06-14-2012 07:07 PM
So, it's been quite a while since I've had the time to write a story, but today, I feel like writing. This is a short story. It's a work in progress, and by that I mean I just started it an hour ago and will post as I go along. I have not edited anything and it's not set in stone. For those new to my writing, I build up to the story, so the first posting is not necessarily what the story is going to be about. I don't want people to think I'm writing about household maintenance and not read the rest of it. Feedback would be lovely. Constructive feedback would be awesome. Mean feedback . . . well, just don't be too mean . Also, I'm not responsible for what the board does to my paragraphs .
Plink . . . plink . . . plink . . .
Water continued to drip out of the pipe in a steady rhythym, mocking Gill as he lay under the sink, with a wrench in his sweaty, inept hand.
Taking a break from his lack of progress, he manuevered out from inside the cabinet and sat up, cringing as his back popped in response. Unthinkingly, he wiped his wet forehead with his sweaty wet hand, which defeated his purpose entirely.
The pipe still leaked, as much as it had for the past two weeks, rotting the wood inside the cabinet and staining the kitchen floor with a permanent water spot. Sighing, he continued to stared at the villainous pipe that had cost him his entire weekend of golf and fishing and possibly the Cubs game later that day, watching the water drip oh so confidently onto the ruined wood, taunting him: plink . . . plink . . . plink . . . You . . . won’t . . . win . . . You . . . can’t . . . win . . .
Starting, as though a gun had gone off, Gilbert was halfway off the floor before realizing it was only his wife that interrupted his musings.
Standing in the kitchen doorway, briefcase in hand, and the sour, demanding look that was most common on her face, was Gill’s wife of nearly fifteen years, Lydia. To say she was beautiful would be an understatement, but to Gilbert, for the most part, her beauty was more of a reminder of the sweet girl he once knew and loved, and in turn caused him pain to see the woman she was now. Overstressed, overworked, and overall, completely dominating, she could be impatient and terrifying when the situation called for it. Which, in her mind, was often.
“Haven’t you fixed that pipe yet?” Her voice rang out, too loudly, in Gill’s opinion.
“Well, no . . . but I think I’m getting closer . . ., “ Gill said.
“Well, I would hope that after two days, you would be getting some results by now.” Lydia walked into the room, set her briefcase down on the counter, and then, to Gill’s dismay, leaned down to look at the pipe.
She was bent over so long that Gill expected that she was either transfixed by the sight of the water dripping as he had been, or, the more likely scenario, she about to explode and was building up to it. The dripping water seemed to be laughing at him now: Ha . . . ha . . . ha . . . Hee . . . hee . . . hee . . .
And suddenly, she was looking at him. He wasn’t sure how long she had been staring at him, but he was sure, by the look in her eye and the expression on her face, that she had spoken to him and he had missed the question.
“What, sweetie?” Gill asked, hoping she didn’t notice his inattentiveness anyway.
“I said, maybe we should hire a plumber, I mean, since you’re not going to get anywhere with this.” She then gestured over to the sink, just so he was clear on what they were talking about.
Blushing deep red, he stammered, “No, I can do this . . . really . . . just a few more minutes and I’ll have it.”
Not being the bread-winner of the house-hold, him being an English teacher at the local school and her being a corporate lawyer at one of the biggest firms in the state, and not really excelling anywhere else in his life, he needed to show his wife that he could do something as trivial as fix a pipe.
Her facial expression relaxed into a smile, though it wasn’t a very reassuring smile, more like a “sure, we’ll see” smile.
Standing up at last, she ran her hands down her brand new pants-suit, checking for wrinkles. Without looking at him, she walked back over to get her briefcase and said, “I would like that to be fixed when I get back.” Though, what she really meant was, “That had better be fixed when I get back.” And then she left. Nothing, not even it being a Sunday, could stop her from going into work.
Disheartened, but eager to finally finish the job, Gill laid back down in the cabinet and started working on it. In another five minutes, without any visible improvement, he became so angry that banged the pipe a few times in frustration. Of course, all that came from his fit was a now bursting pipe and a need to change out of his drenched clothing. After he escaped the cabinet, at a speed which surprised even himself, he took in the scene of water now spraying onto the floor, not to mention the dinet set and every other surface in the kitchen, sighed, then grabbed the phonebook hoping he could find a plumber that would come on a Sunday.
