all day long and she always did such a great job taking care of the house and feeding them all. Work was getting harder and harder for him. This new job was mentally exhausting, doing things he never thought he would be. Sure, all he was doing was sitting in an office, but dealing with people daily, talking with the customers, hearing their complaints and problems was more demanding than any physical work he used to do. At the end of the day, it was all he could do to come home, play with the kids a bit, eat dinner, and then fall into bed. He tried to stay awake while she finished putting the kids down, but by the time she crawled into bed next to him, he was always fast asleep. He’d wake to find her there, gently snoring beside him. Knowing how exhausted she was, he didn’t have the heart to wake her, even if it was for something sweet and pleasurable for both of them. She didn’t seem to reach for him in the night like she used to. He had begun to think maybe she didn’t love him like she used to. Maybe something was wrong. Or maybe this was just how marriage was after kids. He wasn’t happy, but he didn’t know how to communicate the feelings he was starting to have, so he left it alone.

Without that intimate connection at night, they started to drift apart emotionally. Both desperately wanted to love the other but neither knew how to start the conversation. They avoided it and eventually they both found someone else. She put all her focus and energy into the kids and he found someone that would reach out to him.

“You know you don’t love me anymore. I’m leaving.”

There it was. The big statement. And here they were, another failed marriage, another broken family, just like everyone else. She felt numb hearing those words. She knew he would say them. She knew they were coming for a long time.

“Ok.” Was the only way she could respond without falling apart, and her pride would not allow her to fall apart in front of him.

He walked away without another word. Both were broken. Both cried alone. Both felt they had failed. And both wanted the other to beg them to stay.


Thank you to Writers Write for the October prompts!

Day Ten

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

A big round number, the first of the double digits, brings me to this point. I’ve watched her for ten cycles. Ten times the clock has come round to 8AM. I can’t really call them days, since “days” brings me back to Earth. I no longer orbit that fiery ball of gas but how else do I measure the time? And should I bother at all?

Here I float in the darkness, stranded, not knowing how much longer I have in this existence, but here I sit, watching her. Shouldn’t I be spending my time more wisely, living in the moment, seizing the day? That is what I intended to do once I realized there was no going back and no going forward either. Sure. I’m alone. Stranded in a strange place with nothing beyond the scant supplies I have on hand and the tin can they called a transport. Why should I not enjoy the last few days I probably have?

Thirty days is a long time to spend in solitude, but the lure of a new world, the prospect of a whole new life was worth the seclusion, worth the risk of travel in this god forsaken can. What would I find there? Who would greet me? I’d heard wonderful things, fantastical things. Would the reality be anything compared to my imaginings? Probably not. But anything had to be better than the hell I was leaving, so I went.

Then that noise came, that quiet thump, a small tick I believed was only my imagination for days, until it became louder. And then suddenly, nothing. No sound at all. The physical sensation of movement ceased completely. It took me a few days to realize my situation. Something had gone seriously wrong and I was stuck with no way to communicate with the world outside my craft. And I was alone.

Until I saw her. And now I lay watching. Day ten. She climbed to the top of my bunk and spun her futile web. There are no flies to catch, my dear. It is only you and I…for eternity. She doesn’t seem to mind. She can’t conceive of the future. She only spins and crawls. My only friend. I wish I were you.

Thank you, WritersWrite, for the inspiring prompt!

Reaching

There he sat in the living room by the sliding glass door. It was an active area. He enjoyed watching the people come in and out of the house all through the day, a fresh blast of desert air every time the door opened. Every time someone walked by he would stretch his leaves as far as he could, hoping for a caress or a kind word or two. But no one ever noticed him. He sat there breathing in and out, slowly extending his leaves, day after day with not ounce of encouragement.

Short and stout, he didn’t feel nearly as lively as the creeper with his trailing tendrils and new leaves seemingly every day. And that smug shamrock in the pretty orange ceramic pot, touting her delicacy and begging for water on daily basis. Who did she think she was?

He looked down at himself. Small pot, long dark palm like leaves, slightly browning at the tips. What did she expect? He had been in this pot for ages. Why did she bring him home if he was only going to sit here unloved, unappreciated? He breathed the CO2 as well as the others! Didn’t he deserve just a little love for his efforts?

He was sedate in his antique copper pot. Growing always came so slowly to him especially in the bright fake light of the grocery store where he grew up. But he was reliable! He didn’t ask for much. He needed only a small space, a little natural sunlight, and taste of water now and again, to survive. But he wanted more than just to survive.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be caressed every once in awhile, like the shamrock and its tiny flowers? Wouldn’t it be heavenly to have the soil amended and his container changed every year like the creeper? What was his purpose here on the mantel?

Time Difference

Something strange is going on.

For a long time, I thought new digital clocks were just not made like they used to be. I had the same clock in my room since college. It was your typical digital clock; red numbers, snooze button, brown and black case. It sat there on my dresser for twenty-five years. A power surge was what killed it. It was kind of sad to have to throw it away, like losing an old friend.

I’ve bought several new ones over the years. Two were from the discount store. I clock is a clock, right? I just want to be able to look up when I wake in the night and know I don’t have to get up without having to push any buttons on my phone. I’d bring them home, unwrap them, plug them in, and set the time from the time on my phone, but within a few weeks the time was off. Ten minutes slow.

I didn’t notice it at first, only a couple minutes at a time went missing. I’d get out of the shower and think, “Cool. Ten more minutes. I have time for coffee before I go.” And then I’d walk out into the kitchen, see the clock on the stove and have to run out the door right away. It was frustrating. I hate to rush like that.

I’d set my bedroom clock back to the correct time and go about my business. Maybe the power went out for a minute when I wasn’t home. But then wouldn’t all the clocks be off? I decided it was bad clock and buy a new one.

But now I’m starting to wonder. Is it really a bad clock? Or is something else going on? Could it be that all the clocks are just generally inaccurate like that? The clock in the livingroom and the one on the stove don’t seem to have a problem keeping up.

I think I’ll have to do some experiments.

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