A Relationship

“I can’t take it anymore!” Nell screamed. “I just can’t! I don’t know what I can do anymore, I really don’t!” She was at her wit’s end. It had gone on for far too long, and she had no idea how she’d let things get to this point. “What more do you want me to do for you, huh? What more can I do to please you? I can never win with you, you know that? It’s a lose-lose situation, no matter what I do!”

She huffed, and paced, walking from one side of the carpeted living room to the other. Her hands clasped behind her back, she tried to calm down a little. “Is there something I can be doing that I’m not? Tell me – is there? I’ll honestly do whatever it takes. I’ve been with you too long to give you up, even though I’m this close,” she held up her hand, forefinger and thumb almost touching, she was holding them so near. “But I’m not going to run from this – relationships are something you need to work on, everyone says so.”

Continuing to pace, Nell waited. And waited. The silence lingered. She burst out again, unable to restrain herself. “But how can I make you happy if you don’t tell me how?! I feed you, I clothe you, I bathe you – I take care of you, damn it! But you keep saying it’s not enough! I try to do things for you, I really do, I swear I do!”

Tears now stained her face. Her voice broke and she sat down heavily on the couch, pulled her legs up and hugged them tightly to her chest. “Tell me, please, I beg you, tell me what I can do,” she was rocking back and forth, sobbing, her anger evaporated. Only a deep, heavy sadness remained. “Please… please tell me… Tell me how I can make you happy – I’ll do anything, I swear, I promise, I really will,” she looked up imploringly, her eyes two pools of salt-water, pleading, waiting for an answer.

There was no one else there.

Flash Fiction Thursday: Just a Box

There’s a cardboard box lying on the floor. That’s all, just a box, taped together at the bottom and top, no bigger than a six-pack. Why am I thinking of beer? Oh, yeah, it’s because I’m holding one. Fancy that. I look at the bottle, then look through it to the box on the floor. The empty room takes on a tinge of green. I stop looking and take a long, fulfilling gulp. Oh, dear. Now the bottle’s empty. Might as well smash it as hard as I can against the wall.

It doesn’t shatter or anything. Damn. Even the damn bottle doesn’t do what I want it to do. I want it to smash, to crash, to splinter. I want it to make a noise in this too-quiet room. It’s much to quiet in here. It’s creepy, like she left a damn ghost here or something. I look hopefully around again, almost wishing I’d see her body swinging. But no, the room’s just as empty as it was when I got back from the train-station earlier today. That damn box is still on the floor.

I try to recall the past months, but I’m finding it kind of hard to concentrate. Guess the barman was right for telling me to quit it and go home. It’s not even nine, and the idiot told me he wasn’t going to serve me anymore. I told him where to put his head and went and bought a beer and started walking home. When I ran out of one, I bought another. That one, the one I threw, is the fourth. What? It was a damn long walk home. I needed the fluids, or the sustenance, or something.

Truth is, I just needed something to fill up the ache. I thought that maybe, just maybe, when I got home I’d find all her stuff back here. I’m home now, or what I used to call home, and she’s still gone. So’s her sofa, and TV, and her clothes and her dishes and everything else. I can still smell her here, though, even through the stink of beer coming from my own mouth.

And that damn box is still there on the floor. Is that all that was mine in here? Or did she leave me some stupid long letter about meeting the stud-muffin of her life and leaving with him? I don’t know. I collapse on the floor, the room suddenly spinning worse. I decide that whatever’s in there, it can’t hurt more than what I’m feeling right now. So I let myself drift away, knowing that the box and a headache will be waiting for me tomorrow.

___________________________

As a proud participant in Flash Fiction Thursday, I urge you to check out the others at: http://unabridgedgirl.wordpress.com/

Sorry-Sorry-Service

The waitress was pretty, in a conventional way. Her hair was that sort of natural bright yellow that all those who dye their hair want to have. Her figure was trim but womanly, short without being stocky. Her eyes were big, brown and innocent looking. Her school-girl looks were probably the only reason people were being semi-patient with her.

She’d been running around tables all day. She had no idea why she was lucky enough to get this job at Patisserie Valerie, one of the most popular hangouts in Soho. She had no idea how she was there with her English being so imperfect. She also, unfortunately, had no idea whether or not she would be allowed to stay; so far, she was a disaster.

A group of three came into the cafe: a red haired woman, a girl in her late teens who looked like her daughter and a young man with dark, curly hair. They sat down at a table, and the waitress was shooed over to them by the woman who’d been helping her on and off all day. She bobbed over to the table and asked in her broken English what they wanted to drink. They answered, and the flurry of words was almost too much for her. She went to the kitchens to relay the order. Once she brought it, she realized that she’d forgotten two items. She hadn’t understood what they wanted, she supposed.

