Monday, July 30, 2012

74. Before and After

Steve got up early to go meet Brian. 

“Don’t text while you’re driving!” I admonished reflexively as he grabbed his keys off the front table. 
He gave me a look.  “Are you kidding me?” 

My words floated in the air, next to his.  I hadn’t meant to say it. 
“Pam, is that your idea of a bad joke?” 

I went into the kitchen to get the Tupperware container with the brownies.  “Here, Steve, take these with you.  The doctor says he can eat whatever he wants, right?” 
“So you’re not going?” 

I hadn’t been particularly fond of Brian before the accident; now I had to fake it.  “Can I go tomorrow?” 
What I wanted to say:  Do you have to go see your brother every day for four hours?  How about once a week?  Can your mom go instead? 

“Go.  Stay.  I don’t care.  But I’m going.  I’m going every day.”  He said the words as if he’d ripped the pages of a script out of my head.  “Pam, this is the new normal.” 
I knew it was guilt that made Steve say these things.  He had been the one Brian was texting when he hit the center divider and flipped the car.  But how could Steve have known Brian was driving at the time?  He could have been at work, or in class.  It was not Steve’s fault. 

“Have the doctors said anything new?” 
He ran his fingers through his thinning hair.  “Jesus, Pam, you know what I know.  Give me the brownies.”  He picked them up and popped the lid open.  He ate one.  Breakfast of champions. 

“When will you be back this time?”  I knew I was sounding like the stereotypical nagging wife.  But these past four months were wearing me down.  Brian’s life was changed forever, but now so were ours.    
“It could have been me, Pammy.”  He wiped a glistening tear off his cheek.  “It could have been you.” 

Not me, I thought.  I don’t text and drive. 

trifecta writing challenge:  333 words, the prompt is "normal"


  1. Ouch. Harsh, but she's got a point; it can't happen if you aren't texting.

  2. good flow that matches the tone of the story. Enjoyed it!

  3. Sad. I have trouble texting while not driving. Good story though!

  4. Excellent story, and I enjoyed it very much.

  5. I can totally sympathize with that struggle; I think I would have been hard pressed not to say that last thought out loud!

  6. This is a very real example of marital conflict; no big fight, just the usual day to day tension. Nicely done.

  7. You showed both sides of the coin, the words we say and shouldn't and those we don't say and maybe should.
    Thanks for joining us again this week. Be sure to come back Friday for the new challenge.

  8. I liked the way you have juxtaposed what is in the mind with what you said. Well written story.


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