Thursday's 3 Word Wednesday

The word prompts over at 3WW are average, neck and scratch.
I wrote this on the flight back to Cali. Wedged into a “Freedom seat” on United, which means I shared sticky bodily contact with both my seatmates for three tedious hours. Air travel sucks ass. And this might as well.

The Life You Save May be Your Own

Despair coursed through his chest like tendrils of a virus; his breaths came in halting gulps, like he was drowning in bubbly phlegm, and his neck bulged and tightened, despite the silent prayers he chanted.
The house was dark, save for the red-light blinks of a cheap answering machine. He was crumpled beneath it, beneath the breakfast bar and wedged between the wrought iron barstools she found at a rummage sale and had re-cushioned and spray painted in faux textures that resembled rust.
He bumped his head against the wall, rhythmic; he fingered a fresh scratch across his left knuckles absently, finger-painting the pin-pricks of tacky blood into textured circles. His right leg, which was tucked under him, prickled creepy with bloodless sleep; his left leg was cocked to the side, wide, unnatural and seeming uncomfortable.
Each feeling, save for despair, was driven further into the background, each time he reached a finger up and hit rewind then play on the machine.
Reverse squeal, stop, play.
Her voice flat on the digital recording.
“There’s no real way to completely explain myself in 30 seconds,” she began. “Other than to say I just can’t take it anymore. A life just so average.
“So, this is goodbye.”
He’d been there, like that, for hours. The house emptied of everything, except the answering machine, the heavy iron stools.
And a tiny mound of confetti in his lap. The carefully torn pieces of the acceptance letter to medical school.
The secret he’d kept from her for months. The surprise he planned to spring over chilled glasses of the Chardonnay she adored - and he detested.
He’d miss her in Rome. For a time.


TC said...

Well, at least only for awhile?

This was sad. I felt bad for both of them.