Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Running with Scissors

Running with Scissors

Engrossed in columns of numbers, I didn’t hear her walk up behind me and was somewhat startled when she spoke.

“Do you have a pair of scissors I can borrow?”

My head jerked up and I stared into Marion’s wide face, her lips curved in a polite smile.

“Sure.” I pulled open three drawers before I found a pair. I crunch numbers for a living; the only time I used my scissors was when I opened a bag of Skittles.

I handed them over to Marion, holding the blades in my hand, pressing the blue plastic handle into hers.

“Thanks,” she chirped, widening her smile. “I’ll bring them back as soon as I’m done.”

I nodded and put my head back down, already engrossed in my numbers. I had a meeting that afternoon with the head of marketing to discuss the budget for the next quarter. Management wanted a report on write-offs, and three clients needed accruals for the current month.

It was well beyond lunch—and I hadn’t yet eaten—when I was pulled from my numbered reverie.

“Thanks, again,” said Marion, holding out the scissors. I’d forgotten she’d stopped by that morning.

“Oh sure,” I said, taking the scissors from her. She walked away before I could finish with, “Any time.”

I made a face as I tossed the scissors into the top drawer of my desk. The plastic handle was sticky and I was more than a little annoyed that she hadn’t taken care of something she’d borrowed from me. I know they’re not mine—they belong to the company—but it’s the principle of the thing. When you borrow something, you return it in the same or better condition. It’s just good manners.

Maybe she’s careless with her own things, which may explain why she couldn’t use her own scissors. The blades are probably so coated with whatever is now on the handles of mine, that she can’t open them; rendered useless by her negligence.

I wrenched a few tissues from the box on my desk and wiped my hands. The thin paper was useless and it infuriated me that I had to stop my work and go wash my hands. I had a deadline—several, in fact—and Marion was messing up my schedule. I was determined to have a word with her, tell her that she needs to take more care with things she borrows, impress upon her how much her careless behaviour affects others.

Needless to say, I never got around to that.

It seemed as though seconds after I registered that it was blood I was wiping from my hands, the police were arresting me and I was being questioned and fingerprinted. At first, I denied any knowledge. But when they told me who I had stabbed in the chest fifteen times with the blue-handled scissors, well, I just shrugged.

“He was a jackass,” I said. “He hit on me, hit on all the girls in the office.”

My lawyer assures me that I won’t be in here long. A few years, at best. It’ll be worth it. That son-of-bitch got what he deserved. I’ll be a fucking hero at the office when I get back. And Marion? She may have done the crime, but I did her time.

I think she owes me one.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Today's muse: One Word.

Today's word:  Turbine.

* * *


The constant rotation of our water wheel relationship is both comforting and terrifying. I embrace the reassuring reliability of its monotony, but moments fighting for breath leave me trembling. The inevitable plunges into ice-cold water circle around like a menstrual cycle.

I find myself gulping for air when I surface, praying it all ends before the next turn of the wheel.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Needing More

Needing More

She’d forgotten the affect he had on her, was surprised it was still there after all this time.

He sat back in his chair, completely at ease, one arm thrown over the back, the other holding a pint of beer. For a moment—an eternity—he stared in her eyes, without saying a word.

That’s what she’d forgotten.

She could remember the first day they met, the last time they'd fucked, and countless things between. But that stare…she’d forgotten that soul-penetrating stare. It told her he wanted her, would clear the table of glasses, Blackberries, and bar coasters, bend her over the edge and hike up her dress to thrust into her right there.

He held that intense gaze until she squirmed. It was her tell and he knew he had her. His lips curved in triumph as he sat forward, set his drink on the table. His hand skimmed across her cheek, curved behind her neck, pulled her close. He brushed his lips across hers, flicked his tongue at the corner, murmured an invitation; one she desperately wanted to accept.

“I can’t,” she said.

He pressed his forehead against hers. “Your husband.” It wasn’t a question, but a statement of resignation. He sat back, ran a finger across his lips.

Her eyes followed the movement as she swallowed, nodded. “Yes.” It was barely a whisper.

And it was a lie. Her thoughts weren’t consumed by the one waiting at home. They were filled with another. One, she realized then, she would always need, but would never have.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Laundry Socks

Today's muse: Three Word Wednesday

These are actually last week's words: hamper, pulverize, taunt

* * *

Laundry Socks

The kids are well-trained. Four hampers are lined up like wicker soldiers beside the washing machine and everyone puts their dirty clothes in the appropriate bins. Black, White, Jeans (I can’t believe how many jeans this household has!), and Not.

The Not basket holds everything that does NOT fit into the other three categories, which I sort to create smaller sub-loads.

Without fail, a sock from one of the Not piles is sucked into the black hole of the Galaxy Load, never to be seen again. More than a little frustrated with this scenario, I began hanging lonely singles from a makeshift clothes line above the dryer.

Then something odd happened.

One by one, each orphaned twin returned from the great beyond, pulverized beyond recognition. I didn’t think much of it; figured the machine chewed up the socks then spit them out like manky hairballs, unable to digest the poly-cotton blend. As each mangled footie resurfaced, I simply shrugged and pinned it with its pair. These dancing duets now hang in a macabre conga line: fully-grown, healthy socks, each with its decimated conjoined twin.

There is one sock at the end of the line that has remained alone for what seems like an eternity. It’s singular existence taunts me; a constant reminder of my failure as a mother. It's a running joke in the family and I used to laugh. Used to. Not any more.

That changed today.

Today, as I emptied the Not Load of browns and transferred it to the dryer, a lump in the pocket of Nathan’s khakis made me stop. I squeezed it, tried to guess its identity. About two inches long, it was somewhat hard, and yet, tender. I squeezed my eyes shut.

Gross...a machine-washed Tootsie Roll.

I pulled the pocket inside out, my entire hand wrapped around the roll. I remember thinking it was even more disgusting without the wrapping—slimy. It flopped onto the dryer with a hollow ting that echoed off the laundry room walls. I cocked my head. It didn’t look like a Tootsie Roll.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have picked it up, shouldn’t have held it between my thumb and forefinger, shouldn’t have squeezed it. I Definitely shouldn’t have lifted it up to my nose to sniff.

I now know why the socks hang so patiently on the line. I don’t think I’ll ever do laundry again. What if the rest of the foot shows up?