Friday, August 24, 2012

80. Good-bye, My Love

She spidered her way
through the dark hall
past the sleeping baby.

She would leave now
Her husband’s heart would plummet

She knew this
But she still had to. 

She is me. 
fiction, people!  no worries!  (plus my babies are 8 and 6 now)
trifecta writing challenge:  in 33 words, use an animal as a verb.  hopefully a spider can be considered an animal?

Friday, August 17, 2012

78. My Prince Charming

“Michelle, you have to get out there!” squealed Lisa energetically. 

Lisa had more verve than anyone had a right to.  In a perverse way, I semi-secretly wanted to set her up with Nick because I knew that she would literally exhaust him.  That would bring me great pleasure:  to see something (or someone) wear him out.  Nick was one of those people who seemed overly-caffeinated, even at night.     

I could not be mad at Nick.  Not mad at him in the usual way of divorced people, I mean.  There was no other woman lurking stereotypically in the shadows, no shocking confession of homosexuality, no mid-life crisis, no sudden health scare.  Christ, we were only 26 when we divorced, we had plenty of time to open up a … what is it called …

“New chapter,” enthused Lisa, while scavenging through my dried-out lipsticks.  “You need to start over.  What’s it been now, over two and a half years?” 

“Three years and one month,” I corrected. 

I was not up to the task of a “new chapter.”  I liked the old chapters, the ones Nick and I had written together.  Although Nick had been the one to initiate the divorce thus breaking my trusting heart into a thousand impossible shards, I still harbored a deep love for him.  Ah, absence does not make the heart grow fonder—rejection does. 

“… and then he told her he got fired!  Can you believe it?  On their first date!”  Lisa laughed heartily at the punchline of her own joke. 

“I’m sorry, what?” 

“Michelle, are you even listening to me?  Geesh.  How about this black silk camisole?  Look—it still has the tags attached.  Try it on.”  She reached into my closet and handed me the familiar garment; I immediately began to cry. 

“I can’t wear that,” I sniffled, “I bought it to wear for Nick, and the night I was going to wear it, he announced our separation.” 

Lisa balled up the camisole, hanger and all, and shoved it in the trash basket. 

“Well, we don’t need memories like that inhabiting your closet, do we?” she said efficiently, as she wiped her hands together, as if she had just assassinated a particularly troubling military foe instead of merely tossing away an offending piece of fabric.    

“Lisa, go without me tonight.”  I pulled my greasy hair back into a ponytail in my hands and knotted it together with a stray rubber-band.  “I’m sorry.  I am, really.” 

Lisa put her hands on her hips, a mannerism I had seen Lisa’s mother do countless times when we were growing up. 

“Michelle, he’s out there!  Husband #2 is out there, waiting for you.  But he’s never going to find you here—” she paused and made a sweeping hand gesture toward the living room, like the girl on The Price Is Right, “—while you’re holed up watching re-runs of Will & Grace.” 

At his moment, I hated Lisa and all that she stood for.  What romantic fairy tales did she subscribe to?  I was going to meet Prince Charming in a … bar???

“I’m not saying you’ll meet Prince Charming tonight, in a bar,” this was an unnerving trait Lisa possessed, the ability to read my mind with eerie accuracy, “what I am saying is this:  You will never find a guy while you sit at home.  Think of it as exercise for your dating muscles.  You are training for the marathon of finding the right guy, and let me tell you, he is not going to knock on your door while you are home alone watching TV.” 

She picked up her sequined purse and walked out the front door, which she slammed.  She was trying to be dramatic, but she forgot her car keys.  She came back in. 

“Think about what I said, Michelle, you know I’m right.” 

She left for good, and I clicked on the TV.  An episode of Will & Grace was just ending.  I noticed that Will looked slightly green, so I scribbled a Post-It note to myself: 

Buy new TV.  Call cable guy.  Tomorrow!! 

I underlined tomorrow and added exclamation points to make it seem more official, like a vow.  I, Michelle Norris, do solemnly swear to have and hold you, and to keepeth my love for your remote control as long as we both shall live.  Amen.    

