Home Is Where The Heart Is

Submitted into Contest #76 in response to: Write a story told exclusively through dialogue.... view prompt


Fiction Funny

“Hi, honey, I’m home. Where are you?”

    “Out here on the back porch. Bring a glass if you want some wine.”

    “You’re out there with the bottle already?”

    “What do you mean by that? It’s after five and I’m of legal drinking age.”

    “Okay, okay, no need to be snarky. Let me put my briefcase down and change and I’ll be there. Did you know the stove is on? Is that sauce supposed to be boiling like that?”

   “Damn. I forgot it. Let me see. It hasn’t burned. I’ll add some water and it’ll be okay.”

    “It smells good anyway. Give me a kiss.”

    “How was your day?”

    “Same old, same old. Side stepped the office drama. Thought I’d get out of golf with the boss tomorrow, but he’s decided we’re in need of some team building.”

    “But you don’t play golf.”

    “It’ll be an opportunity for him to teach his lowly protégé. Not how I wanted to spend my Saturday, but it’ll look bad if I don’t show up. How was your day?”

    “It was just a thrill a minute. I updated my resume and sent it out for the millionth time. I rearranged the rejection slips on my desk. I did some house cleaning and made the spaghetti sauce. I drew the line at putting on a frilly apron and high heels to welcome you home. And now you tell me that you’re going to be gone all day tomorrow. I assume wives are not invited to this golf junket?”

    “I’m sorry you’re here so much on your own. I’m sure a job will turn up soon. Why don’t you try to make friends in the neighborhood?”

    “And who precisely do you suggest I make friends with? Carla next door? Her three rug rats are her only topic of conversation. They’re cute but I can only take so many stories of their sleeping routines and general wonderfulness. I’ve developed selective hearing when she goes on about their toilet training. Mr. Burns on the other side? He’s deaf as a post and won’t wear his hearing aids, so I’m hoarse after yelling at him for ten minutes. Every other sentence of his starts with ‘Young people nowadays…’ I’m never sure if I’m considered one of the young people or old enough to side with him. And as for Mrs. Nosy Parker across the street…”

    “Oh, boy. What’s she done now? Here, have some more wine.”

    “She came over to see if I want to help with the neighborhood yard sale next month, but I think it was just an excuse to see how we’ve decorated the house. I will say it was pretty funny when she came round the corner and met Fred.”

     “Well, a moth-eaten stuffed grizzly bear standing upright in the hallway is not everyone’s idea of home décor.”

     “At least he’s harmless, unlike that decrepit old Chihuahua of hers. That thing might be half blind and incontinent, but he still bites. Anyway, she clutched her chest and had a sinking spell, so I got her into the nearest chair and gave her a glass of water. She was just recovering when she realized she was sitting in a chair made from a wine barrel. I told her I was just waiting for you to finish the next barrel so I can make the matching coffee table.”

     “Gee, thanks. You just confirmed her belief that I’ve sunk to unimaginable depths since I used to come here as a little boy to visit Grandma.”

      “She did say she couldn’t imagine what her dear Doreen would say if she could see the house now.”

     “Funny how memories change. She and Grandma used to feud over the stupidest things. I could barely make a peep in the yard when I was a child, or Mrs. Parker would be over here complaining about the noise. Did you tell her that you do interior design and specialize in repurposing and recycling?”

    “I did, but I don’t think she grasped the concept. She kept telling me what day the trash collectors pick up large items, and that she knows a wonderful furniture store where we could get a nice matching three-piece suite.”

    “I have to admit it must be a shock for her after Grandma’s décor of pink frilly curtains, and little china ornaments. Did you bring her out here? What did she make of the pigs?”

    “I told her not to worry, she really was seeing large concrete pigs covered in polka dots and not hallucinating. She got quite offended and pointed out that she is teetotal. She’s frustrated that we keep the front yard exactly according to rules, so she can’t gripe about that. But seriously, I don’t know how much longer I can take living here.”

    “We wouldn't be here if Grandma hadn’t left me the house. I know it’s not exactly your natural habitat,but we’d never be able to afford a house like this otherwise and it beats that closet we called an apartment.”

     “Do you remember how she brought us a casserole that first day we moved in and asked where you had met an exotic girl like me? I still don’t know if I’m exotic because I have blue streaks in my hair, a nose stud and a tattoo, or because my skin is several shades darker than yours. When I told her we met at art school, she said that explained a lot. Now look at you, with your suit and briefcase and playing golf with the boss. You’re blending in and I can’t… I’ll never look the part and I don’t want to play it.”

    “Is that a compliment or an insult?”

    “It’s a statement of fact. You've gone all polo shirts and khakis even when you’re supposed to be relaxing. What happened to your Birkenstocks and T-shirts? You’re conforming by the day.”

   “Well, we have to pay the bills somehow and Birkenstocks don’t exactly fit the dress code in the corporate world.”

    “This is a very desirable neighborhood, as Mrs. Parker likes to remind me. We could sell this place and find somewhere cheaper in a place with personality. We could buy an RV and tour the country. Anything beats turning into Mrs. Parker. Damn, I smell the sauce burning.”

   “Was it salvageable? No. In that case, lets order pizza. I just texted my boss that I can’t play golf tomorrow due to an unforeseen emergency. Let me go and get my Birkenstocks.”

    “I knew I loved you for a reason! I’ll pour the wine.”

January 15, 2021 22:20

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.