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Contemporary Sad

Marielle stood at the entrance to the bedroom, one hand mindlessly tapping the ivory white doorframe, the other gently grasping her lower jaw in an affectation of deep thought. The translucent lavender curtains across the room lazily flowed to the rhyme of the breeze outside. She could hear the steady beat of rain against the window, and shivered slightly as the cool late October air glided over her bare arms on its gentle journey through the one-bedroom apartment.

She sighed and walked over to her bed, laying gently back on the bare, soft mattress. The sheets shouldn't be out of the dryer for another twenty minutes, she confirmed to herself, until then I won't be able to visualize the room as well as I need. She knew it was a weak excuse to take a break, but she allowed herself the gentle reprieve anyways. As her unfocused eyes lazily perused the ceiling above her, Marielle's mind wandered back to Toulouse - her long-time home and anchor point for her soul. Ever since she made the move across the ocean to Washington, D.C., she began to notice a persistent feeling of being slightly askew.

Well, Marielle corrected her wandering thoughts, that's only a half-truth. While Toulouse would always be her home - a permanent, intricate tattoo on her identity - it wasn't La Ville Rose that she felt disconnected from, not quite. Truthfully, her loss of balance was specifically emitting from an otherwise nondescript two and a half by eight foot piece of land on the outskirts of the city. It was nothing more than overturned soil and freshly plotted grass - but that soil embraced what remained of a prodigious, gracious and (only to those who where gifted enough to know her intimately) silly human. It was in that exact place, approximately two feet down field from the small gravestone, where Marielle's centre of gravity resided.

Marielle pulled herself upright on the edge of the bed. If you start fixating on her, she gently chastised herself, you won't get anything done here. She placed her hands in the small of her back, gently turning her chest upwards to the ceiling where her thoughts had first began to betray her, and gently exhaled. She stood, stepping carefully around the picture frames arranged neatly on the floor, and returned to her post at the doorframe with her hand again fixated on her jaw.

Now, once the rug arrives, that should frame the bed nicely and fill out the room a bit more. She nodded to herself in agreeance, in an attempt to keep focus on the task in front of her. It still needs... a little something. A chair by the window?

Marielle followed her thoughts to the broad casement windows overlooking her quiet street in Georgetown. The streets outside were largely deserted, with leaves of various fiery colours strewn across the red brick sidewalks, slick with rain. A woman in a black rain jacket walked briskly by with a paper to-go cup of coffee in one hand, a leash attempting to commandeer an animated Havanese dog in the other. To Marielle's amusement, in a dramatic juxtaposition to its owner, the dog was wearing a bright turquoise rain slicker with cartoon rubber ducks dotted throughout.

Marielle wondered who made the dog's fashion choices - perhaps its owner lived out her more wild fashion fantasies through those tip-tapping white paws. Against her will, Marielle's mind suddenly raced back to a vivid memory in Toulouse, of a very agitated grey cat trying to paw a sparkling blue bow off its head. As he resorted to shaking his head from side to side, the obnoxious headpiece caught the light from the fireplace, causing a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours to dance across the ceilings and walls of the living room. The colours seemed to move in perfect rhyme with the punchy jazz music gently accentuating the intimate space.

"He looks absolutely ridiculous - I think this qualifies as animal abuse!" Marielle exclaimed, shifting her legs beneath the throw pillow she was resting on. The air smelled of hickory from the crackling fire, with the simmering oyster stew on the kitchen stove sending wafts of fresh butter and punchy ground pepper throughout the room - almost rich enough to taste simply by parting one's lips and inhaling deeply.

"Excuse me? He looks incredibly handsome and is merely feeling shy about stepping in to his greatness. Perhaps he fears being overcome by desire from the neighbourhood lady-cats." She said this while holding her thick dark eyebrows furrowed in judgement - but was ultimately betrayed by the mischievous sparkle in her deep green eyes.

Marielle rolled her eyes, sipping her champagne, trying - and failing - to keep herself from grinning widely. The cat, meanwhile, had successfully displaced the bow and was aggressively attacking it in revenge.

She really loved that cat, Marielle thought, as she returned to her rainy present existence, where the fashion icon dog and its newly caffeinated owner had since slipped out of sight. Oh how she cried when the poor thing became too sick to go on. Marielle closed her eyes, seeing flashes of tear-soaked mascara dried on reddened cheeks, the cold steel table of the vet's office - and days later, a petit urn, large white snowflakes gently coming to rest on the stylish maroon jacket she always wore. Had worn.

Marielle bent over at her waist, as if a vexed ghost had suddenly punched her in the gut. She drew in several shaky breathes, and was surprised to see drops of water on the floor. As she was trying to determine how the rain could have blown in through the window, another drop fell soundlessly to the light grey hardwood floor directly below her. She hadn't even realized she had been crying. For how long? She wondered, as she abruptly stood back up and wiped her eyes hastily. For how long will this go on?

She took in a few more breathes, deeper this time, and looked over her right shoulder to the corner cradled by the window. Yes, she thought firmly, a nice wingback would fit perfectly.

August 21, 2021 23:15

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1 comment

Brian Rains
23:10 Sep 01, 2021

Hello, I've been given your story to critique. Very sad story but good. Reminds me a little of how I felt when I lost a dear person close to me. A loss is a loss. Great job!


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