Wednesday, March 7, 2012


“But it meant nothing!” she shouted desperately from the bedroom. “It didn't mean anything!” Lying on the living room floor trying to avoid inhaling dust bunnies, he stuck his hand under the couch, knowing full well his keys weren't there but not thinking straight enough to do much else besides fish. He paused to try and mentally retrace his steps. In the background, she continued to harp on how much or little it had or hadn't meant.

He'd never been good at confrontation, nor did he ever expect to be. He'd also never been any good at keeping track of his god damn keys. He never thought he'd be able to attribute and instance of the former to an instance of the latter.

Picking a fuzzball out from his nostril,  he began to question his reaction to the problem. He didn't know why he had started the search under the couch; he hadn't lain prone on the living room floor in at least a week.
“I hardly even know him!” As if that somehow made things better. She was standing over him, sobbing quite obnoxiously now, her toes threatening to poke out his eyes as she shuffled carelessly – dangerously – from foot to foot. He slithered backwards.

When he'd come home that evening, he'd gone through his standard routine, thrown his coat on the love seat, emptied his pockets onto the end table by the door and stumbled towards the kitchen to pour himself a glass of whatever liquid happened to be closest to the front of the refridgerator that day. There was little time for his keys to have gotten away. 

“It wasn't even that good!” He'd completed his slither by now and was slinking to the end table, despite the fact that it had been the first place he'd checked. And the second. Also the fourth.

It hadn't been until after he'd poured himself a glass of juicy juice -- placing the empty bottle back inside, just how she hated it -- that he'd heard the commotion from the bedroom. The insufficiently hushed voices, the tell-tale sound of the window opening, a trashcan being knocked over, and the window closing. It was all such a non-suprise, he had a hard time concealing his non-bewilderment when she suddenly bawled out a confession after 20 minutes of apparently brutal non-questioning.

“I'm sorry! I don't know what I was thinking! I was just...he was so...and then you were...and we couldn't....” The incessant, unsolicited apologies alone were enough to start making him wish he had stormed out into the cold without his keys, against his better judgement. She was standing in the kitchen doorway now, between him and the refrigerator inside of which he was beginning to think there was just the slightest chance he had left his keys.

As he opened his mouth to say “excuse me,” the keys clattered to the floor from the teeth he only now realized had been clenched. How they'd gotten there he hadn't the foggiest. They locked eyes briefly before he scooped the keys from the floor, and commenced storming, picking up where he'd left off about 5 minutes ago and finally returning to protocol.

As he trudged through the snow to the car, he could feel her watching him from the window, probably still sobbing loudly, but mercifully refraining from running out after him. After the engine refused to turn over a third time, he decided to call a cab and reached into an empty pocket for his phone. Then another. And a third. He let his head fall to the steering wheel and the horn let out an exasperated moan for the both of them. 


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Barb Black challenged me with "Write about loss of any kind." and I challenged kelly garriott waite with "Write something where the viewpoint character is in freefall for the duration of the story's timeframe."