This is for my first attempt at a ‘Papi Prompt‘. As anyone who knows me knows, I’m a sucker for a good prompt. The idea is to write a 500 word piece of fiction based on the sentence provided. This week’s sentence is ‘I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next…’
I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next to a single black stocking and an empty packet of contraceptive pills. I lifted them out. Smooth black nylon rubbed against my fingers. It was nearly half ten but the streetlamp gave me enough light to read the packet. Birth control, why the hell did she need birth control? My senses went into overdrive. I tried to count, 1… 2….3….. The therapist said count when I felt it coming on. I started again 1…..2…..3…. I kicked the trash bag by my feet; the sound of cans hitting between the kerb and ricocheting off into the road like a metronome keeping beat.
It felt like we’d been trying for a baby forever. “This is our year” she’d say as she sobbed onto my shoulder every month. So many shirts she’d ruined with all those crocodile tears. I felt my hands fist at my sides and the edge of the packet pierced my palm. I squeezed tighter. A light went on in the bedroom, I looked up and saw her reach for the curtain, first the left side, then the right. They didn’t quite meet in the middle, I started the count again, 1….2….3….. Damn the therapist, this wasn’t working. She couldn’t even get the lines straight; she knows how it upsets me. I make sure she knows. Every-time.
I stuffed the packet and the stocking into my pocket and walked back into the house. Downstairs was dark; just the gentle hum of the fridge filling the silence. I straightened up the shoes by the door, turned the key and locked the door. My hand went to the stair rail and I stopped. My heart was racing, sweat spotting on my back. For a few seconds I just stared. The bathroom door was slightly ajar at the top of the stairs and I focused on the light seeping underneath. Then I turned back, re checked the lock, picked up the cast iron door stop and climbed the stairs, slowly.
“Where have you been” she called from the bedroom. Her tone restless, slightly raised. I wondered if she’d seen me at the bin. I walked into the bedroom; she was lying on the bed, wearing a red and black baby doll and a ‘come here’ smile. For a minute I was thrown by the fact she only had one stocking on. I reached into my pocket, fingering the nylon. She raised her hand, something white gripped in her fingers. “It’s happened” she said, rushing onto her knees, pushing the thin blue line of the tester into my face. “I finally got to throw away the pills” she sang, half laughing, half crying. I grabbed her, pressing terrified, euphoric kisses across her face.
I put the door stop against the bathroom door, like I did every night. The noise from the boiler could be really annoying. While I couldn’t stop grinning, the fact she was only wearing one stocking really rankled my OCD.