Asking about the food was worse. The young man, bless him, merely wanted the sandwich as it was written in the menu, but the woman and her daughter asked for all sorts of changes. Simple enough, if she could only understand what it was they wanted. She felt like her brain had turned to mush, and she only understood every third word, though she dutifully scribbled in her notepad obligingly the keywords that she could understand.

It took her three runs to the kitchens and back to make sure she had everything right. Then the kitchen botched one of the orders. She lost her head completely, and took the order out anyway, saying as she did so that she told the man what to do and he hadn’t done it right. She was about to set down the plate anyway, but the three stared at her uncomprehendingly and then asked her to please get them the order they’d asked for. They didn’t mind waiting, but they wanted to eat the food they’d ordered – not whatever the kitchen’s whims were.

The waitress felt the tears well up, but they didn’t break out. She quickly brought the things back to the kitchen. When she came back, finally with the correct order, she bobbed a sort of half curtsy and explained that “It’s my first day, so sorry, so sorry.”

***

The really strange thing was that when I returned the next day for another meal at the same place, I got the same waitress. It was, again, her first day – sorry-sorry – and again the orders weren’t done right. I don’t blame her. I’ve waitressed. It’s hard, it’s pressuring, and it requires some knowledge of the language. I do, however, blame the restaurant for not even pairing her with a more experienced waitress for a couple days. My mother tells me, however, that Patisserie Valerie has been known since she lived in London more than twenty years ago as a place with good food but notoriously bad service.

The food, at least, was indeed delicious.

Move [Part III]

Marianne was awakened, as always, by the rattling of the dumbwaiter as it clattered to a halt at the level of this room. She stretched her aching limbs, which were sore both from lack of movement and from the constant clenching they underwent when Marianne tried to move objects with her mind.

She got up off the thin mattress and went into the tiny steel-covered bathroom that was connected to the room by a sliding, metal door. There was no mirror in there of course, and Marianne wondered, for the hundredth time, what she looked like. She wondered if she looked gaunt and pale from lack of sunlight or just haggard from lack of sleep. In truth, she looked neither gaunt, nor pale, nor haggard. She didn’t know this, but the lights in the steel room were special – they imitated the light that the sun gave off and filled her skin with vitamin D. The food she ate every day was also altered, and was full of strengthening nutrients. Marianne didn’t know this either, but she was allowed to sleep more than eight hours every night, and so she actually got quite enough sleep. She was being cared for more carefully than she could ever imagine – but even if she knew this, she wouldn’t have been any less resentful towards her situation.

Marianne closed the steel bathroom door behind her and headed for the dumbwaiter, eager for her food. She quickly ate the eggs and toast and butter with the plastic utensils, and put the tray back in the dumbwaiter. She then turned and walked to the middle of the room and waited for the voice to come. She knew the routine – after breakfast every morning, a new day would start and she’d need to begin concentrating on moving things once more.

Sure enough, the dumbwaiter, which had clattered up and then back down again, came to a halt and opened automatically. Inside was a block of lead as large as a crate. This was heavier than anything Marianne had moved for days. The voice in the loudspeaker told her to concentrate and begin.

Marianne shut her eyes and imagined her mother’s face once more. She decided today to think about her memories of her mother when she was small. She then opened her eyes, the vision of her mother pushing her on the swings fixed in her mind, and then began to concentrate on moving the heavy thing.

In a room far above her, were a man and a woman, both staring at a large TV screen. They could see the girl, subject number 824, begin to move the lead block out of the dumbwaiter with her mind. They looked at each other with a rough determination in their eyes.

“How the HELL is she doing that?” The man asked.

“I think,” The woman replied slowly. “That next week we should take her out. It’s time to put on the electrodes. It’s time to see what that damned girl is thinking.”

Can You Say “Urgh”?

If you can, say it with me, loud and clear. URGH.

My favorite band of all time, AFI, are hosting a contest. And, of course, you’re only eligible to enter and win if you’re a legal US resident. What does my citizenship do for me now, huh? WHAT, I ASK?

Needless to say, I was freaking out over what I was going to post in my video, which is how you enter the contest, and how I was going to dazzle the band with my wit and voice and the weirdness of me living in Israel. And then I thought that I should read the rules of the contest to make sure I could enter. And then, of course, I couldn’t enter.

I’m sorry for the lack of good writing, eloquent descriptions or interesting stories tonight. Migraines and disappointment tend to ruin your creativity a bit.