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Sad Inspirational Suspense

Confrontation has always made me nervous. So when I’m forced to engage in it I’m more than a little frazzled. I bounced back and forth from the text message my boyfriend sent me, and this nuisance of a clock. Every tick of it on my office wall is driving me mad. I bit down on my pencil harder and harder against the ticking. I know I’m no good at serious discussions but it’s just Matt. 

“He wouldn’t hurt my feelings too bad, right?” I pondered aloud. 

“Who are you talking to?” my supervisor who just walked in said.

Startled, I shrieked, “Oh no one!” wishing I had kept my inner thoughts nonverbal.

“Well anyway, I’ll need you to stay an extra 45 minutes and file these cases for me. But clock out at 3.” Mr. Davidson said sternly.

“Um yeah sure thing Mr. Davidson. Thanks.” 

As soon as I knew the coast was clear I hopped out of my chair and proceeded to perform a brief victory dance. This unexpected overtime bought me just enough time to calm my anxiety about this “talk” I had to have later. I snatched a few tissues from my desk and swiped the beads of sweat from my face and dabbed under my arms too as I felt the dampness seeping through my brown blazer.

My parents divorced when I was 13. I think about it everyday. My mom was a sweet, timid lady, and my father not so much. Mom was an amazing baker and the proudest homemaker. Everyday was a “feast for the eyes,” as she called it, via Julia Child, her favorite. We would watch cooking shows together everyday, and fill our bellies with the delicious renditions she would forge by just memorizing a recipe. So my little brother and I never went hungry or went to school with a bad lunch. It was about the only thing we could look forward to. The rest are scattered memories stained with unkind words and striking hands. 

My mother never said anything, so I never said anything. Back then, my brother never said anything either until he got older. He stayed at home a lot longer than I did though. I was shipped off to boarding school when the abuse got too deep, but that was long after their prolonged divorcing process. Ironically, I’m seeking therapy from the boarding school alone. 

College attempted to crack my shell. I joined some groups, had a few good friends but still was just Dee. That helped boost my confidence to a solid 5 out of 10. I was always an inherently nervous, shy, nearly mute young woman. Having my bubble burst by my professor hardened my shell even further. I was in a deep daydream before I realized I was actually being made an example of because of my “C-” paper. I’ll never forget the colorful faces laughing at my expense, reddening my fat cheeks. That's when I met Matt and he was the only one that didn’t laugh and spoke up for me.

The thoughts of my past bound with busy work jolted me back to my reality. The current time prepared me for the inevitable. I had just 10 more minutes until I talked to Matt! Daunting paranoia absorbed through my already pale skin. Before I knew it, it was time for me to go home. I loaded my things slowly hoping it would lessen my dread. My swollen feet pulsated against my heels and my bra was cutting deep into my back, but I’d put up with that pain for another day than have to deal with this. 

I took a deep breath before starting my car, crying before I even could wonder why. My blood seemed to be bubbling and hot like a big pot of oatmeal. If this is the end, it had to be the end, my implication multiplying my worry. I parked perfectly into my designated spot, feeling something new. Now I was calm, and mostly just tired.

Before I put my key into my apartment door, Matt opened it and looked at me with sad concerned eyes. His expression told me the topic of discussion. I walked past him and flopped on our frumpy plaid couch. I despised this itchy thing. Our apartment was nice though. After some decorating and budgeting, I molded this outdated two bedroom into a seemingly luxury style-savvy cozy space. That was one of the few things I enjoyed while living here. 

“Hey, how was your day?” he asked.

 I looked at him puzzled, “Um okay I guess.”

He nodded in affirmation. 

“Want to meet me at the table? We need to talk.”

“Uh oh the four words of doom.” I blurted out. 

I covered my mouth tightly with both hands, completely shocked I even said that. I usually never tell a waiter when I don't like my food, now all of a sudden I had word vomit? What the hell is wrong with me?

