Tag Archives: sadness

Coffee Clutch

for David

Coffee. That’s how it starts. “Buy you a cup of coffee?” “Meet me for coffee?”

Plastic to-go cups of iced coffee on a hot summer evening, you wondering how it’s going to turn out. You know that if it goes badly, your second cup will be a decaf and you’ll go home. But, if it goes well, you’ll go home with him, so that second cup will be regular. Maybe espresso.

Coffee in steaming mugs, the two of you cocooned by shared blankets, watching the leaves fall and float from the trees in the cool autumn air.

Delicate cups of gourmet coffee in the bistro where you had your first real date; you gazing out the window as the snow piles up outside. He plunges the French press and pours. Taking a sip, he says, “I’m not feeling it.” You laugh. “Maxed out your caffeine tolerance?” you ask. “No, it’s not the coffee,” he says. “It’s you.” He pushes his chair back from the table and sets down his cup. “I thought I’d be feeling something by now, but I’m not. Sorry.” He leaves, and you stare at the widening stain on the tablecloth where his coffee sloshed out of the still-full cup.

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Filed under autobigraphy, coffee, conflict, dating, flash fiction, irony, memoir, relationships, single, women

Freeway Funk

Leslie had never wanted to drive on the freeway. She never wanted to go that fast. She didn’t ski, she didn’t bike, she didn’t rollerblade for the same reason. Going fast wasn’t desirable. Going fast risked being out of control, at the whim of gravity and unpredictable factors like angry drivers, roads in poor condition and stray animals. No, freeways were laden with dangers, rife with the chance of pain and death.

Not that death was that scary. There were plenty of days that death seemed appealing. A way to stop all the hopelessness and anxiety. What if I’m in this job forever?  How will I ever find another job if I lose this one?  How can I have a PhD and be so unqualified for anything?

So, most days she was open to death. It was the pain that worried her. Dismembered, brain damaged, these were the real dangers of going fast. A rock on a bike path could throw her off balance and crack her skull. A mogul, coming up too soon, could incite a swerve into a gully and break her legs. A bear, wandering onto the freeway… and so on. So many scenarios that could bring pain and a longer, more miserable life than the one she had now.

Fairytales would have her meet a man or take up a hobby that filled her soul and brought her joy. She wasn’t keen on either of those.

What brought her a reluctant sense of relief was to stop going on about how depressed she felt, get up from her desk and fucking do something like, for example, get dressed and go to work.

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Filed under autobigraphy, bodily harm, conflict, depression, driving, fiction, flash fiction, irony, sarcasm, Uncategorized, women, writing

A Frog to Remember

“Tell me you seriously don’t remember.”

Stacy is sitting in a lawn chair on the deck of her three-story townhouse, looking out at the colorful autumn leaves in the woods. Breaking her gaze is the banister of the railing, even more so, the two foot high resin frog sitting there.

“You are actually telling me that you don’t know where I got that thing,” Stacy says, jutting her chin toward the frog.

“Yes, I am. What’s the big deal?” Karen asks. She’s visiting from Fort Lauderdale, grateful for Stacy’s guest bedroom and the chance to sit outside in the cool air of Charlotte in October. “You going to tell me?”

Stacy raises an eyebrow and looks at Karen. “How long have you been divorced now?” she asks.

“Two and a half years,” Karen answers, involuntarily wrinkling her nose. “What does Thomas have to do with it? Wait, I know, Thomas looks like a frog.”

“Rude,” Stacy says. “No, I’m talking about how that frog got there.”

“Did he give it to you? Figures he’d give you something. He never gave me anything. Except now, now he gives me alimony, child support, and grief. Other than the grief I’d say I’m getting a better deal than you got with that damn frog,” Karen says.

“Bitter much?” asks Stacy. “No, your in-laws gave that frog to y’all. For a wedding present.”

“Really? I don’t remember that at all.”

“Yeah, you got married on a Saturday and you put that frog on your front stoop on Monday and you complained about it every day for six years. I’d always liked it, so when y’all were breaking up I asked if I could have it. But you said ‘no’; you made a big fuss about how it was the ‘last bastion’ of your marriage and how you couldn’t possibly part with it.”

Karen stands up and walks over to the frog. She reaches out and strokes its plastic head, running her hand over its smooth haunches and webbed toes.

“When I visited you a year ago I took it,” Stacy says. “It’s been sitting on my banister ever since. You’ve been here twice since then,” she sighs. “You never even noticed.”

“I never even noticed,” Karen repeats, looking out at the trees and wishing there was an autumn in Fort Lauderdale.

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Filed under autobigraphy, conflict, divorce, fiction, flash fiction, friendship, Uncategorized, women, writing

Her Stinking Promise

I had smelled my way through every airplane-bottle-sized vial of scented oil in the St. Louis Galleria’s Bare Escentuals store. My head pounded from the onslaught of floral, dusty, musty and rainwater-fresh fragrances. And still, nothing.

The strategy of the store was to lure you in with the essence of redolent oils and then for a perky sales clerk to sell you a scent blended into every kind of body wash, shampoo, conditioner and hand soap she had stocked on the shelves.

They all stunk to me.  And there was only one left to smell.

It was called simply, “JM.” Those are my initials. “This could be perfume kismet,” I thought as I closed my eyes and lifted the bottle to my nose. It smelled soapy and clean. It smelled like fresh starts and new beginnings. It smelled the way I wanted to smell, the kind of smell that I thought, if it were exuding from my pores, would make me hopeful and happy. I wanted to smear it all over my body, and Ingrid, eager for her commission, was more than willing to work her alchemic magic to ensure that I had enough product to drench myself in morning, noon and night.

“And,” Ingrid said, “the owner’s daughter’s initials are ‘JM’, so you can be sure it’ll never be discontinued.”

“Thank God,” I said. “I haven’t been able to count on anything lately.”

Ingrid had promised.

She lied.

 

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Filed under autobigraphy, body image, conflict, depression, fiction, flash fiction, Uncategorized, women