06-14-2012 08:08 PM
That night as he lay in bed, waiting for his wife to come out of the bathroom so he could turn the lights off, he was running all the possible scenarios through his head of what Lydia would do to him. Her reaction upon entering the house after working eight hours on one of the hardest, most headache inducing cases of her career, and finding it flooded, with men she didn’t know piled into her kitchen, trying to stop the water from causing more damage, and then finding Gill in the living room watching the game . . . was not pretty. She had remained surprisingly quiet throughtout the ordeal, although, if looks could kill, Gilbert would have been burnt to a crisp and then unceremoniously buried in the backyard without any further thought or fuss.
After the plumbers left, thoughtfully leaving the bill on the now dry kitchen table as they walked out the door, the temperature in the house dropped at least twenty degrees, leaving Lydia not speaking to Gill and Gill, feeling the tension, putting on a sweatshirt and trying to stay out of her sight as much as possible. Dinner, much to their daughter Izzie’s delight, was pizza. She did not seem to feel the tension in the air, so she was able to enjoy her food far more than her father and her mother, who didn’t eat any at all.
Wishing he could be as oblivious as his daughter, Gill took a deep breath as his wife entered the room, and braced himself for the worst. But the worst did not come. She crossed the room, laid down on the bed, seemingly calm. Gill moved toward the lamp to turn off the light when she stopped him. “I’m not tired,” she said.
“Oh?” Gill said, disbelief clear in his voice. Suddenly, the impossible creapt into his mind. Did she mean . . .
Before he could complete this thought, Lydia had grabbed a book off her nightstand and started reading.
Oh, Gill thought, with resignation and some relief.
Gill then grabbed the remote, prepared to turn off the TV, when she spoke again. “Leave it” she said, with some force behind her voice.
“Really,” said Gill, not able to hide his surprise once more. He had turned it on just to have some background noise. The program that was on was called “Are Aliens Already Amongst Us”. Not really Lydia’s type of show.
“Yes, good night Gilbert,” she snapped back.
Sighing, Gill turned over on his side and while he was contemplating how he was going to sleep with the light and the TV on, nodded off quite suddenly.
06-14-2012 09:23 PM
When he opened his eyes the next morning, Gill felt refreshed, at ease, and not at all trouble by what happened the day before. Although he couldn’t help noticing that his left hand was not only holding onto something warm, but that his hand was numb. He looked over to find that he was holding someone’s hand; or rather that someone’s hand was holding onto his, and from the way it was clenched, that they were holding on for dear life. And if things could not get any stranger, when Gill looked over at his wife, he realized that she was the one holding his hand. Not that it could have possibly been anyone else, but he couldn’t even remember the last time she had voluntarily held his hand. When their daughter was born, he supposed . . . Not important, he thought, trying to focus on the situation.
He sat up as gingerly as he could, so as not to wake her, but then realized that she was already awake. Her green eyes wide, but not really seeing, were staring at the window. Her whole body was tensed up, as though she was expecting an attack. Gill had never seen her look so empty.
More than that, the TV was still on. So was the lamp. Had she stayed up all night, Gill wondered.
He decided he would ease into the conversation. “Honey?” he said, trying to sound as non-threatening as possible, “are you okay?”
The pressure on his hand suddenly lessened as she riped her hand from his and shot up out of bed as though there had been a loud explosion nearby.
“Honey?” Gill asked again.
When she turned around to look at him, she had exchanged her empty expression to her usual bitter expression, though it did seem to have more of an edge to it than normal. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I be? My house nearly flooded and now I have to pay for your stupidity. Pretty much a normal Monday, wouldn’t you agree?”
She stormed out of the room, slamming the door to the bathroom as she went, leaving Gill feeling useless and rubbing the circulation back into his hand.
“Mommy, I wanted the other cereal,” Gill heard the whining voice of little Izzie on the way to the kitchen. When he arrived on the scene, He saw Izzie sitting at the kitchen table, amongst the towels and still standing water left from the previous day. She was clearly trying to get her mother’s attention.
Lydia, he saw, was standing at the window, still in her nightgown and robe, seemingly very interested in what was going on outside.
