Four Days Left
There are four days left before Pinwheel Poetry's In Transit event, (which I will be performing in: open mic glory and all) and I've gotten quite nervous about it. Thus, I wrote this little piece of fiction to make myself believe that Saturday will be another normal day. And that hope is always present.
That is, a normal day with performance poetry in it.
It's been too long since I've shared a story on my blog, so here it is. A story.
The Boy at Number 4
There she stood over the counter sink, her tight bun undone and her face as pale as the flour tucked away in the pantry. The words had escaped her throat before her mind had processed the consequences. And there, alone in her kitchen, she began to understand the full gravity of what she had done. The cake batter littered the counter like the pieces of her heart—an utter mess in the midst of perfectly arranged furniture.
Four minutes had passed since the door had been slammed shut, and still she stood unmoving over the counter sink. Her hands were clenched into quivering fists. There was no need to blink back tears, for none flowed out. She was not sad, she was angry—irrationally, unconsolably angry. And not with him, oh, no, that was quite impossible. She was angry with herself.
From the outside, the whitewash house at Number 4 was perfectly quiet and peaceful. The streetlamp did not flicker, and the driveway was free of overgrowth. The neighbours liked it that way. Tonight, though, Cassie didn’t care what the bloody neighbours thought! The perfectly manicured lawn was nothing now—not when she’d added too much sugar into the cake mix. (Although this was not the real cause of Cassie’s little kitchen scene.)
And what would the neighbours say tomorrow when she’d show up at her sister’s perfect child’s garden birthday party with an overly sweetened cake instead of her Jordan by her side? What would they say?
The most terrible critics were those closest to you, and Cassie, standing over the counter sink, her cheeks smudged with flour, but now tomato red from shame, knew that tomorrow, everyone she held dear would be the most terrible critic.
“It’s because you nag him about his late hours,” Dad would say. “He works hard all day, and who are you to nag him? You’re just the woman he lives with.”
Or “it’s because you’ve gotten much to busy with this bakery business. How can a man love you when you’re in love with your cakes more than him?” (Of course, this was not true, Cassie was just as much in love with him as her cakes.)
The boy at Number 4 was everyone’s hero, with a walk as straight as his hair. He looked you squarely in the eye when he reprimanded you, and looked away when he complimented you. The boy at Number 4 was technically a man, but with the innocence of a boy. And she? She was just that girl who wasn’t good enough for him.
Suppose Cassie always knew this—from the neighbours, from everyone. Suppose she knew it was only a matter of time before he left. The boy at Number 4 was too good a dream to stay for so long with her, the spirit who was too free to hold him down.
Suppose Cassie always knew this, but hoped still that the boy at Number 4 would turn the brass door handle of their house and come in and say he didn’t mean to walk away and that he didn’t really want to fight.
Suppose she hoped to brew a cup of tea for the boy who never went to bed without it that night.
Suppose she was sorry.
The door handle did not turn that night.
But the doorbell—much to Cassie’s surprise—rang.