Wear and Tear

Standard

I slouched on the couch, as she rose and fell on my chest with my breath.

We were groggy in the dim den. The switched-off cable box read “11:27″ in white hyphens.

I ran my thumb over the hole in my pant leg, when she grabbed my arm and stopped me,

“Do you have any coffee?”

“Yeah I do, want me to make some?”

“Yes please.”

I stood and stretched. She sat up, then lie flat and relaxed like a napping cat.

She wore gray sweatpants and a tank top, her hair was in a tidy samurai bun and she wore no makeup.

“Wake up!” I said in jest, her eyebrows jerked and perked.

She stood and followed me forward.

“You know the wallpaper’s peeling over there” she said, pointing at the seam where the wood-paneling ended in the foyer. It curled in some places and bubbled in others.

“This isn’t my house, I just live here.”

“It looks bad,” she said.

I shrugged.

We walked into the kitchen; I loaded the ground grains into the french press and boiled some water.

She slid her chair out from under the table, and ignored the wobble it made until it settled back into equilibrium.

I pressed firmly on the piston.

“How do you like yours?”

“Can I have a little milk and like two spoonfuls of sugar, please?”

“Of course,” I said pulling a mug from the cupboard. It was glossy white and boxlike, with a square-shaped handle on its flank.

I let the mixture steep.

“Why two sugars particularly?”

“One isn’t enough, three is too many.”

The Colombian roast had a strong, robust smell. The kind that reminds you why people drink coffee in the first place.

The stream of hot liquid from the jug made a prolonged plopping noise as it occupied the mug.

Once more I reached into the cupboard.

“Isn’t that broken,” she asked as my hand emerged.

“That’s news to me,” I said examining the cup. Sure enough, it had a chip on its side the size of a dime.

I turned and filled it with black coffee.

None sloshed onto my hand. None spilled onto the floor.

“It’s not that broken.”

I joined her at the table.

“I could easily get you a new one you know,” she said leaning foward.

“I’d love that!”

She shot to attention, back straight up against the chair, owl eyes fixed forward.

“Really?”

“I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth,” I said.

The chair tipped and bumped the ground with its lopsided leg, then slid back and to the left. She ran to grab her coat and scarf

“I’d still use this one anyway,” I announced over her mad dash.

“Why,” she asked, bundled up and out of breath.

“Because it’s okay.”

2 thoughts on “Wear and Tear

  1. Hello again!

    You had asked for some feedback on this story, so here it is!

    I really loved the theme of this story…the narrator is very obviously comfortable with broken things, whether it be his jeans, his home or his mug. He’s more utilitarian about his choices, while she’s a sort of perfectionist, right down to how she likes her coffee. I feel like the contrast between these two characters is the focal point of the story, and one that I particularly like and resonate with.

    I also enjoyed the idiosyncratic style of writing you showed here. The tone is certainly unique. The one critique I have regarding this was the rhyming. It’s obvious that you have a knack for putting words together to make them roll off the tongue. However, in this story I wonder if it doesn’t detract from the otherwise clear-headed and straight-forward nature of your writing?

    In any event, I think it’s excellent as a first foray into the world of Flash Fiction! I hope you’ll continue pursuing the genre. Have you given any thought into entering the Short Tale Shrew contest? That $50 and publication might just be yours!

    Liked by 1 person

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