Izzie, once she had perceived that her father was in the room, turned her demands to him, and he got her a different kind of cereal; Lydia having given her their extra-fiber cereal instead of her more kid-friendly cereal.
That task taken care of, Gill went over to the window to see what had captured his wife’s attention. Across the street, there were people milling about, getting boxes out of a car and taking them into a house that had been for sale.
“New neighbors.” Gill said, tentative still of his wife’s reaction.
She jumped, startled to hear him that close to her. “Yes.” She said, slowly, as though just making that connection herself. “Well,” she said briskly, seeming to shake herself out of her daze, “I’m off to work. You’re taking Izzie, right?”
Since Gill taught at Izzie’s school and he always took her with him, her question caught him offguard, but he said “Yes,” all the same.
Lydia was almost out the door, with a “have a good day at school, Izzie,” when Gill called her back. “Honey, aren’t you going to change first?”
She stopped dead in her tracks, looked down at her robe and the slippers on her feet, and giggled. Giggled. Gill hadn’t heard her laugh in so long, it took him a minute to realize what happened.
Then she smiled, kind of sheepishly at Izzie, who just rolled her at her mother’s silliness. “Yes, I guess I should, shouldn’t I,” she replied, then gave Gill a sheepish smile too, then headed upstairs to change.
After she left, Gill had to sit down, because nothing that had happened in the past ten minutes made any sense to him, and he didn’t want his daughter to see his confusion.
06-14-2012 10:00 PM
The rest of the day went as well as a Monday could. Especially a Monday stuck at school. Gill had decided at some point throughout the day, that this thing with Lydia was a fluke and that she would be her normal self when she got home. He was going to watch her to see if he could notice any other changes in her demeanor.
He didn’t get to test out his theory, though, because she didn’t come home until almost midnight. He waited up for her, like a good husband, and was ready for almost anything.
Although he was ready for anything, he wasn’t expecting her to sit at the foot of the bed and ask him a direct question.
“Gill, can I ask you something,” she said in a voice not quite like her own.
First of all, she never called him “Gill”. It was always “Gilbert”. Second, what could she possibly need to know?
Struggling to sit up, Gill answered, “Of course, Honey.”
She looked down, obviously embarrased. Then, when she looked up again, Gill noticed something in her eyes that he had never seen there before: Fear.
“Do you . . . believe in aliens?” As she spoke, her voice got some of the forcefulness it had been lacking back.
“No.” Gill said, quickly and honestly.
The next part she said really fast, like tit would be better if she did it quick, “Well, I was watching that stupid show you had on after you went to bed and it was talking about how if aliens were already here on earth that we probably wouldn’t even know until it was too late and they took over and then the show after that was talking about probing and Lord knows what else and it got me thinking that maybe there are aliens, I mean, because how would you even know they were here if they can look like us and they could have been studying us for years . . .”
At this point, Gill stopped listenening, because in this crazy, nearly hysterical woman waving her arms around at the foot of the bed, he was seeing his Lydia. The open-minded, innocent, slightly gullible Lydia he had met all those years ago. To know that she was still in there, underneath all that anger and stress that had first taken her away from him made him smile. Then he stopped in case it angered her.
Again, he realized too late that she had stopped talking and was waiting for an answer. Not really knowing what the question was, he took a chance.
“Lydi,” He said, using an old nickname since it seemed safe to, “there are no aliens out there okay. Nothing is going to come after you. You’re safe.” With that he reached out and risked grabbing her hand and giving it a comforting squeeze. She didn’t pull her hand away. She took a moment to digest what he had said, then airily said, “Yes, I’m being stupid, aren’t I.” She then took back her hand and started to get ready for bed.
“So, Lydi, I was thinking maybe we . . . “ Gill started to say.
“Good night, Gilbert.”
“Right. Good night, Honey.”
06-14-2012 11:10 PM
“Gilbert, get up!” an urgent voice was saying in the darkeness.
“Hmm . . .” was the only response Gill could come up with. He could tell it was still dark and he couldn’t see any smoke or anything, so he decided he could go back to sleep. That is until he got pinched on his thigh, which jerked him right up.
“Can you hear it?” Lydia was sitting cross-legged on her side of the bed, hands clenched in her lap, and looking up at the ceiling as though fearing it caving in on her.
