{story a day}

You find yourself sitting in a chair at midnight, the tail end of a fire glowing in the woodstove, and you can’t remember how you got there. There was beer and a shot of tequila, toasted to an imaginary clink, and music: Neil Young and the Indigo Girls and then Cowboy Junkies. And tears, there were lots of tears, your head still feels like a lazy balloon, one whose skin has grown too thick for popping.

A throb in your left heel reminds you of the broken teapot, the one that belonged to your grandmother, the tiny shard you’d stepped on despite sweeping the floor three times, the blood, the cursing of a loss you hadn’t known you’d feel, the lack of band-aids in a medicine cabinet that never seemed to hold anything but regret.

The window is open to one of those nights with just the right amount of breeze sliding in through your dirty lace curtains at exactly the perfect temperature, and the only sound is the triple-layered cacophony of frogs having a party down at the swamp. The word raucous keeps pinging through your mind.

You don’t move. Because you know that as soon as you move, something else will go wrong, and then your heart will slide too far to the right and the weeping will begin again. So you sit there, rigid, silent, and let the night air feather your skin. You think about nothing and everything, and after awhile, you can’t tell which is which. The darkness gets darker and you wrap yourself in folds of ink. Words tattoo your skin, news of floods and murder, corruption and deceit, who wore what dress to a party no one’s ever invited to.

And then, you dream. There’s a forest and a radio playing softly, somewhere in the distance of the room you’re still in. The trees disappear, or rather, dissolve into bars. The window shrinks, and moves up the wall before you have time to grab on, and then you can no longer reach the ledge, or see anything but a tiny square of sky.

There’s one star there, peeking in at you, but without companions, you can’t name it. This makes you laugh to yourself. A giggle bubbles up from your belly and you know that if you open your mouth, you will roar.

And then there you are, back in your living room and it’s late enough that the sky is beginning to lighten. You know you should go to bed, but somehow, this night was meant for chair sleeping. Window dreaming. Sob releasing. You shift, slightly, to give the foot you’ve crossed beneath your hips some blood. That tingle, the one that lets you know you’re still alive, rises up through your ankle.

Somewhere far off you hear a robin, pecking at the edges of the sun, trying hard to hurry dawn into dressing. Another day. There’s always one more.

The floor is clean this morning. You think maybe you should scrub it with your tears more often. You love the way it feels beneath your feet.


I’ve signed up for A Story A Day’s May challenge, which is to write a short piece of fiction every day. I don’t think I’ll be posting every day, but I will be writing, and I’ll post whatever seems worthy.
The prompt for this was “second person, awkward.”






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{story a day}

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