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Posted by Miss Shadows , in A Personal Project for Now... 13 September 2012 · 667 views

I was surprised to see him. Not happy, but surprised.
    “What are you doing here?” He shrugged.
    “Can I come in?” but he had already dropped his coat on the door-side table. Damn, I have to start locking that.

    “So I heard you’re moving.”
    “Mhm.” It would be completely pointless to lie about it now, with him standing in the middle of my living room, and a bunch of boxes. “Who told you?”

    “My cousin.”

    There was a heavy, though only momentary silence. He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans while I pretended to inspect the contents of a box labeled with Sharpie, ‘kitchen stuff’.

    “Where are you moving?”

    “Out of state.” The shortness of my answer itself deliberated that he wouldn’t get a longer one.

    “You got anything to drink?”
    He wasn’t welcome here, even he knew that, but right now I wouldn’t turn down the chance for even a minute’s reprieve from this palpable tension. Strangely enough it was that same thick, uneasy weight in the air that prevented me from kicking him out on the spot. What was he here for? I couldn’t even conjure a guess, so it was a much-resented curiosity, that and fear, that kept him standing in my living room.

    Except now I could feel his eyes on my back, and I felt a thread of panic run between my shoulder blades, down my spine.

    “Water is fine.” He said when I asked. I stood facing him the whole time, making the motions of fetching a glass and the filtered jug awkward and painfully slow. He looked around the kitchen and shifted his weight impatiently, but when I handed him the drink he seemed totally uninterested in it. He took it without taking his eyes off me; I was at a loss for excuses not to look back, so I brushed past him, again awkwardly, back into the living room. This time he only turned in the doorway.

    “So where out of state?”
    “Why do you want to know?”

    “Why don’t you want to tell me?”    

    I set the new metal ladle I’d been polishing with my thumb back in the basket with other cookware, and I gave this unwanted presence of a man in my apartment an incredulous look.

    “Why do you think?”

    The ladle was in my hands again, the handle being wrung between them in an increasingly desperate attempt to keep steady.

    “Don’t have an attitude with me.”

    “Don’t talk to me like that, I’m not 5 years old, and I have a right to be upset.”

    “I gave you a little whack upside the head and smacked you for saying the wrong thing. Get over it.”

    My grip tightened on that ladle.

    “I just want you to leave.” It wasn’t angry, and yet it wasn’t kind. My words were sharp, poignant, and a quiet steel.

    “Get out.”

    This didn’t fall on deaf ears, but maybe I should’ve wished it had; when the blank, open expression on his face—like he’d received a light but unexpected slap—left, an angry, almost indignant one took its place.

    “You dumb ****.” It took him two strides and one second to reach me, but I needed only a fraction of a moment and a stab of fear to raise that ladle. He stopped, and so did I, I didn’t want to hurt him. But he stood there. Didn’t do anything, just stood there.

    “I cared about you, and I cared about you a lot you know. I don’t know if you gave a **** about me though, and quite frankly I don’t care.”

    At this point he opened his mouth to say something, but I stopped him.

    “No! Shut up and just let me finish. I don’t want to hurt you unless you give me reason to protect myself, but if you think you can tell me you Love me now, I’ll hit you with this thing hard enough that it hurts.” A flick of the metal caught the light from a floor lamp and made him flinch hard. I didn’t want to hurt him, and even if I had, I wouldn’t be able to do much more damage with the long serving spoon than maybe a broken nose at worst.

    “You smacked me because of what? You showed up to my house unexpected, unannounced, and you were angry for having to wait 5 minutes? You gave me bruises and a bloody lip and a broken cheekbone! What did I do to deserve that? What did I do to make that okay?” I didn’t know if his silence was for fear of the instrument I still wielded in my hand, or for lack of reason at all.

    When the silence became too much I delivered final words.

    “I don’t care what you think your excuse is. I want you out, and I want you out right now. Right. Now.” The last 2 words came down on him harder than that piece of metal could’ve ever hoped to. He snapped.

    Out from the motionless, wordless exterior tore rage, the exact same kind I’d seen before. He took a clumsy swing at me and missed, but sent my makeshift tool of defense clattering to the floor. I kicked him hard in the shin, he grunted and this time landed a heavy hit in my ribs that made me hunch slightly over in pain. I recovered fast enough to hit him in the mouth, and with enough intention that his lip was bleeding.

    “Leave!” was all I could croak, my side searing. His hand found my cheek and my eyes watered from the sting, and then I reached out to try and scratch him but both his hands were around my forearm in an iron-lock grip that swung me to the floor. Face down for a second I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him. “You were limping in the kitchen. What, you got a bad hip?” before I could say anything I felt him. He crashed his foot into my painfully arthritic hip as hard as he could and I screamed in agony.

    “I don’t give a **** where you’re going, you don’t mean a ******* thing to me. You’re just some worthless *****. I hope you can’t walk for a week with that.” A lesser, yet nonetheless brutal jab of his foot into that same hip summoned an unintelligible sound of excruciating hurt. My brain was incapable of forming a mere expression for the anguish that wracked my side, and it wasn’t till moments later that I could feel the relief of his footsteps leaving my apartment. He closed the front door behind him and I lay on the floor for several more moments, just catching my breath, and feeling as if even catching my own mind back was a task. When long enough had passed that I could physically bear it, I stood up and made sure the front door was locked, then I scrubbed a few drops of blood from the freshly-cut inside of my cheek that had stained the carpet. Some inexplicable stew of anger and sadness and solemn inward thoughtfulness all at once simmered within me. In a futile attempt to relieve this I slapped my hand palm-down as hard as I could on the sliding glass back-door, but when I pulled it away all I had was numb hand. Finally, I went over to my stereo, turned on some music, then I tossed the ladle back in its box, finished packing, and pretended as if nothing had ever happened.

Compelling reading. You have a talent. I fear that this is a true story and a fresh story however. The best writing comes from experience.
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Miss Shadows
Sep 13 2012 03:37 AM
Thanks. I'm glad you like it, but I'm worried anyone who reads it is going to sit there thinking it's too "brief" and therefore pointless, you know? It doesn't cover a wide array of events, or a large span of time, plus it seems a little wordily repetitive in some bits I think. But thanks, and if you have suggestions, comments, constructive crit., go for it.
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You're good....
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Miss Shadows
Sep 13 2012 11:53 PM
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My only "suggestion" is the dialogue lines...

"blah blah blah"

"blah blah blah"

the back and for between two people.....its helpful for more of an occasional  'he said' 'she replied'  to keep track of who's speaking. Not everyline, mind you...you're ok there...just occasional. Am I making sense?  Keep in mind im not a professional, just a mule.  ;)
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Sep 14 2012 01:32 AM
Fun creative writing suggestion I learned in a class:  throw a completely unrelated character into the scene and see how the story changes
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Miss Shadows
Sep 14 2012 03:53 PM
Yeah, I definitely follow, Mule. Someone said the same thing, actually, that it gets kind of hard to figure out who's saying what. I know one of my  biggest weak points is probably dialogue, and I always struggle with the "context" of it especially. Anyway, thanks, I'll be sure to keep that in mind :) And that does sound fun, Sudden, I'll have to try  that next time I'm fooling around with some fiction. Thanks to you too.
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I think your dialogue is amazing. You really seem to write with a lot of passion, you can feel all that emotion just coming through your pen...or keyboard and that's what makes art, art. Your very talented and I loved it!
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