“No. What?” Gill said, trying to wake up.
“The whistling. There, do you hear it?”
Gill sat still for a moment, then said, “Yes. It’s probably just the wind.”
“No. No it’s not. It’s them.” She whispered the last part, so Gill barely heard it.
“Them? Who’s them?”
“The aliens, of course.” She then looked at Gill as though he were stupid, which gave her some of her normal facial expression back, but there was still fear there.
Gill sighed. He wasn’t surprised, really, that she hadn’t believed anything he said about aliens not being real. He had just hoped that his opinion still meant something to her. He was obviously wrong.
“I really think it was the wind, Honey. Just try to get some sleep.”
“That show said that they didn’t communicate like we do, so maybe it’s a signal to others. Or maybe it’s a language, yes, one that only they can understand . . .”
She obviously wasn’t listening and didn’t really need him for the conversation, so he eventually drifted back to sleep.
“Daddy? Daddy? DADDY??”
“What, what happened?” Gill said into his pillow. He was groggy and did not want to get up yet.
“Mommy left already. I want breakfast.” Izzie said, as though it was obvious.
“Mommy left?” Gill asked.
“Yes. And you have to fix my breakfast.” she said very matter-of-factly.
“Alright, I’m going. Give me a minute.”
As she left the room, Gill heard a door slam downstairs. Izzie, frightened by the noise, ran back into the room and jumped on the bed. The next sound they heard was someone running up the stairs, and then Lydia appeared in the doorway.
“Lydi, what’s wrong?” Gill asked, surprised.
Lydia looked at them, with a haunted look in her eyes, and siad “No one is leaving.”
Izzie looked as surprised as Gill, until she fully processed that she didn’t have to go to school that day. “Cool,” was her only response, then she left her room.
Before Gill could ask, Lydia launched into her story. “So, everything seemed fine when I got to work. Even with the knowledge that we’re being watched, I decided that we should all act as normal as possible. So, I get there, and almost ten minutes later, the lights start to flicker, and I know it was storming this morning and everything--“
“Oh, was it?” Gill asked, not thinking.
“--But then the lights went out completely and I was the only one in there at the time, so I decided to leave and come back later, when I noticed someone down the hall, and it wasn’t someone I knew and I just knew that they were on to me. They knew that I knew, so I had to leave and then as I was leaving, they waved, like they knew me, so I ran out of there, then I saw another person outside on the way to the car, I mean, did they think I was stupid or something, it’s so obvious that they are trying to keep a close eye on me.” She ran out of breath here and had to sit down.
Gill decided that this would be a good time to be the voice of reason. “Lydi, I really think it was the storm that knocked the electricity out. It probably happened all over that part of town. And I mean, couldn’t it have been a janitor in the building with you. Maybe they clean at night and early morning.” He placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, sure that she would see what was so obvious.
“But they messed up. Oh yes, I see right through those new neighbors.” She obviously was not going to hear anything he said on the subject. So, he decided to play along. “The neighbors?”
“Oh yes, those . . . things are here to spy on us. They want to study us.” She said this rationally enough, so Gill decided to keep going. “Why do you think that?”
“Because of the whistling!” She suddenly spoke with such passion and determination, he realized that she truly believed it. “It only started after they moved in. I guess they didn’t think we’d notice, but they were wrong. They can be fooled. So, we are going to stay here. We are not going to give them the satisfaction of getting to us.”
“But,” Gill was trying to think fast, “wouldn’t being trapped in the house let them know that they got to us.”
“They just want you to think that,” she said confidently. “They want you to go outside so they can take you. So we will stay here.” She said this last part with finality.
“But . . .”
“You heard me!” She said, much of her old venom coming back, glaring at him with a look that dared him to ask again.
“Okay,” Gill said in meek resignation. “We’ll stay here.”
That's all I can do tonight. I'll try to get this done before the weekend is over. Feel free to comment on what I have so far. And yes, I'm almost done.
06-14-2012 11:56 PM
This is a great piece. It is easy to side with Gill, guru of inept plumbing repair. We have all been that guy/girl at one time or another. Lydia reminds me of my mother to a frightening degree...(Love her, but can only deal with her in very small doses.). You have me wondering is Lydia in the middle of a psychotic break or are there really aliens? Psychology is fun, so I'm voting for schizophrenic meltdown.
