Author's note: Came back to this site after a long time away and read through a few old posts. Haven't posted anything after the new rule about using any of the old lines. So I went to the archive and dug up the first line used on the channel (No. Don't tell me I can't.) and figured I'd do a prequel to one of the earlier things I'd written (My entry for "There s/he was" specifically). This whole thing was sort of done on the fly.
The sun peeking through the window to the east was the only illumination in the small two-bedroom house save for the soft glow of the fluorescent kitchen light. Ellen sat at the table sipping a cup of coffee and listening to some puerile prank the morning DJs were playing between commercials and old rock songs. She put the coffee aside, hands trembling slightly causing the light brown brew to spill out slightly, putting a stain on the papers in front of her.
"Damn it." she whispered to herself as she dabbed at it with the sleeve of her pajamas. It didn't do much good, but the spill wasn't overly large either. She stared at the papers, doubt needling at her slightly as she pondered what they meant. It shouldn't have felt like that much of a change, and certainly not for the worse. Still it felt as though someone had his hand around her heart as she thought about them.
"Up early?" a groggy voice uttered, still thick with sleep. She didn't bother looking up from the papers as the sound of a cupboard opening and closing again. She sighed and picked up the papers and walked to the kitchen. Mitch was just pouring the last of the coffee into an old, chipped coffee mug.
"Would it've killed you to leave an entire cup of coffee, Ell?" he asked without facing her. He dumped the old coffee grounds into the sink and began digging into the cupboard next to him for the coffee and filters. "Seriously are you going for some sort of record or to you just enjoy seeing me miserable in the mornings?" he asked while he dumped scoop after scoop into the maker. When she didn't answer he turned around. She took a deep breath and handed him the papers. He was confused at first, but took them anyway. She could see his eyes dart across the page, reading key words. She saw him mouth the words "What the..." before looking up at her with an exasperated expression.
"Ell, you-" he began
"No. Don't tell me I can't." she interrupted. "Don't tell me I'm overreacting, don't tell me anything, okay? Just...this is going to happen." she blurted. She took a deep breath and sighed "My mind is made up, Mitch." Mitch held the paper in his right hand and slowly put the coffee on the counter. His head was down. The pause was probably longer then it seemed, the only sound in the room being a station identification which itself was breaking up a string of commercials.
"You couldn't have waited." he said, still not looking at her "Seriously what did we say when we first got married, never serve me divorce papers until after I've had my coffee."
"Don't make jokes." Ellen said.
"It is a damn joke!" he said throwing the papers on the ground. The outburst cause Ellen to back a step away, her arms folding in front of her as her shoulders raised slightly "This is why Kimmy's at your sister's."
"I didn't want her here for this." she said "I didn't know how you'd react."
That caused Mitch to finally looked up at her. His brow was furrowed, his lips tightened as his jaw clenched shut as he slightly shook his head. He closed his eyes again and mouthed the word "unbelievable". He took in a deep breath which he held for a moment before finally releasing it.
"You can't do this." he said.
"Mitch-" she began but he cut her off with a raised hand.
"I mean the papers. Since you're a party to the divorce it's improper Proof of Service, it's got to come from a third party." he said to her. His jaw brow had lifted again and his jaw was slacked again, but his eyes were still closed. "I think I read that somewhere."
"I...I filled out the papers myself, I don't have a lawyer yet." she replied. There was silence between them as some old Led Zeppelin song began playing over the radio. Mitch looked at her, sighed and grabbed the phone book from beside the telephone. He walked towards her with it and put it in her hands.
"Get one." he said simply.
With that he walked into the bedroom. She gathered the papers and sat back down at the table. A few moments later Mitch emerged fully dressed and carrying a nap sack over his shoulder. He left without looking at her. She could hear the car door slam before he drove away. The morning DJs were signing off by the time she opened the phone book to look for an attorney.
It's been awhile since I have actually posted anything to this community or this site at all, but I feel like I need to bring out my creative side more often. Hopefully the small but I just wrote will be alright.
She watched as drop of rain traveled down the front of her windshield, it collided with more creating a larger drop before reaching the bottom of the window and disappearing all together. She suddenly felt like that tear drop, all her emotions clashing into one, causing her ever falling life to hit rock bottom as she stared, the background blurring in her vision. She felt empty and yet she felt like she could scream, cry, and laugh all at once. Memories flashed in her mind as her car’s windshield wipers went across the window, wiping the slate clean. With every swipe, a new memory popped up. One where she was the happiest person on the planet, nothing could bring her down; another where she was sleeping and drinking and was at one of her lowest points. More and more flashed through her mind as her empty shell tried to feel something, anything whether it was anger or sadness or even just a small amount of pain.
