When the thirst gets too great he approaches the edge of the water, knowing that one misstep will be his last. There is no choice but to brave the terrifying depths of the pool. As he slakes his thirst, the water sucks against his body like quicksilver and weighs down his limbs. The liquid clutches at him, dragging him away from any hope of escape.
Six spindly legs thrash against the water, his opalescent wings bogged down and useless. There is no sound as his faceted eyes sink beneath the surface.
Only a carcass now, the struggle for life forgotten.
The decision was a cold, dead thing now that it was over. Their chests still heaved in anger, eyes wet with unshed tears, but the fire was subsiding. The words had clawed to come out for so long; both too afraid to ask what the other really thought. There was no going back now.
With no more words to say, they sat in the chill air and stared off into the distance—together, but alone. There would be steps to take, eventually. Now there was only sorrow mingled with relief, and the blush of the setting sun.
They both suddenly went still; the sound of ripping upholstery momentarily cooling their desire.
“What was that?” he asked. He eased his body off of hers enough that she could feel around the cushion with one hand.
“The button on my pocket caught the couch! My mom is going to kill me.”
“You know the solution, don’t you?” He caressed down her bare stomach until his fingertips brushed the top button of her jeans. She bit her lip, hesitating, then nodded.
The lemon sherbet melted all over the counter, forgotten.
“You calling me a piece of shit?” the one-legged man snarled from his wheelchair, the leavings of several meals encrusting his faded shirt.
“I didn’t say that, sir.” The speaker crackled. “I said we can’t stop the train just cuz you got on the wrong car. It’s rush hour, we’re doing what we can.”
He wheeled himself over to the offending door; red block lettering indicated it was broken. He commiserated. His grubby nails peeled the sticker away—as if the words would lose their power if torn. He had cracked when his body broke, maybe it worked for paper.
It was the shoes that broke his heart.
Somehow, he’d managed to pack it all away without shedding a tear. Everything folded neatly and put into boxes; out of sight, out of mind. Then he’d found them, the ballet slippers that both fit in his open palm.
His wife had said to get rid of it all—burn it if he had to—and he would play the dutiful husband, but when he tried to add them to the pile he could not loosen his grip. He slipped them into the pocket over his heart.
Weeping, he lit the match.
A drabble is a story in 100 words, which is a wonderful and unique challenge.
“How do you like your eggs?” He smiled; a good man, just not the right man for her. She shooed the kids into the kitchen where I sat. We exchanged a knowing look.
His girls stampeded into the room, a flurry of energy and toothy grins. My friend had told me all about the magic of them, her boyfriend’s kids—the only reason she stayed. Until now. An offhand comment had spurred our conversation, and the beginning of the end.
He fed me breakfast, and I broke his home.
It held together long enough for me to turn the corner.