creative writing, Pat Aitcheson writes, short story

With A Kiss

a very short story

Photo by Rémi Walle on Unsplash

listen to this story here: 

People watching kept me entertained while I sipped fragrant apple and elderflower tea. I always preferred observing real life to endless scrolling or playing pointless games on my phone. Most likely I’d finish before Karen turned up and bought me something sweet to make up for her perennial lateness. Carrot cake would make a delicious apology.

The loud slam of a car door startled me as the coffee shop doors opened wide. Outside a dark haired woman strode along the footpath, her frown obvious as she approached the window where I sat.

Her companion caught up in a few long strides and grabbed her wrist. She spun around and shook her hand free. She waved her hands, stabbed a finger at his chest in accusation. He shook his head, fists clenched at his sides. One or two passers-by glanced at them but they paid no attention, fully absorbed in their moment of crisis.

He opened his palms in a placatory gesture while she slumped, eyes downcast. I took another sip of tea. Only a pane of glass separated me from the drama unfolding almost within touching distance. In movies, that would be the pivotal moment. He’d beg forgiveness, she’d realise what she was losing, and they would fall into each other’s arms.

She walked away. But when he called out, she hesitated and stopped. This was it; I held my breath, ready to cheer for the triumph of love and a happy ending.

She turned around and went back to him. The wind tugged at his hair as she cupped his face between her hands. He relaxed into her kiss and reached for her at the exact moment she let go. She gave him a small, sad smile before walking away, out of sight.

The man stood rooted to the spot, touching his lips as if to hold on to her final message. He returned to his car and sat for a while before driving away.

I wondered about them even after Karen rushed in, describing her own little drama of lost keys and a broken heel that could easily be repaired. My carrot cake was too sweet, a consolation prize that left a bitter aftertaste.

Love is no fairytale. Sometimes it ends with a kiss.


first published 13.4.19 by PS I Love You on Medium

blog, creative writing, Pat Aitcheson writes

The Blue Box

a ten minute tale*

blue box ribbon_Schwarzenarzisse
Schwarzenarzisse via pixabay

 

She tried to forget about the box. Really she kept herself so very busy, that she almost truly forgot about it. But it was always there, catching her step when she walked past, whispering into her ears when she wasn’t listening.

A box could contain everything and nothing. But she didn’t look because she didn’t care to find out.

She found it one warm summer afternoon, long after the funeral. She had been stiff and dignified, accepting the mourners’ murmured words of condolence. But she felt nothing. Those words rang hollow after all the sniping and criticism. Her mother had ground her down for years until there was nothing left. Or so she thought.

It was so unfair that there was nobody else to help. Her beloved father had gone years before. She imagined him apologising to the paramedic.

“Sorry to cause all this fuss,” he would have said as they bundled him off to the hospital. There, he had held her hand as she wept real tears.

“Really, Theresa, you’re making an exhibition of yourself.” Her mother’s scold bit deep.

She tried not to cry at his funeral. At her mother’s funeral, she didn’t. They all said how well she was doing.

Clearing out the house alone, she found the little dusty blue box, tied with navy ribbon. Eventually she gave in. It rattled.

Inside it she found the baby shoe she had once worn. Finally she cried, that her mother had remembered a softer, better time.


*written longhand in ten minutes, from a random word prompt: box