“Couldn’t you hear me knocking?” – she asked.
“Uh, no… I was…”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
“Want to go out to dinner tonight?” – Normal asked Brian, kissing him Goodbye.
“I can’t. We have this really demanding client, who…” – Brian kept explaining, but Norma already stopped listening.
“Gotta run!” – she said, trying to sound urgent, as she rushed out the door.
When she got to the car, she took a minute to compose herself. Today was their anniversary, so it hurt that much more. Things have not been well for quite some time now. Brian would either work late, or go out with his buddies, leaving Norma behind. On the off chance that he did neither, he would be in a terrible mood, and would go to sleep right after coming back from work.
“I’m exhausted” – he’d say, stepping through the door.
And that was that. Norma felt invisible. They never did anything together anymore. They didn’t even really talk. And when they did, he would get mad at whatever she had to say. So she stopped talking. Passing one another like ships in the wind was their daily life. She almost left him last week when his meeting abroad had to be extended by two days. Again. However, she decided to give it one more go. She was already out of steam, but she dug into the reserves, and decided to give him until the anniversary to straighten it all out.
“Stupid, stupid, STUPID!” – she cried, banging at the steering wheel.
After this morning, she knew there was no going back. She could not take it, and she knew he would not change.
“Pull yourself together” – she thought, wiping away the tears.
She powdered her nose a little, and off to work she went.
Just before getting onto the interstate, she realized that she left her office keys at home, which meant she did not have the house keys either.They were on the same key chain in the wooden bowl by the front door. It was a bowl she put there so that Brian wouldn’t lose his keys every day. You come in, you put the keys in the bowl. You leave, you take them out. Easy enough, but she still kept finding his keys in the pants’ pocket when preparing for the clothes to be washed. Or on the bed, because they fell out when he laid down exhausted after work. She stopped yelling. She could only do so much. But today, for the first time, she forgot her keys. Brian was still getting ready when she stormed out, so maybe he was still there and could let her in. She didn’t want to be stuck outside after work, waiting for him to come back at God knows what time, so she turned around and floored the gas, heading home.
“Call Brian” – she ordered.
“Calling Brian” – the sound system confirmed.
The ringing reverberated throughout the car.
“Pick up. Pick up!”
She wanted to call him just in case he was to leave a minute before she got there. There would be no turning him around. He would not have cared. He couldn’t be late to work.
“Please, leave a message for…”
“Ughhh!” – she grunted, as she hung up.
She drove like a maniac.
“Please, please, please, let me get there safely, and in time” – she uttered, quickly lifting her gaze up to the sky.
Once she got home, she did not even bother turning off the ignition. His car was still here. She made it in time.
“Thank you!” – she muttered, looking up towards the sky again, before taking the stairs to the front door.
“Damn this doorbell” – she cursed.
Brian said he would repair it, but he has not had the time since.
She knocked a few more times, and then waited a little longer, before starting to pound at the door. She also kept dialing Brian’s cell phone, but it kept going straight to voicemail now, without ringing.
“He must have switched his phone off” – she thought.
After about 15 minutes of pounding, yelling, and calling, she got nowhere. He might be in the shower, but she had no more time to waste.
“Hey, can I pick up the house keys from you during lunch today? I forgot mine. Leave them at the front desk, if you don’t have time for a bite” – she left him a message before getting into the car and leaving for work.
Lunch hour came, and she decided to drive to Brian’s office even though he never called her back to confirm.
“Good afternoon, Victoria. I wonder if…”
“Yes, dear, he left the keys for you.”
Norma smiled at the secretary, and wondered if she was the one. The one whom her boyfriend had been screwing.
“I’m not your dear, DEAR” – she said inaudibly.
The rest of the day was uneventful. Still no call or message from Brian, but she was done calling him. She expected him to explode at her, when he would get home, for “blowing up (his) phone”, and “distracting him from ACTUAL work”. As if what he did was more important than her work. But this time around, she was not going to have any of it. She was going to break it off for good.
Norma picked up a pizza on her way home from work, so she wouldn’t have to cook. Cooking for one can get exhausting. And she wasn’t in the mood, anyway.
“I wonder what he ordered now” – she thought, picking up the box from the porch.
Upon entering the apartment, she tossed the package aside, placing the pizza on the kitchen counter, before heading towards the bathroom to wash her hands. That was a part of her daily routine after coming back from work – washing her hands, changing into some comfy clothes, and putting on her favorite fuzzy slippers.
Approaching the bathroom, she could see some flickering in the corner of the eye, but she disregarded it. A sweet smell was in the air.
“How did Victoria smell today?” – she tried to recall, but couldn’t.
It was hard for Norma to believe that he would have brought his side chick into THEIR bed, but it definitely was not the smell of her own perfume. Too flowery. She washed her hands, and headed over to the bedroom.
There were more than two dozen candles lit all around the room. Rose petals were scattered on the floor and the bed. While Norma stood there, unable to form a cohesive thought, Brian stepped from behind her.
“Hello, dear” – he said, kissing her on the neck.
“What is this?” – she asked more confused than ever.
“Where’d you put the box?”
She was getting mad. She was trying to figure out what was happening, and he was more preoccupied with his package than her.
“What could be so important? It was probably just another action figure for his collection.”
Norma half expected Victoria to pop up from behind the curtain.
“Yes, the box. Did you bring it in? Where…” – Brian sounded annoyed.
“I tossed it onto the couch” – she responded furiously. “Will you tell me what the fuck is actually going on here? Are you going to finally admit to having an affair?”
“An affair? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Don’t play dumb with me. Out with it.”
“Open this” – he said, handing her the brown box.
“I’m losing my patience here, Brian. Are you having an affair? Are you leaving? No, I am!” – she was speaking faster than she could think.
“Here. Just PLEASE, open this.”
He handed her a black velvet box from inside the package.
“Will you marry me?” – he asked as she opened the box.
Norma’s thoughts were racing.
“No, I’m NOT having an affair. I promise, I’ll answer all your questions. Just say “Yes”.”
“Yes” – she answered with tears of joy coming down her cheeks.
She picked him off his knee, and they kissed.
I wrote the above piece a few days ago. When I saw the prompt today, a totally different idea popped into my head. That is what is so cool about those prompts. We all have such different ideas. Care to share? See below for details.
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post, so that I can get an alert and check out your post. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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