“Why… Why do I feel nothing?” She asked the empty suffocating air in her car. She waited and waited, but there was no answer. Only silence, her ever growing darkness, and an unsure path with a fork in the road.
Threw this together completely on the fly. Hope you guys like it. The story sort of got away from me.
It was a Monday. A particularly hot Monday as a matter of fact. By nine-thirty in the morning it was already eighty five degrees Fahrenheit and most weather reports had reported that it was likely to get even hotter before noon. It was an unpleasant day most places.
At the social security office on Melvil Dewey Avenue it was the kind of miserable day that could have inspired horror movies if it weren't too hot to think. By the time the doors had opened there was already a group of at least twenty people waiting to be helped. By eight-thirty seven it was standing room only. It was when someone pointed out that the air conditioning had shut down that Lydia began wondering if perhaps that God was sending a sign to her that he did, in fact, exist and was upset that she hadn't been to church in eight years.
At eleven fifty-seven AM, three minutes before her lunchtime, she was wrapped in a sauna-like humidity that clung to her like a sleeping bag she couldn't unzip herself from. She sat with her hand rested against her cheek, partially listening to the angry triad from a man wearing a red, green and yellow Hawaiian shirt. She occasionally sipped soda from an aluminum can that had stopped being cold ten minutes ago.
"Would you like to speak to my manager?" she asked in a forced sing-song voice and a pleasant smile that she hopped wasn't revealing how tightly her teeth were clenched.
"No, I want you to help me..." the man said and was off again. When he paused again she put on as sympathetic a face as she could manage and reached for a pamphlet and a business card, handing it to the man.
"I'm sorry, sir, I really can't help you with that, but if you call this number during standard business hours they may be able to answers any questions you have." she said. The man snatched the pamphlet and business card and stormed away. Lydia closed her eyes and pinched the root and bridge of her nose with her right hand as a man approached next.
This is going to be trouble, she thought to herself. The man's hair was black and slicked back and he wore a dramatic black cape over a batman t-shirt. "Hi, my social security information is under the wrong name. It's being delivered to Vladimir D. Impaler." he said as he approached.
"As opposed to...?" she asked without looking up.
"Vlad D. Impala." he said and gave a pleasant smile "My dad was a Chevy."
"Of course. Very funny, sir, but if you don't have an actual problem-" she began
"You care nothing for vampire automobiles!" he screamed and stormed out.
What happened next was a bit of a blur. She remembered standing up at her work space and swinging her can of cola in a circle over her head and screaming "I'm making it rain". After that she grabbed the small black, metal mesh container by her desk and rushing out into the waiting area and shouting that everyone was now getting paid in paperclips, tossing them about as she did so. She closed her eyes and leaned back in back of the police car and basking in its AC with a sigh and an pleasant smile until a knock on her desk caught her attention.
Her eyes snapped back open. The police car was gone, the air condition was gone, the angry man in the Hawaiian shirt was still there looking at Terry, whose knock had yanked Lydia out of her daydream.
"Go on lunch, Lyds." Terry said to her.
"Thank you." she said to Terry and stood up.
"She wasn't even listening to me!" the man said to Terry and pointed accusingly at Lydia. By then Lydia was halfway to the door. Minutes later she sat in the ugly plastic chair of a near-by burger joint, enjoying the breeze from it's constantly humming air-conditioning. A young man in a white short-sleeved, loosened black neck-tie and Geek Squad name badge at the table next to her.
"Crazy day, eh?" he said to her.
"You have no idea." she said to him and sipped from a vanilla milkshake.
The heat reaches my fingertips
The last of the warmth that I
Harbored inside for the
Desperate, desolate times
Come here, my sacred flame
The blanket over my soul as I sleep
When the rain outside my window
Is a like a weeping lullaby
But you are swept away into the cold
And I am bare
Left to count the hours until
Another dawn will appear and clear away
What is drowning my heart
three o'clock in the morning
hunched and typing
details, citations, notations
bitter exhaustion creeping in
push on push on
don't take your fingers off the keyboard
don't stop typing
stretch type repeat
a few more hours to go
anxiety battling sleep
will you finish on time?
will it be any good?
grey light of morning
filtering through the windows
you just might make it
I did it.
I did it anyway.
And here I am
Shaking, and unwell, and lonely,
But still okay
After the bitter exhaustion of it all.
It’s sick how okay I am.
And it all just keeps happening.
And it needs to.
I need to.
I can’t survive without this.
Don’t you see?
I need this to be okay.