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Monthly Archives: January 2015

Spite

I watch you as you dial the phone.
I am filled with malevolence that seethes inside me like water bubbling over in a pot.

I am angry. I don’t want to go see my relatives either. But I must. I’ve agreed and I consider myself a man of my word. Even if you and your mother don’t think so. I am tired of making conversation. I am tired of making small talk. I just want to sit in front of the TV and look at transformers and Macaulay Culkin celebrating Christmas in a hotel.

You’re speaking woefully, as if the excuse you’re making is real. As if you really are being held back by an unnamed client. As if you’re not lying to have your own way. I loathe it when I have to lie for you. No matter how many times you point out the fact that I seem to lie effortlessly when it suits me, I dislike it immensely when I must do it for someone else.

You put down the phone, your face in smiles. “I’m free! I’m off the hook!” you squeal.
I try to stop my lips from moving but I can’t. I open my mouth, and the words, “Why are you so happy? If this is the way you want to conduct your life, then what can anyone do?”
You stop moving abruptly. I know I’ve hurt you, and I take some pleasure in it. Why should I suffer alone tonight? They’re your family too. It’s your duty to come. So what if they’re boring?

You look at me steadily. You are upset…but you’re trying to hide it. “If you say so Daddy,” you say and walk away.
I want to stop you but I won’t. I will my eyes back to the TV as you disappear past dining room.
I know this will be another thing you will remember for years and I will forget in an hour.

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2015 in Fiction

 

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Death by inches

Monday
I walked up to her. “Hey. How are you?”
She said, “I’m fine.”
I looked at her. “Still in love with a married man?”
She smiled and corrected me, “No. Still having an affair with a married man.”
I smiled back and teased, “In the olden days, you’d have been pelted with stones.”
She looked at me. A beat later, she said “And tomatoes too.”
Our giggles made other people look up from their books.

Tuesday
I sat down next to her. “Hey. What’s up?”
She said, “I’m fine. Still having an affair with a married man.”
I smiled. “Stones and tomatoes and potatoes.”
She looked at me. A beat later, she smiled, “Mmmmm, soup.”
Our laughter made the Dean come out to shush us.

Wednesday
She sat down and sighed. “We’re fighting. He won’t commit to me.”
I looked at her, unsure of what to say. “Um.”
She looked at me. “You must be so happy.”
I stared at her. “No, I’m not. Why would you say that?”
She looked at me, her mouth a grimace. “Because you’ve been judging me since this began.”
“No, I haven’t. I just don’t know how to react. I don’t think its right. But I would never judge you.”
She walked away, even before I’d finished.

Friday
I heard a cough. I turned.
She stood there. Slightly unsure. “Hi.”
I sat up. “Hi.”
She gestured. “May I join you?”
I picked up some books and put them to the side. “Yeah, of course. Please.”
She sat. “How’ve you been?”
I said “Good. Not bad. You?”
She said, “I’m good. We’re getting married. As soon as he divorces his wife.”
I struggled to keep my face expressionless. “Oh okay. Congratulations..?”
It was the first time I hadn’t known whether to say it as a statement or a question.
She smiled, “Thank you. I’ll catch you later.”

Saturday
We ran into each other in the corridor. “Hey!” “Hi!”
She clutched my hand. “Want to go and get some soup later?”
I looked at her, puzzled. “Soup?”
She smiled. “You know. Stones and tomatoes and potatoes.”
She laughed. I smiled back. I couldn’t laugh. I was almost afraid to laugh.

Sunday
I walked up to her. “Hey. How are you?”
She snarled, “I’m fine.”
I almost backed away. “Okay…um.”
She looked up at me. “Come here to judge me? You must have heard. He dumped me.”
I looked at her. My hand wanted to jump up and slam the table. “I hadn’t heard. I’m sorry, I know this must upset you.”
She rose with a loud screech of her chair. “Don’t presume to know how I’m feeling! I’m NOT upset. Speak for yourself.”
Our voices made everyone else stare at us.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Fiction

 

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