06-15-2012 12:08 PM
Thanks Darkkin and all those who gave it laurels!
I was writing it so fast, the ideas just kept coming, but I think I'll eventually go back and explain Lydia's backstory a little more, because she did kind of have a drastic change. Either that or I'll incorporate it at the end and see if that works.
06-27-2012 06:26 PM
Man, I now understand why I try to write my stories all at once: It's hard to come back and finish it! But it's in progress. I wanted to finish my last posted story. So here it is, I'm posting it as I'm writing it, as I was before. Enjoy (or not).
As the next two weeks passed, the gradually growing tension, the loss of all electronic equipment (“That’s how they get you!” stated Lydia), the escalating cold of January seeping into the house without relief of the heater, the lack of eating properly cooked meals, and the total absence of other people affected the family in different ways.
Lydia had taken to locking herself in their bedroom, covering herself in blankets, only eating something if she made it herself, which she often forgot to do, and speaking to no one for days, unless she was giving orders on how to alien-proof the house. She had Gill up, day and night, boarding up the windows, planning possible escape routes (Gill mostly just nodded and agreed with her propositions), and packing up things in case they needed to make a quick escape.
Izzie treated the whole situation as if it were a long vacation. Having missed the last two weeks of school, she didn’t have to do any homework and spent most of her days boarded up in her room as well, only she was playing with her electronic hand-held games she had managed to hide from her mother. Every now and then, she would have a bout of rebellion and want to go outside, or see one of her friends, or eat a proper meal that was actually cooked, but her mother’s tears and her father’s look of pity and hopelessness quickly shut her down.
Of the three, Gill had the worst of it. In addition to the alien proofing, the lack of human contact, and being able to watch tv, Gill was also hit with some things he had little experience with: Bills; The responsibility of keeping the house clean; Cooking. Lydia, knowing what her husband was capable of, had always taken care of the important things in the house. Now, with her locked away, wringing her hands over the possibility of aliens, not responding to anything with any sort of focus or understanding, Gill had to learn how to do things for himself.
06-27-2012 06:52 PM
The bills, once he learned what bills they actually had to pay and when they were due, in some cases they were past due, were not as hard as he originally thought. Once he tracked down the checkbook, he got to work and had it all done by the end of the day.
Getting it all out to the mailbox without his wife knowing was, well, a bit of cleverness he wasn’t aware he was capable of. He waited until that night, when his wife would ask him to go check over the house one more time before they went to bed. Knowing she wouldn’t hear him over the sound of the “alien whistling” that always grabbed her attention and kept her from sleeping, he crept outside, made it to the mailbox (which was full of mail that he tucked into his robe to be hidden in the house later), then returned to the house, without her noticing anything. Pleased with himself, he headed back toward the bedroom, when it suddenly accured to him that he didn’t put any stamps on the envelopes. He debated going back outside to retrieve them and trying again another night, but the cry of “Gilbert! Are you coming to bed?” from his anxious wife put an end to his deliberations. He would just have to try to go out again another night.
Once he made it back to the bedroom and got into the bed, Lydia threw herself on him, grabbing his arm with a strength much above Gilbert’s own, holding onto him for her own comfort, so that she might sleep. This experience in itself was a new and welcome change to Gilbert, in the beginning at least. As the days dragged on, unused to being needed, he began to feel claustrophobic and tried to distance himself from her a bit so he could breathe, but it seemed as though she was attached by some invisible string, for when he moved, she moved with him.
06-27-2012 07:28 PM
The next day, Gill was busy cleaning the kitchen. It had been rarely used lately, but there were still damp spots from the flood that he had not cleaned up properly and a few dishes that needed taken care of. He was just debating with himself whether or not the water from the flood had cleaned the floor well enough or if he should drag out the mop and go over it again, when he heard a scream coming from upstairs.
Now Lydia had taken to doing many strange things during their time under house arrest: Shrieking at shadows; tearing up books and newspapers to keep her hands busy; humming out of tune with a strange serene smile on her face; and many other slightly unnerving quirks. But she had never screamed before.
