Behaving As One Should

Submitted into Contest #100 in response to: Start or end your story with two characters sitting down for a meal.... view prompt

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He didn’t own any board games, they were in the wrong flat for that. He knew there was a stack of them in the cupboard under the stairs in his partner’s flat, but of course they had decided to come here instead. It was closer at the time, and he had been certain that he had food in, whereas his partner had spent the majority of the drive over trying to remember whether he had any milk in the fridge, and if he did, whether it was even in date or whether they would be assaulted by milk that was more lumpy than one would usually like. Deciding against taking that risk, and not yet aware of the benefits of giving in to black coffee, they had headed here. And here they were, in his flat that housed no board games. And the power had just gone out.

Lacking on the entertainment front, he could not be accused of also lacking on the lighting front. Not one to utilise candles for decorative purposes, also not one to host the kind of dinners where he had the opportunity to decide not to use them, he was delighted to dig in to his stash, lining cupboards and sideboards and mantelpieces, until the living room was almost as lit up as it had been before. It was a warmer, more homely light, and for a second he considered joking that they should do this more often, and then he thought about how much effort and time it took to line one's flat with candles, and he decided against it. 

Being able to see was nice and all that, but it was pointless if they had nothing to do. He supposed they could bake but he was highly doubtful he had anything resembling ingredients. No television, no brain capacity to simply sit and listen to music. He supposed as well that they could read a book, but what was the point of them both sitting silently and reading books in the same room. If that was the plan, he may as well send his partner home, eat whatever he could find and go to bed instead. Perhaps he could have a very slow shower and that would take up some time, make it a more acceptable hour to retire.

The evening had been cut short and they had been made uncomfortably aware of each other's presence. Neither had any desire to sit and make surprisingly forced conversation, their flow had been interrupted by the dispersion of candles and once that was over it didn’t seem there was a way back into their comradery. Without stimuli, it was just the two of them in a room that one didn’t want to place any loose paper in. The calm, but after the storm. With every second that passed he was liking his slow shower idea more and more, now just to tell this guy stealing his biscuits to leave him alone and he could go to bed.

Alas, slow shower plans were thrown out of the window - perhaps some metaphor about them being burnt up by the candles would be better there - when his partner placed his glass down on the table and decided that the rest of their evening would be spent behaving as one should in a power cut. Board games it was, board games which better be worth the trek across London in the pitch black. Maybe he would carry a candle along with him to light the way like some Victorian servant girl. He quite liked the idea of that, it sure would frustrate his partner and wasn’t that what he was here for.

All of that hard work just to blow each of the candles out again, naturally whilst holding a competition as to who can blow out the longest line of candles at once. The top score was only six, which they thought was underwhelming. He maintained one and took it with him in his expedition to the kitchen, feeling slightly ridiculous packing them a dinner as if they were out on a picnic and not escaping into the night to become overly competitive at chess. Torches were harvested from his outdoor gear, everything in the flat was turned off not that it really mattered at the moment, and they set off out the door into the darkness.

It should have only been a ten minute walk, but the excitement of the change had turned them into schoolchildren and with all of the pushing each other off of the curb that was involved in their walk, it took them almost twice as long as it should have. Eventually the correct flat was reached and they set about replicating their previous environment, adding candles to all the free surfaces they could find. In the centre of the room, the coffee table was cleared and the cupboard under the stairs was raided, its contents emptied in a large pile on the nearest sofa. It was going to be a long evening.

He had watched his partner’s exploration of his impressive collection of board games from the safety of the kitchen. The few candles that could be spared for the kitchen were working hard trying to illuminate the stash he had brought with him. Another ten minutes and he emerged from the kitchen holding two plates, on which were piled sandwiches with too little cheese, some crisps that had seemed enough in the packet but were now disappointing, and some tiny sausage rolls that he had had left over and needed to get out of the way. A feast fit for two kings.

They were sat at opposite ends of the coffee table which, following its recent cleaning, was now neatly laid out with a chessboard. They were to start with the classics then. He could deal with that, could beat his partner at chess even if his other hand was busy eating cheese sandwiches or balancing glasses of orange juice that was now warm. Behaving as one should in a power cut.

June 25, 2021 23:05

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Unknown User
13:20 Jul 08, 2021

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