#204 An Evening

by Christopher Allen

The last one, I say, head to the floor, shards tearing at my knees. You have to break something every time you come here. We’ll never get this cleaned up.

Ellen folds her arms across her chest, leans against the dishwasher. Since Mom’s death, my sister has become clumsy. She’s shattered my priceless crucifix carved from the rarest Afghan lapis lazuli. My antique vase collection from Yemen is a pastel memory in a photo album. And now, my last hand-blown Lambert Bordeaux glass is a spray of tiny diamonds and peach powder on the kitchen floor. The set of twelve was an exorbitant—Ellen said ‘crazy’—wedding present from Mom. Go have your life, child! Make a splash! Drink wine! Mom knew what I needed.

So I did. At 59, I moved to Europe with a generous Spaniard, ending my life chapter about the dying, demented mother and starting the one with the best Ribera del Dueros, exotic islands and sex with an Andalusian accent. Carlos was a brief, last-ditch sort of chapter, the kind worth leaving a spinster sister to order the preacher and lilies alone.

Blood streaking down my shins, I walk into my living room, grab the dainty Russian figurine Carlos gave me on our second anniversary and watch it whiplash against the marble floor. They’re both dead now, Ellen. Won’t we ever be even?

Ellen reaches for the signed Chagall painting hanging too proudly above the dining room sideboard. Not yet, she says, but we’re evening.



Curt Child is a man who just can’t seem to get gay, so he’s enlisted the help of his oldest—and gayest—friend S. Teri O’Type to drag him a few inches down The Road to Greater Gayness.

Click on the cover to visit the book's Amazon page.

12 comments:

Shona Snowden said...

Love the intensity of the emotions in this one.

Anonymous said...

Superb!
Mia

Jenn Bower said...

Super splay of bone china emotions. Love the shard like intensity. Positively seething in resentments. You are such a master of painting pictures with an economy of words. Right up there with Gillian Flynn.

Paola said...

Beautiful detailed descriptions, and matching intense emotions, Chris: so much in so few words...

Christopher James said...

I like the language in this one, and the build to the smashing conclusion. The italics for dialogue gives everything a slightly ghostly feel too, as if the dead mother is still in the room with them.

Chris

Christopher Allen said...

Thank you for these encouraging comments! There's still time to enter your own.

Jany said...

Almost too intense to read. The shards of pain, the senseless destruction of beautiful things...
Amazing, Chris,well done!

Robert Vaughan said...

Stunning use of words and brilliance of tension leading to the last sentence. Riveting work!

gillhoffs said...

I love the colours - great flash! It feels like the prelude to a slap in the face.

Christopher Allen said...

Thank you, sweet people! I would like to give myself some constructive criticism! I could have deleted the word "painting" as it would have been understood from the context. Don't you think so? The rhythm of the sentence would have been more pleasing as well.

Paula Ray said...

The act of breaking and the visual of seeing things crash fits the prompt very well. I really enjoyed your story.

Christopher Allen said...

Thank you, Paula! As I did yours!