Glad to be taken away from his dilema, Gill hurried out of the room and went up the stairs. When he reached the bedroom, he found Lydia half dressed, laying in the fetal position on their bed, arms around her head, rocking back and forth.
“What’s wrong, Honey?”
Lydia’s head snapped up, and with a look of both fear and desperation, pointed to their bathroom door, not speaking a word.
Not really sure what he would find, Gill went into the bathroom.
He stood in the doorway a full minute, not seeing anything out of the ordinary: No water gushing; No fire; No clowns; Not even aliens. Nothing that should have made his wife so upset.
He had just started to back out of the door, when Lydia found her voice, “No, Gilbert. Kill it!” she shrieked.
“There, in the bathtub. Please just kill that spider.” After this outburst, Lydia drew herself up into a ball again.
Oh! A spider. Gill thought with excitement. For the first time in weeks, there was a situation he knew how to handle. Kill the spider. Of course he could kill . . . Holy S---!
The spider, which was at least the size of a minivan, had made its way out of the tub and was now on the bathroom floor. Sensing weakness, it made a run for it towards the bathroom door. In his surprise, Gill slammed the door shut.
“Did you get it?” Lydia asked eagerly behind him.
“Uh . . .,” Right at that moment, he looked down and saw the spider had somehow crawled under the door and was coming at him again. In a panic, he stomped on it really hard, making it a gooey, permanent part of the sole of his shoe.
“Yes! I got it.” He turned around to look at his wife, but she was no longer there. It seemed that the spider had done what nothing else had: Gotten her out of the room.
06-27-2012 07:57 PM
Later that very same day, is when things got out of control.
Lydia had taken to pacing the house after the incident with the spider. Looking at things but not really taking it in. She didn’t even comment about the kitchen floor and it’s water spots. Gill tried to keep out of her way as much as he could. He had moved onto the living room, dusting a bit here and there, straightening the couch cushions, and he was just deciding that because he could vacuum the carpet with no electricity that he would try sweeping it, when he heard a knock at the door.
Time stood still in that moment. Gill tried to rack his brain as to who it could be. Everyone at the school believed Gill was out sick, the same with Izzie. Lydia was told that it was fine if she took a leave of absence, after the morning janitor had reported her strange behavior to her boss. No family was expected.
He was hurrying down the hall, trying to get to the door before Lydia, when she burst out in front of him and stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Don’t,” she said in a strained whisper, “it’s her!”
“Who?” asked Gill, bewildered by what his wife meant by “her”.
Every now and then, his wife would give him a look that reminded him of the old days before the craziness started. Now was one of those times.
“Our . . . new . . . ‘neighbor,’” Lydia said, tears in her eyes.
“O . . . kay.” Gill said, clearly not comprehending what the problem was.
“The alien, you idiot,” she said, impatience coloring her voice.
“Keep away from the door.” Lydia then grabbed Gill by the arm and started to drag him away.
Looking wistfully at the frontdoor, aware that he may never see anyone ever again, he allowed himself to be taken from the room.
06-27-2012 08:22 PM
“We have to start packing things up for storage. Once we leave, we may not come back for months. Years even! Now, I’m going to need more boxes, so Gilbert, I’ll need you to go up to the attic and grab some more. I think they were all in the corner, piled all together, so even you can’t miss them . . .”
She had been babbling on like that for the last hour, wrapping anything she could get her hands on in newspaper, separating what would be taken with them from what they would leave.
Glad to get out of the room, Gill went to the attic to get the boxes. He noticed, after he struggled up the latter and through the door, that it was cold. And not the normal house temperature cold. He could feel the difference, even though he was bundled up in so much clothing, he wasn’t even sure when he had last changed his clothes.
He made his way through the obstacles of boxes and old furniture until he found the source: The window had been busted. Maybe from the last storm, he thought. When was the last storm . . . .
He decided to take down the boxes and then come back up and board up that window too. By the time he was done with all of that, Lydia had packed up most of the kitchen, only stopping when she ran out of light.
06-27-2012 09:09 PM
Gill had been lying in bed, thinking about how these past couple of weeks had affected his life. Mainly about his job and the fact that a sub had been taking care of his classes for over two weeks now. Do the kids like him? Do they like him better than me? Probably, he thought, disgruntled. Some smarmy sub is going to take over my classes, probably permanently, and of course the kids will like him. He’ll just take over my whole professional life. Maybe he would switch me for my personal life. No, I don’t have that kind of luck . . .
