The Ten of Spades

Submitted into Contest #74 in response to: Write a story that takes place across ten seconds.... view prompt


Fiction Contemporary Drama

Timing is everything is it not? 

Right down to the nanosecond it seems. 

I glance over at the alarm and see that there are only ten seconds left of the original two minutes I had set it for. 

Running my hand through my dark rambunctious curly hair, I find myself thinking, this could change everything

When I close my eyes, I see us. 

The first moment his green eyes stared into my hazel blues, I knew I was done for. 

He had been watching me from across the library. 

I had piles of homework up to my neck and a four o’clock shadow under my bloodshot eyes.

The stress was intense back in those days. 

He had finally gotten up the nerve to come over to me and was holding two steaming mugs.

“You look like you have a case of the finals.” 

I had looked up at him startled, “Uh, a case of the what?” 

Smiling he’d said, “You don’t have enough time to study, you don’t know where you placed your lucky eraser, and you don’t remember the last time you actually had a good night’s rest.” 

“So are we talking about you or me?” I’d asked, smiling back.

“Yes,” he’d agreed while handing me a mug.

“What’s this?” 

I’d questioned while smelling the contents. More than a hint of whiskey had punched my nostrils into working at their full capacity. 

“Just coffee.” He had winked. 

He had then introduced himself as Willard Scott the third and insisted that I just call him Will. 

We ended up in a heated debate over which way to put toilet paper on the roll was wrong or right and finally decided it didn’t matter, because at the end of the day at least you had toilet paper.

I’m not sure exactly what it was about me that he had found attractive. 

It definitely could not have been my face, let alone my nose. 

Why my father had to give me his nose I will never understand. 

Aren’t genetics fun? 

I find myself sighing and find myself briefly back to the present to look over at the timer again and wonder how it’s only been three seconds since the last time I looked. Who knows why your mind can go so fast when you’re hyped up by your fluctuating hormones. One moment you’re high on life, the next you’re remembering how much you hate your existence. Or focused on what gave your life more meaning than what you could have ever thought was possible. 

I find myself lured back to my memories of the sound of his deep voice, to the way he’d gently wrap up into his arms. 

He gave himself entirely to me, and I him. 

In my mind it’s like I’m standing there all over again when he’d gotten down on one knee. We had just gotten back to our house we had bought here in this small town and were still moving in. Cardboard boxes still sitting in the corner of the living room beside the old purple couch we had gotten for free from his Uncle. 

I remember him asking me that question consisting of four words. 

Which led to us minutes later in bed skin on skin, lips on lips, clinging to each other as if the other was our only source of oxygen. 

It was that night that he got the call. 

One of his patients that wasn’t due until the next week was in labor and he had to go to the hospital. 

I remember saying, 

“Just one more…” as he kissed me goodbye. 

I’d held onto him as long as he had let me until he said, 

“Hun, I need to go. They’re counting on me.” 

Reluctantly I had let him go and had watched as he had pulled out of the driveway in his old 2008 Chevy Impala. 

Who would have thought that would be the last time? 

I touch my lips, remembering that moment all too well and feel a tear slip down my left cheek. 

I had just finished popping a bag of buttered popcorn and had hopped onto the purple couch to snuggle with Sir Augustus, our orange tiger kitten that we had just rescued from the local humane society. Who for some reason at the time insisted on kicking all of the kitty litter out of his litter bin.

I remember contemplating where we would have the wedding, what the color theme would be, and what kind of dress I would wear. I was convinced that the dress had to be long and poufy and envisioned having the sleeves come off the shoulders.

It had been nearly an hour after he had gone that I had gotten a phone call myself. 

The kind that when you answer it and you go to reply, you find yourself choking on your words, trying to fathom what is being said to you.

Sometimes I wish I could forget it ever happened. 

All of it. 

Maybe it would have been better to have never met him or fallen in love with him in the first place? 

Only then would I not feel like my heart is being stabbed over and over again as if the first time wasn’t bad enough. 

Maybe in some parallel universe there is a version of me that gets to live that happily ever after?

However, that is something that I will never have the pleasure of knowing.

Once again I look to see if it’s almost time and to my amazement there’s still five seconds left. 

I start thinking about whether I am or not. 

Will I want to keep it, if I am? 

And if I’m not, will I be sad that I won’t have that part of Will to hold onto? 

Sir Augustus pushes the door to the bathroom open to come investigate. 

He jumps up and settles himself into the sink, purring up a storm. 

As I reach over to scratch his head a small smile forms on my lips and just then the alarm I had set goes off.

January 02, 2021 03:19

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