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Archive for the ‘Short Fiction’ Category

The symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the counter is almost complete, again. They know each other far too well now. She watches the young girl count out the money, she see’s the dollar bills neatly in the drawer and realizes why the plexiglass separates them. It would be so easy to reach in and take what she needs, she could run, she could start her car and be gone within seconds, she feels her blood begin to warm in her veins and she understands impulse and how quickly impulse can take over the actions of your body.

The young girl finishes counting out the money and places it in the tiny hole cut out of the plexiglass separating the two. She takes the money and counts it again, there at the window before she leaves. It’s become her routine. The young girl smiles at her through her over-processed hair that lies disheveled across her face. She wonders how she got here, this place in her life. She thinks about how the young girl has no worries, yet. How she doesn’t have kids and only dates occasionally, how she lives with her parents and is saving up for her first car. She knows all of these things because they chat like that. She talks to the young girl like they are sorority sisters planning ahead to the evenings events — that makes it easier. Small talk surrounding them to mask the real reason she was there. Her son wants to go out with his friends. Her dog is hungry. Her water bill is late. Her car is out of gas.

They say goodbye… again.

She walks to her car gripping the cash tightly in her hand, eyes down so no one see’s her. She jumps in her car, slams the door shut and locks it in one quick move. She always parks far enough away from the door of the business so no one would suspect she was in there… it was a small town, she was sure someone would become suspicious if they recognized her car out front. So, she parks closer to the nail salon. She can say she is just getting a manicure — no one would doubt her. No one knows the symbiosis between her and the young girl behind the plexiglass.

She holds tight to the money for a few seconds and feels her stress leave, briefly. She counts out the twenty-dollar bills until she reaches $200.00, then she stares at it again… there, in her hands. She then begins separating it onto the passenger seat. She can make it last for two weeks, she knows she can, she’s done it before. One hundred dollars for the grocery store — she’ll stick with the store brand items, instant potatoes, a bag of potatoes… potatoes are cheap, at least 5 meals from them she thinks. She’ll get the eggs that are on sale… 3 meals out of those. Chicken legs are cheap too… 4 meals out of those. She goes over her list there in the car and reminds herself she can do it — $100.00 in the grocery pile. She puts $40.00 in a different pile… gas for the car. $20.00 in a pile all to itself — money for her oldest son to go to the movies. He has no idea… $20.00 for the movies once in a while will keep it that way. The rest, $40.00, she hides in the console of her car — for emergencies. Two weeks, she can do this, she’s done it before.

She looks at all the piles and takes a deep breath — still unsure of how she got to this place in her journey. Off in the distance she hears the whistle of the train, picking up the lunch time crowd, whisking them away to downtown to enjoy lunches on terraces and mid-day margaritas on decorated patios. As quickly as she imagined the ease at which her impulses would allow her to reach into the young girls drawer of money, she imagined taking her piles of cash and hopping on the train to enjoy a cold drink at her favorite spot, people watching with her friends, laughing, hugging, telling stories. The whistle blew again as she started her car, pulling away from her innocent parking spot near the nail salon, aiming the car toward the grocery store because that’s where her life is taking her right now, the symbiosis is complete, again — her dog is hungry.

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I am going to try something a little different today. We’re going to play a great big game of “let’s pretend”. The stories I tell on here are stories from my life. So perhaps this game of pretend won’t be such a big stretch, as I’m hoping …

The weather was still and quiet, a perfect sky where all the stars were shining so cleverly on the streets. The temperature on this November night must have been unseasonably warm — no coats required. Of course, with never having been to New York, she really didn’t know what the usual weather was. The walk from the hotel was short and magnificent. The towering buildings, the lights, the people — everything was a new sensation for her.

She stopped in front of the building where the party was taking place and gazed up at the enormity of it all for just a second too long. She became dizzy and stumbled backwards, bumping a couple of passers-by, then gathered her balance and resumed to stare — at that door — unable to go in.

This was a long-awaited night. One that had been dreamt about for the last year. One that had been the inspiration to make a change, to become better. It had started as a joke really, amongst strangers. A vow to meet — in real life. But, something in her made this want to be real. She wanted to have a reason to leave the comfort of her life — just for a little while — and mingle amongst the strangers who had become her strength.

It was the anticipation of meeting those strangers that had finally propelled her in the direction of positive change, of doing something for herself — selfishly. She had spent the last couple of years in a state of constant worry, panic, disbelief. And by all outwardly appearances, she had just stopped caring. She had been content to stay the same. The thought of moving forward was too scary because the imminent failure was all too familiar.

But, there she was, at the door to the party. About to meet those strangers. And all the doubt and worry and lack of confidence was urging her to walk away — back to the comfort of her real life. The anticipation of this event had been so long thought out, that perhaps the end of the journey would pale in comparison to the story she had already written in her mind.

So there she stood — still. A feeling of sickness creeping up her throat, the warm night air turning ice-cold on her skin, the towering buildings falling in on her — the city sounds confusing her. A deep breath, if she could only take a deep breath.

She kept a steady gaze on that door. Her feet, with a mind of their own, tried to begin the fleeing process by turning in the direction of the hotel. There was a real intention to walk — stumble actually — back to the hotel. But, before she could make the move, that door opened to greet her. The laughter was infectious and floated out to her — calling her. She could make out the faces of those that had unknowingly prodded her along. Her breath came, her feet moved towards the door, the strangers were waiting to welcome her.

So, there’s the partial journey to the world of “let’s pretend”. The journey has begun already actually. The outcome of which is not known — like life. You have to decide if the person you want to be is anything like the person you really are. You start the journey and wait for the outcome… waiting for the conclusion.

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