Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My short story

The short story I had to write for class....

The Box

She stood looking at the calendar, willing the days to change. She started counting again - 27. Not good. She flipped back to the beginning of the year and counted each month, January - 24, February - 23, March - 21, April - 21 until she gave up, her stomach in a knot. She flipped to the current month and counted the days yet again - 27. Crap.

The dread built in her stomach, making her thoughts swirl in chaos. The relationship is too new. I'm not ready. I don't want to tell him. I don't know what to do. I could be wrong. I could just be stressed. This isn't happening. Please God, this can't be happening.

She remembered seeing a small box in the bathroom closet months back. Do they expire? Even if it is expired, will it still work? She walked to the fridge to grab a bottle of water, silently praying for strength. "There's no time like the present" she whispered as she stared down the hallway. Getting up the courage to follow through with that statement was another matter entirely. She didn't want to know.

She walked down the hallway and opened the bathroom door. With a sigh she stepped through the threshold, feeling the stress take painful residence in her shoulders. She stared at the bathroom closet, contemplating which door to open. She noticed that the paint had started to chip off of the small wooden knobs. I should take them off and repaint them, she thought. Her hands in her pockets, shoulders slumped; she wondered if she had any paint left.

Her stomach lurched as she opened the bottom door and sat on the floor. She was eye level with the first shelf, looking at the bottles of sunscreen, lotion, perfume, and body wash. No box peeked up from behind a bottle. She wondered if sunscreen had an expiration date and started to reach for a bottle to check. She stopped herself, knowing she had to concentrate on the task at hand.

Her gaze slowly drifted down to the bottom of the cabinet - the place she thought she had last seen the box. A jumbled pile looked back, mocking her. She took the hair dryer off the top of the pile, wondering why she kept it there since she hadn't dried her hair in the last 2 years. She preferred to wash and go. She removed the bag filled with travel size products. She hadn't used it since they spent the weekend at a beach house two weeks ago. Memories of the weekend flooded her mind, making her smile despite the knowledge of that weekend being the cause of today's apprehension. The reality of the moment hit her like an ice bath, wiping the smile from her face.

She squared her shoulders and went back to the pile. Feminine care products were next along with a heating pad. The irony made her chuckle sardonically. She finally got to the bottom of the cabinet; the last layer of stuff hopefully hiding what she was seeking. She pulled out a curling iron and hair straightener, wondering when it was she had last used either. Another bag filled with travel-sized products was next. She always got these types of things in her holiday stocking and saved them, knowing she'd eventually use them. She started to open the bag, thinking it would be good to check the expiration date on everything in there. It would be good to weed out the bad products.

She again stopped herself, staring at the bag as her eyes started to water. She shook her head, zipped up the bag and tossed it aside, determination in her eyes. There were only a few small items left on the bottom of the closet. Nothing big enough to hide the box she desperately wanted. She hated the fact she needed it. She didn't really want it. Nope, not at all.

She carelessly tossed everything back into the closet. The disorganized pile mimicking her thoughts. She stood up and opened the top door. Makeup and hair brushes took up the entire bottom shelf. No need to look there. She eyed the top shelf with scorn and went to grab a chair to stand on. Why couldn't they build houses for short people? She put her hand on the kitchen chair and noticed the day’s mail sitting unopened on the table. She picked the pile up and started opening envelopes. She created two piles, one for bills and the other for recycling. Picking up both, she walked across the kitchen and dumped the recycling into the paper bag she kept just for that purpose. She brought the bills to her office, putting them in order of due date with the other pile that was already there. That done, she sighed, walked back to the kitchen and picked up the chair, dreading the walk down the hallway.

Standing on the chair in the bathroom, she could see the bottles of pet shampoo and conditioner on the top shelf. She also saw his shaving cream, deodorant, a razor, and a box of condoms. They had been there for a couple of months, she should be used to seeing them by now, but she wasn't. She grabbed the box of condoms first, frantically looking to see if it had an expiration date. It did. A date from a month and a day ago stared back at her. Her stomach dropped to the floor, taking her sanity with it. She angrily tossed the box into the sink and started tearing everything off of the shelf. When it was empty, with no box to be found, she stared at the black hole wishing she could dive into it.

She started to get dizzy and got off the chair. Falling in the bathroom wouldn't be in her best interest right now. Or maybe it would? Her leaden limbs brought her to the floor once more, her back against the cool porcelain of the tub. She stared at nothing, wondering what to do next. Wrapped in despair like an old fur stole, she sat there staring at nothing. The thoughts in her mind were a force like none other, whipping around, creating a tornado of panic and desperation. She sobbed in frustration. Her shoulders shook as the terror took hold and shook her like a dog with a steak. It was too much to think about, too much to bear. Her body gave up staying upright and curled itself into the fetal position on the cold, tiled floor.

She lay there for an hour, not knowing what to do next. Her mind and soul were numb from confusion and fear; her body chilled from the bathroom floor. As she contemplated joining the world of the living, she felt a warm, familiar pain shoot through her abdomen. Her eyes the size of dinner plates, she dared to hope the cause of the cramp was what she thought it was. Thirty seconds later, she had confirmation there would be no lasting effects from the broken condom. Her memories of their weekend away at the beach were safe.

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