The sound of his wife’s voice startled him out of his thoughts. “Yes?”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
Gill couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Usually this conversation is the other way around. “Sorry? For what?”
She sighed before answering, “There are no aliens, are there?”
Stunned, Gill replied, “No. There are no aliens.”
“How did this happen? How did I get so carried away?” She sounded stunned as well, as though just realizing everything that had been going on.
“I don’t know,” Gill replied. Silence filled the room for a moment.
“I guess . . . I got scared.” Lydia stated.
“I know, Honey.”
“No, not about that,” she said, to Gill’s surprise.
“Honey, what could you possibly be afraid of?”
“I think . . . I think this job has me so crazy, it’s all I can do just to keep going to work everyday. And then there’s you . . .”
“Me?” Yep, I knew I would get blamed for this.
“I don’t hate you, Gilbert.” She looked him earnestly in the face. “I know it seems like I do sometimes, but I just don’t know how to handle this pressure, you know, and then I come home and you’re always so calm and carefree . . . I think I just decided that it would be easier to take it out on you. That it would make me feel better, but it doesn’t. I’m so sorry, you have to believe me . . . .” The tears started pooling out of her eyes, making Gill uncomfortable. Not knowing really what to say to calm her, he put his arm tentatively around her shoulders and she let him pull her into a hug.
“There, there. You don’t need to cry. There’s nothing to cry about. I’m not mad . . .” He went on like this for a while until she stopped crying.
Coming out of the hug, Gill said, “We’ll make this okay again. It’ll just take some time.
Lydia smiled a rare smile and he felt as though he handled the situation rather well. There was a moment of silence, then Lydia said, “Good night, Gill,” kissed him on the cheek, then rolled over to go to sleep.
Content with the state of things, he rolled over to go to sleep too, when a thought occurred to him. “What made you realize the aliens weren’t real?”
She was silent for so long, he thought she had fallen asleep, but in the darkness, he heard her say, “The whistling stopped.”
“Oh,” Gill said. How about that. It’s about time. Wonder where it was coming from? With that last thought, he drifted off to sleep, and didn’t give it any more thought.
(One more post and I'm done. Yay! I said it would be long .
06-27-2012 09:37 PM
Izzie poked at her plate of bacon and eggs rather than eat it, disgruntled.
She had been back at school for almost a week. She had more homework to do than she had ever thought possible, all due by the end of the week. Her dad had joked that it may be years before she finished all of it. Izzie didn’t find it funny.
And besides that, there was talk of Izzie going to summer school, because of all the time she had missed, instead of going to camp, like she always did.
Plus, her partents were acting all nice to each other. How weird was that. They are having full on conversations and everything, she thought.
All these changes were not making her feel better about her situation.
Suddenly, her mom entered the room and approached the dining table. “Gilbert?”
Izzie felt the familiar tension and felt suddenly relieved that some things weren’t changing.
Oblivious to the change, her dad looked up, smiling and content for once, “Yes, Lydi?”
“I just got a call from the water company. They said we didn’t pay our bill. Would you happen to know what happened to it?” Her voice was calm enough, but Izzie knew she wasn’t happy with the situation.
“Oh, yes . . . Um, you see . . .” Then her dad launched into some crazy explanation that involved going out at night, tripping over the sprinkler, bruising his knee, then forgetting to mail the letters once he had stamped them.
Yeah, Dad, ‘cause Mom will believe that. And why couldn’t you have gone back outside to put them in the mailbox them off? Izzie thought, exasperated, and sure her mom wasn’t going to take it well.
Her mom stood at the table, piercing her dad with her are-you-lying-to-me-stare. Then, she abruptly left the room, saying in a carrying voice as she left, “My God, Gilbert! I can’t let you do anything!”
Izzie turned back to her dad, expecting him to be embarrassed or at least upset by her mom’s words. To her surprise, he didn’t look ashamed at all. In fact he was smiling. He even turned and smiled at Izzie before returning to his own breakfast, his mood seeming somewhat lighter.
God, my parents are weird.