“Huh?” Matt questioned.

“Oh nothing, let’s just go sit down,” I said.

I sat down on the cold silver steel chair hunched over,  right leg crossed over my left, hands folded. 

“Are you thirsty?” he asked.

“Sure I am a little parched actually.” And I meant that, but oddly not in a nervous way.

He brought over two mugs of something warm, I held it in my hands and let the heat fill my body. I brought the cup to my mouth ready for a sip.

“Hey listen, I just think—” he started.

I swallowed and shuddered with disgust. “Matt…what is this?!” I shouted.

“Uh it’s tea, what’s the matter?” he asked sincerely.

I glared at him and tilted my head to the right. I took a while to answer, because this was it. This was my moment.

“Matthew Justice,” I started calmly, “when have you EVER known me to drink tea? I HATE TEA!” 

The cheap cup flew across the room narrowly hitting him in the head. Shards of glass exploded in the kitchen, scattered across the white vinyl floor. Unfortunately, his reflexes were quick. We both got up from the table quickly, standing almost square to one another.

“Dee what the hell is wrong with you?!” he screamed pointing at me.

“What the hell is wrong with me?! No, what the hell is wrong with you?! We’ve been together for nine years and I have never EVER drank a sip of tea in this house and you know that so why would you try to break up with me on a Tuesday and offer me TEA?”

“Break up with you? Wait do you–” 

“ You know what Matt just save it! Save whatever you were about to say because I’m done. I can’t remember the last time you ever hugged me, gave me a flower OR even asked me how my day was until today!” I said as heavy tears welled up in my eyes. 

My face was hot with warm tears. Matt reached his hands out as if he wanted to wipe them away.

I took a step back and said “ No! Don’t touch me. I can wipe my own tears.”

He stood in front of me confused, shocked, wanting to do and say more than I would allow. Electrical charges ignited my nerves and I felt so different. I felt heard, truly and finally heard. I stood so firmly I felt like my heels would pop off. Now, my heartbeat was steady, skin was dry, adrenaline pumping every word I uttered, but there weren’t any more.

I stormed into the bedroom and threw my things in a suitcase. I stuffed all my important belongings and dropped them into the bag while chuckling at myself in between. In the distance, I can hear Matt trying to plead with me, his voice coming closer to the room. I throw my last pair of shoes into my suitcase. He is at the door, but just before he even begins to speak, I stop him with a hand.

I sit on the bed and stare at him for a few minutes and sigh. I thought of all the ways I let him control me while simultaneously disregarding my very existence. I handed him the house key and already could feel my wasted time being reclaimed. I left without the urge to look behind me and wonder if he was looking or what he may be thinking. I threw my medium-sized suitcase in my truck passenger side and quickly went to the driver side. I sat the keys in my ashtray and let out a war cry to rival them all. It echoed throughout my vehicle as I gripped and shook the steering wheel. I sobbed one last time as I laughed and remembered something my brother always told me growing up. 

“Dee you’re the strongest and the bestest.”

This was the first time I actually felt it. I grabbed my keys from the ashtray and started my car. I looked through the rear view mirror amazed at who I saw. No longer would I play second fiddle to anyone's dreams. Loud music vibrated through my car as I sang at the top of my lungs. I coasted along the highway looking for the best hotel. I threw my shoes out the window along with my bra. 

A five star hotel downtown piqued my interest. I walked in with my suitcase, no bra or shoes on in a brown musty business suit beaming with pride. The attendant greeted me with apprehension. 

“Hi ma’am, how can I help you?” he said.

“I’d like your best rated most expensive room available please.”

“Alright,” he said, impressed. “How long will you be staying?”

I pulled out my card and handed it to him. 

“Just put it on the card. I’ll be here awhile.”

January 14, 2022 02:23

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2 comments

Unknown User
22:52 Jan 20, 2022

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Shaun Johnson
23:03 Jan 21, 2022

Thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it.

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