The following week, my apartment had one new TV, one new remote, and I was having a sexy little flirting session with the very hot cable guy from Venezuela. 
Do I even need to tell you that we dated for eight steamy months before we eloped?  Lisa was my Maid of Honor, and while she smiled at me taking my vows, I remembered her silly warning: 

You will never find a guy while you sit at home. 

Thank you to the brilliantly talented Youngman Brown for the invitation.  And thank you to Dude Write for allowing a “Dudette” to submit a story.  I am honored.  And humbled.  And maybe a little bit drunk.  But mostly honored.    

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

77. Lulu and Jack

Lulu walked down the street, looking back over her shoulder as if Jack might reappear at any moment.  “That’s silly,” she told herself, “it’s not like he’s a ghost!” 

She replayed their last conversation over in her head, like her brain was the TV screen and she merely had to flick the remote control:  rewind.  “Lulu, I want us to move in together.  You are all I think about every moment of the day, and I need to wake up next to you.” 

Every moment of the day?  Gah, I hope not, she thought.  He is a pilot, for goshsakes, he’s going to crash his plane and kill a bunch of people if he is that easily distracted. 
Lulu couldn’t tell the difference between an innocent compliment and full-blown obsession, she just knew she felt suffocated. 

Right after he said it, she broke it off.  “It’s best if we stop seeing each other for a while,” she uttered, or some such nonsense cliché.  “It’s me, not you.” 
But what might life have been like if she stayed with Jack?  Where would he have taken her (literally)?  He had good seniority with the airlines; he was always jetting off to Japan or Paris or someplace else she had only seen in movies.

She snapped back to the present moment when she tripped on an uneven spot in the sidewalk.  A woman with three dogs walked past her, mumbling something about red and blue dots and a man named Jim.  Lucky girl, she has a man that doesn’t make her feel like running away. 
Lulu glanced at her watch:  7:30 PM.  Good, no one will be here now, she thought.  She walked in the pristine lobby and approached the bank of elevators.  She pressed the button and waited.  She stepped in and rose to the 15th floor.

The receptionist was still there.  “Lulu, welcome back.  You weren’t gone long this time.” 
Lulu grinned wide and finally exhaled.  Her office.  Her work.  Her salvation. 

Her home.       

trifecta writing challenge:  the word is "home" and the story is 333 words exactly

Friday, August 10, 2012

76. The Brown Bunny

The brown bunny:

a soft pet for Josh,

a sweet companion for me when Josh died,

and dinner for Mike after another bitter fight.

(I would not have eaten it had I known.)    

trifecta writing challenge:  1 object, 3 ways, 33 words

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

75. The Dog Walker

I pick up the first dog, Sammy.  “With two ‘M’s,” the owner tells me.  I nod. 

Nobody is home at the next house, so I search through the keys until I find the right one.  Red key, blue key, green key.  Jim helped me put the colored dots on them.  I hear the dog barking inside.  I open the door and he lunges at me, leash already in his mouth.    
The third dog, small and fang-faced, I do not like.  He bit me once, and I worry that he’ll do it again.  I tell him he’s a good dog, but it’s a lie.    

I instinctively reach in my jacket pocket to make sure I remembered the plastic bags.  I checked before I left my apartment, but I can’t exactly remember if that was today or yesterday.  What if I forgot the bags?  That would be bad.   
I walk the dogs down the street, a tangle of wagging tails and furry legs.  They pull on their leashes, stop near some bushes, bark at a squirrel.    

We are on a shady path that winds through buildings and toward a park.  I smile at other people with dogs, and I wonder if they think all three dogs are mine.  Three dogs!  Who would own three!     
I like my job.  I like that I can think when I walk and no one will demand anything from me.  I look up at the sky and feel the fresh air on my skin.  It feels good to be outside.       

My mother told me this was the only job I was qualified for, I don’t know what she meant by that.  She said it right before she got on her flight back to Montreal.  Dana, you will always be a dog walker.  You are too stupid to do anything else. 
I think she must have meant it in a nice way.    

The second dog has to poop, so he stops at the edge of the sidewalk and squats.  I wait. 

trifecta writing challenge:  the word is "flight", my word count is 333 words