We were going for a walk, Holly and I. The night was what I then considered to be skin-thickeningly cold, and the stars were liberally dusted across a clear sky; a full moon haloed above the tree line. The silence was silhouetted against the distant violence of the ocean; punctuated by a whinnying horse and dog collars jingling. Holly and I crossed the mud-slathered road, picking our steps as if it were a minefield, and stopped in awe. A lake of fog was languidly pooled in our field, mulling upon the alfalfa, the moonlit white peripherally pierced by jagged islands of trees. The lake gingerly slipped through the narrow, gate-bereft opening we stood in, where it mused upon our sandaled feet.
Our joined hands tightened. I looked at Holly, and saw the look I was expecting—eyes luminous, dimpled cheeks smattered with freckles, and her slightly parted mouth the embodiment of delighted mischief. She laughed out loud and began sprinting, still holding my hand. Exhilarated at the sheer, glorious absurdity, I raced through the waist deep fog with her, laughing as our unified hands threw off our balance.
Suddenly she screamed and hurled all of her 95 pound, 5’ 1 ¾” body onto my back, one hand on my shoulder, the other on my hair.
“Slugs” she gasped, “in my sandals.”
Ah. The fate worse than death. I cleaned her sandals as she dried her feet on my pants, then stuck them into my pockets.
We took the long way home.
January 23, 2008
Word Count: 253
“Rosalie, you may now kiss your groom.”
I thought about it and looked at my companion’s hairy lips and tiny mouth. I chucked the idea and kissed his forehead. I knew this cat completed me, and I told it so.
“Cat, you complete me.”
I was five years old and discovering the joys of marriage. Cat and I had been best friends since infancy. I had never seen whiskers so refined. I glowed.
“Rosalie, does the cat want out?” my mom called.
I dashed to let my thirty-pound husband out the door, eager to take my roll as the doting wife. His finely chiseled cat jaw and shiny black fur dash between my feet and out the door.
“Mom, aren’t husbands wonderful?”
My mother was busy making dinner. “Rosalie, I don’t know how you would know.”
I resented this. Couldn’t she believe that her little girl was growing up, or didn’t she notice the king size bed sheet wrapped around my head as a veil?
I heard a meow at the door that only a wife can discern.
“The cat wants back in, Rosalie.”
I arched my back. Didn’t she think that as a good wife, I would hear it myself?
I let him in. This was love. He pranced around my feet and headed back to the door. He wanted out. This was love. I let him out… I let him in. This was…
Too much. I turned to my mother, hands on hips. “Mom, husbands can never make up their minds.”
New Saint Andrews College
RHT-01 – Chalcedon Term
Word Count: 278
The backseat of a Ford Ranger isn’t really a back seat. It’s a coffin that would hardly fit a pygmy. But in the twenty-seventh hour of driving, it seemed as inviting as a mattress store open 24 hours. But sleep didn’t happen. I thought back to being in class, and how easy it had been to sleep there, but my thought was interrupted. The scent didn’t just seep into the backseat, timidly passing through the truck, hoping to go unnoticed. It charged through the cab like a sign of the apocalypse. Suddenly I was returning from Christmas break to find my refrigerator unplugged and left open. Suddenly I was plunged face first into a pool of tuna noodle casserole that had been sitting at room temperature week after week. Suddenly I was Dante, nostrils aflame, cowering behind Virgil as the abyss greeted us with the intense fumes of gangrened flesh slow roasted on a spit. My lungs seized and my eyes watered. With desperation I broke the bonds of seat and panel that pinned me to the floor. I shot up and threw myself at the back window frantic to open it before it shattered. Brandon was at the wheel gasping, as frantic as I was to break the airless vacuum. Tollefson was asleep. Morning air hit me like a strong side safety, but this time giving breath. I leaned over into the front, Tollefson was slowly waking as Brandon plugged him with right hands, shouting at him with the urgency of a mother in labor: “Put your shoes back on!!”
The Vacuum Battle
My mom told me to vacuum the cobwebs stuck to the walls in my room. After finishing, I, an obedient 16 year-old, glanced around the room for the third time. None left. So, I began to use the hose on my jeans. The hose hovered over my pant leg making it tremble in mid-air and then gulped up the denim. I felt air sweep past my leg. The vacuum started to shriek for help with its increased high pitch. After being rescued from the pants, it investigated my t-shirt. The t-shirt falsely branded me "lifeguard". And like a dog back to its vomit, it choked on the shirt and for the second time screeched for assistance. Saved again, it stared me in the face. I stared back and wondered. Would it be entertaining to put my mouth around the hose? It looked like a good time waiting to happen. Overconfidently, I brought the hose closer to my mouth and took a firm hold on it with my lips. My tongue instantly swelled in my throat and denied the wind access to my innards. It was like a newborn suffocating on a plastic bag. Terrified by the abrupt fascination the hose had about my tongue, I tore the fiend from mouth like a hook from a confused fish's jaw. I had trusted that tube and it betrayed me. Upon further inspection in the mirror I witnessed a dark cherry colored tongue quivering in the back of my mouth… much like my embarrassed face.