Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Fight

Just a short story...

It was an argument born of alcohol and exhaustion, the sort of fight that escalated unreasonably and would evaporate in an instant if they thought about it. But when they pulled into the parking lot, they were both wrapped up in the fight, the anger, the hurt. She sat perfectly still, lost in her head. He circled the car and opened the door.

She turned to look at him, but her eyes looked through him - unfocused, locked on a distant, unseen point. His words washed over her like so many unrelated syllables, refusing to order themselves into words with meaning. She might even have responded automatically, shaking her head or even answering in a flat, unnatural voice.

He fought back anger and frustration, recognizing the signs this time. She had shut down, in that odd way she had; seemingly responsive, she was on the verge of withdrawing into a ball of tears and sobs. He took several deep breaths. He leaned into the car, grabbing her wrist and squeezing tight. It took a moment longer than usual - a hesitation as she was drawn out of the scary place in her head and back into this moment - but her breath hissed out of her, deflating as she did in response to his touch.

"We are going inside," he growled, giving her wrist another squeeze to emphasize his command, "You can walk or..."

She was climbing out of the car before he could complete the threat. In the room, his words washed over her again, meaningless sounds. He laid his hand on her bare arm, her eyes snapped to his. "You don't even know what we were fighting about, do you?"

"Not..." the word stuttered out of her mouth, "Not really."

He made a frustrated sound and pushed her into the corner, "Then you can stand there until you want to talk, or I'm ready to talk."

- - -

He sat on the sofa; she was curled up in his lap. They spoke quietly, the anger gone from the fight, evaporated as quickly as spilled vodka.