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General

It started with the blue-green slime.

She told him it was disgusting. Would he want a glob of what was in someone's mouth on his dinner plate, she wanted to know? This was a toothpaste glob in the sink, right where she brushed her own teeth. It was nauseating. It was on par with putting a glob of food on someone else's dinner plate.

She pushed a wet tendril of hair out of her face. It was 95 degrees, and the air conditioning repair man was still not done. The banging and clanking from the basement was almost too much to bear.

He couldn't see what the big deal was. A tiny blob of toothpaste on the sink, and he was at least eighty percent sure that it didn't come from him. He told her so. She was always blaming him for things that she had no evidence for. He was nearly certain it hadn't come from him. She probably did it herself. She was constantly brushing her teeth. Constantly. Honestly, he'd often wondered if she was obsessive-compulsive. In that way. And others.

He was a liar! What, did he think that the kids sneaked into the adult bathroom and secretly, surreptitiously used the toothpaste then spat it out without washing it down? Ridiculous! They were not so uncouth. Besides, they used bubblegum flavor. He might remember that if he spent any time with them. And by the way, she brushed twice a day. When was the last time he'd been to the dentist? Was he familiar with the concept of hygiene? It was his mother who'd put him in such a bad place. For poor hygiene and other issues he had. Now she had to deal with it. He was sweating like a pig right now, for godssake.

Any time with the kids? Oh, okay. So apparently the two hours spent taking them fishing while she was at her "Southern Ladies Social Club" didn't count. Because the Club was so important. Yes, must fit in with the other shallow ladies of the neighborhood! What pressing items would they address at this week's meeting?Maybe they could all get together and talk about whether Carson Forrester wore the same dress to church two weeks in a row. Tiny sparkles formed on his upper lip. Sweat. He was getting worked up.

But why not? She did a million things that drove him crazy.

What about his razors, he wanted to know.

Well, what about them?

They're dull?

And?

They're dull because she used them to shave her g-dd--n legs every morning. Did she know how annoying it is to have to get a fresh razor when his was constantly dull from her using it on her legs? It added a least a minute to his shower time. And it meant that he had to step out of the warm water into the cold air, which was a terrible shock--well, usually. Of course now, he'd give his eye teeth for breeze. It was stifling. He wanted to loosen his collar, but he was wearing a golf shirt. It was Saturday.

She started crying. Did he know why she shaved her legs? It was for him! For him! He wouldn't notice because he never paid attention to her. She'd gotten her hair cut and blown out three weeks ago and he hadn't said a single thing. Her sister was right. She should've married Bill Bush.

There was an uncomfortable silence then.

It was broken by footfalls on the old oak staircase. The HVAC tech was plodding up the stairs. It was about time. Jesus Christ. All day long they'd all just sat in the sweltering humidity of a South Carolina summer day. Even the large magnolia in the front lawn seemed to wilt in the heat. And the A/C repair man. Wow. If he'd had any idea of what he was doing, he would've fixed the A/C hours ago. That ungodly clanging and banging. He took his time with everything. Honestly, if he raced a glacier to the bedroom, the glacier would win handily.

Now who would take care of writing the check?

Also, had he heard them yelling?

He would take care of it. He walked down to the kitchen in his slow, methodical cadence. She could hear him fumbling for the checkbook. The familiar hum of the air conditioner cycling on interrupted her thoughts.

She took in a deep double-lungful of air. Her heartbeat felt like it had slowed. She stretched her legs out. The wetness that had gathered behind her knees evaporated. She caught her reflection in the mirror. Her cheeks and forehead had been flushed. She saw them return to their normal flesh color. The wet tendril that had hung across her face had curled into a dry ringlet that she now tucked back behind her ear.

She could hear footfalls again on the stairs. These were familiar. It was Pete. They sounded slow, defeated. She'd really been on the warpath. Pete had taken the kids fishing and then to get ice cream. Maddie had a chocolate stain on her dress, but had said it was the happiest day of her life. Little Pete had been so proud that he asked for a frame for the photo of him holding that bluegill after they'd cleaned it and brought it home. Maybe she hadn't been fair. . .

Pete seemed to have calmed down. The sweat on his upper lip had disappeared. He paused. Her sister was wrong, he wanted her to know. She nodded slowly. Did she know why?

He paused again for dramatic effect.

Well, how ridiculous would it be to be called Rose Bush?

Rose Whittington was a much more appropriate name.

She laughed then. He was goofy. She loved his goofy smile, his silly sense of humor. The way he smiled with his eyes and threw his head back when he was really laughing.

He laughed then, too. And told her to not stop shaving her legs--she could use his razor.

The A/C repair man walked back to his truck at his own pace. He was underappreciated, and he knew it. But it was all in a day's work. He had another house call after this one. Thank God for the A/C.

July 11, 2020 15:57

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13 comments

Helga Mears
14:09 Jul 23, 2020

Great story, great writer.

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Adhi Das
19:36 Jul 22, 2020

Enjoyed reading😊

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The way it's written is perfect. I love the descriptions.

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Amy De Matt
00:31 Jul 22, 2020

Thank you!!

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Elle Clark
09:57 Jul 21, 2020

This was a great piece of writing! Such a relatable situation too - who hasn’t been more irritable in the heat? I really enjoyed this!

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Amy De Matt
00:32 Jul 22, 2020

Glad you enjoyed, thanks for the read!!

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Elle Clark
02:43 Jul 22, 2020

You’re welcome! If you have time and are interested, feel free to check out mine. It’s called My Final Performance.

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18:17 Jul 18, 2020

I loved your story it was very funny entertaining and witty ! You deserve the best ! Keep going!!

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Amy De Matt
00:34 Jul 22, 2020

Thanks for the encouragement, Nessrine!!

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Jonathan Blaauw
14:49 Jul 16, 2020

This is such a good story! I think writing is one of those things that seems easy until you try it. But you make it look effortless. Such great flow and clarity of expression, it really ropes the reader in. Great story.

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Amy De Matt
00:53 Jul 17, 2020

Thank you!! I love reading the work of others on the site. Lots to learn!

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Jonathan Blaauw
15:17 Jul 19, 2020

I agree. Hope you're also working on a new story, though. Because, while you're learning, you're also teaching by example with your writing. We all help each other, that's what I love about this site.

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Amy De Matt
00:34 Jul 22, 2020

Amen to that!! I’ll be looking out for your next story!! :)

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