#13 Circumstances

by Camille Griep

By the time they pull you out of the car, the party is already half over. Harry from accounting has mown through the good cheese and the VP is opening the evening’s lesser quality wines. Your cubicle neighbor has checked her watch twice, noting the unlikelihood of your tardiness. Your nemesis jokes you had to pick the right bow tie to make your entrance. Luella stares into her empty glass thinking she misunderstood.

She’s the one they call later, a cheerful ring tone ripping through deep layers of red wine sleep. Hers is the only number on the recent calls list, save the Chinese place on 3rd. She hangs up, heart slamming, limbs electric with pins and needles. The two of you are still only a possibility. She doesn’t know whether to cry.

You refuse visitors. You wouldn’t be able to tell them anyway. You were thinking about brie and champagne, a glinting ding on the beige car too close, driver slumped over the wheel. Metal shrieked and twisted, steam hissing white streams through billows of black tire smoke, a unique sound you can’t un-hear. You obsess over that final minute, dreaming alternate endings.

Luella attributes your solitude to stoicism instead of the necklace of surgical chain culminating in a garish, glistening trache and humiliating yellow tube snaking from the bed. You don't call anyone.

Still, she buys roses. She pauses at your closed door. For another few seconds, she remains innocent of circumstances beyond anybody’s control.

13 comments:

JRVogt said...

Excellent slice of life (and potential death).

Sam Knight said...

I had to read it twice to get there, but it was worth the ride. Nice job using 2nd person POV. Nice job subtly stating what was happening.

Anonymous said...

Yes, very intriguing & well written. Always spices things up a bit when someone uses second person: ) I liked this one.

Flutterby said...

Wow. So much in a tight space. I love the line "cheerful ring tone ripping through deep layers of red wine sleep."

Shona Snowden said...

Not a fan of 2nd person, but it worked well for this piece. Great description and contrast.

Dean Clayton Edwards said...

Quality. Great stuff.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Well done! Second person is not an easy task.

Hannah Onoguwe said...

I had to read the firt paragragh twice to get what wsa going on, but it quickly became my favorite. I liked the description of what colleagues were up to while he was otherwise 'occupied'. Well done.

Camille said...

Thanks so much for the feedback and the comments. I agree that 2nd person can be very polarizing, so I wanted to use it here where it would be just a small dose. Cheers!

Aerin said...

Dense, well written, definitely quality!

bookspersonally said...

Terrific story, love 'the two of you are only a possibility' and the way you leave us right on the brink of something. Congratulations!

Patsy said...

Very good.

Izzy DM said...

Camille,
It's a fantastic story. So much detail, plot, character in so little space.

Congratulations!
Izzy