|A Matter of Perspective
Author: Griezula PM
Jim worked on her fingers, trying to pry them open like they were a puzzle he had given up solving and wanted to smash. He managed to get the baby under the shoulder. He could feel it slipping away from her.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama - Words: 868 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 09-06-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2845457
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This was written for my Creative Writing class. The assignment was to rewrite "Popular Mechanics" by Raymond Carver in another perspective. Google it if you want to read it; it should be the first link. It's a breezy read, shouldn't take more than two minutes really.
Since the dialogue is basically verbatim, I'll just put this disclaimer here: All dialogue belongs to Raymond Carver. The rest is inspired by his short story "Popular Mechanics" but is mostly my own thought.
It had been snowing all that week. Cold as Hell itself outside, it had been difficult to walk two feet let alone drive. Jim and Mary had endured each other's presence for as long as they could hold out despite knowing that there was a hundred foot concrete dam in front of them, bulging at the seams.
Then that morning came and it was apparent the temperature had begun to rise a little at last. The dam reached its breaking point and Jim and Mary drowned for hours under the torrent of ice cold animosity that came pouring over them. They yelled and screamed their way through all the faults they each perceived in the other and in their waning relationship for hours. They woke the baby and each blamed the other for it. They fell into tense silence until the baby fell back asleep in Mary's arms and the cycle started over again. About the time when the sun started to set, they wore themselves out and the house went quiet. The snow had melted into dirty water, streaking the windows with gray.
Neither of them had bothered with the lights. Jim stood in the growing dark, furiously stuffing his suitcase with clothing.
Mary came into the room then, having put the baby away again. "I'm glad you're leaving!" she hissed, "I'm glad you're leaving! Do you hear?"
Jim tried to ignore her, robotically stuffing his case. His throat felt like sandpaper but oh, how he wanted to yell at her to be quiet.
He heard her sniffle. "Son of a bitch! I'm so glad you're leaving!" Her voice was thick with phlegm. "You can't even look me in the face, can you?"
A moment of blessed silence. Then she was next to him, picking up the picture of the baby that he was going to pack last. Incredulous, he watched her walk out of the room with it.
Renewed rage exploded through him. "Bring that back!" he choked through the adrenaline.
"Just get your things and get out," she said from the other end of the house.
Quivering silently, he finished his packing and slammed the suitcase shut. He slipped his coat on, gave their room one last once-over and walked out.
Mary was standing in the kitchen doorway with the baby in her arms.
"I want the baby," he said without realizing he was going to. He had been going to ask for the picture, but seeing her there, holding the baby like it only belonged to her enraged him. The idea grew like a tumor and he couldn't think of anything else.
"Are you crazy?"
"No, but I want the baby." The thought came clearer and clearer until the desire to have the baby grew into an obsession Jim couldn't be without. He would have that baby. It was his baby! "I'll get someone to come by for his things."
"You're not touching this baby!"
The baby started to cry again and Mary uncovered its head. She cooed at it like she loved it like he did and he couldn't stand it. He stepped toward her, ready to take the baby.
"For God's sake!" Mary backpedalled into the kitchen.
"I want the baby," Jim repeated in a sharper tone.
"Get out of here!" She tried to hold the baby away from him, huddling into herself in the corner by the stove. He came to her and loomed over her, gripping the baby.
"Let go of him," he demanded.
"Get away, get away!" she cried, swatting at him like he was a fly.
The baby had been screaming the whole time and its face had turned red and blotchy.
Jim's shoulder knocked into the flowerpot hanging over the stove and it crashed to the floor around their feet.
Jim tried to break Mary's grip on the baby. He grasped it tight, pushing Mary.
"Let go of him," he growled.
"Don't. You're hurting the baby," she said, her voice wavering.
"I'm not hurting the baby." She was hurting the baby.
The sun had fully set by now and it was dark in the kitchen. Jim worked on her fingers, trying to pry them open like they were a puzzle he had given up solving and wanted to smash. He managed to get the baby under the shoulder. He could feel it slipping away from her. She screamed at him and gripped the baby's other arm tight.
He wouldn't let go! He wouldn't let go of his baby!
He kept pulling back very hard, further and further.
Further and further.