Thursday, May 19, 2011
Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday
Today's words: damp, incensed, skid
* * *
Not visible to the casual observer, it is protected with a damp, crimson layer of silk-like fibre. Throbbing when excited—more so when pained—it has writhed in agony for quite some time now. Napoleon was only half right, she thought. There may only be two forces in the world, but this time, the sword had won. She just didn’t have enough left in her to fight.
Elbows on the table, face resting in cupped hands, hair curtains her rage in a mahogany waterfall. Still incensed by last night’s argument, her chest heaves as she tries to control her breathing.
“Are there more pickles in the basement pantry?”
She’d asked the simple question, waved the empty jar for emphasis, the brine sloshing perilously close to the opening. She’d used the last one for her tuna salad sandwich and asked because she knew he’d know if there was. Why go downstairs if there weren’t any? She’d just add it to the grocery list.
She watched the emotions flicker across his face. Annoyance followed by anger. Which somehow evolved to fury.
He slammed his drink down, the iced tea splashing over the side and onto the counter. She wondered the glass didn’t shatter.
“Fine. I’ll go down and see.”
“I didn’t ask you to go down to the pantry. I asked if you knew whether there were any more pickles.”
“No. Don’t worry about it.” Sarcasm, thick and hot, invaded the room, rolled off him in waves. “I’ll fucking stop everything and go down to see if there are goddamn pickles in the pantry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she said. Her voice was diminished, as though it cowered, but she wouldn’t let it waver. “I said I’d go down.”
If she’d been standing any closer, he would have shoved her away. Instead, his hand hit empty air and he stomped down the stairs, cussing the entire time.
She continued to make her tuna salad sandwich, adding mayonnaise, a diced kosher pickle (the last one) and Dijon mustard. She spread a thick layer of the tuna mixture on buttered eight-grain bread, topped it with a second slice, pressed down lightly to secure the sandwich.
He marched back into the kitchen, slammed the jar onto the counter.
“There’s your fucking pickles. Can I go and enjoy the rest of my evening now?”
Her face void of expression, she lifted her sandwich. “Sure.” She took a bite. Chewed.
As he stormed off, she was sure she heard him mutter: “Fucking bitch”.
All for a lousy jar of pickles. She’d been putting in ten- and twelve-hour days for months now. That tuna sandwich was her lunch. Eaten at ten o’clock at night. And he was bitching about her asking whether there was a goddamn jar of pickles in the pantry? She hadn’t asked him to go down and get the thing, she’d just asked if there were any.
She scrubbed her hands over her face, huffed out the air she didn’t realize she’d been holding.
The whole thing was falling apart like a fragile snow globe; only it was delicate egg shells that rained upon her, carpeting her diminished world, forcing her to pick her way across them day after day. Her feet were blistered and continued to bleed.
She wanted to tear out the one thing that had truly betrayed her, the one piece of her that she’d hoped would protect her core, her spirit. But once again, it had let her down.
She should yank it from her chest and skid it across the oak table; a dark—nearly black—smear in its wake. It would topple off the edge, land on the floor with a wet plop. She’d leave it there to putrefy, let the stink of decomp permeate the kitchen, the main floor, the whole fucking house.
Maybe the stench would drive him away. And he’d leave.
Oh, the things her heart yearned.