#104 Sequence

by Amy Gettinger

“Take me home, Alice.”

I pick a card from my stack and stare at the laminated game board. I put the five of diamonds in the discard pile, and place a small blue chip on its matching board square.

“I want to go home,” Dad says. “You hear?”

His big paw takes a card, throws it down, plops a white chip on the three of clubs. This hand, which once proved geometric theorems on chalkboards, strays to the greasy crew cut above the bloated face. His neck is twice the size it was when he came here two months ago, his body bursting out of a worn flannel shirt and spotted gray sweats. Mom said they’re feeding him too much salt.

I grimace, and pick a card.

Take me home. Please! Alice!” Dad’s voice rises, like when I was small.

Behind me, Matt says, “Gotta go.”

I look up, straight into over-bright lights as the door shuts behind him. I put a chip on the seven of hearts.

Dad snatches a card, shoves a chip at the king of spades. “Listen. I. Want. To. Go. Home. 4579 Dakota Avenue.”

His angry words stream squiggly, shimmery lines across my field of vision, obscuring the board. He grabs my hand.

“Dad.” In place of his face are wild, flashing lights.

“Alice, you gotta take me home.” The flat of his other hand comes down hard on the table. The chips on the board jump. So do I.

Shaking, I pick a card.

8 comments:

JRVogt said...

Excellent tension in this scene.

Shona Snowden said...

Strong episode.

Lenore Weir said...

I agree with JR. The tension is palpable. I like the contrast between the casual activity and the underlying emotion.

Donna Brigman said...

I loved this piece . The underlying heartbreak comes through with the juxtaposition
Of the board game and the unfolding drama. Bravo!

Brandi Haile said...

I agree. Great tension.

Amy said...

Thanks, all.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aerin said...

Fantastic, Amy. SO much subtext, so much depth.