That's What We Do
When he calls her, she dreads hearing his voice, because of what she knows it will ask her. Even though he poses it as a question, they both know that the phrasing and upwards lilt of the voice are a mere formality. When he asks her if she to go out with him that night, they know that it's a good as him issuing a mandate. He wants her to go. She goes.
As he comes up the driveway, she watches the wide arc of his headlights cutting across the yard. She marvels at how everything she looks at fills her with a sense of dread about what's coming up. That's the truck she'll drive them home in when he gets so drunk he can't stand up. That's the couch she'll collapse on, sobbing, when she finally gets home at four in the morning. That's the box of tissues she'll demolish as her carefully made-up face dissolves and makes tracks down her cheeks. That's the photo album full of cut-up family portraits, displaying the life she doesn't want, the life she'll have if she leaves him.
She swings her coat up onto her shoulders and tacks a short note to the fridge Mom- Gone out. Don't wait up. XOXO. He comes up the steps, all bright, infectious smile and tousled hair. She closes the front door and slips her arms into the jacket.
he says, kissing her on the cheek, his eyes alert and happy at the prospect of what's coming up. Ready to party?
She smacks on a diligent smile and nods. He takes her by the hand and leads her into the truck.
You'll have fun at this one, sweetie, he says. I promise.
She nods again, fake smile still on, as she buckles her seat belt. (That's what she'll be strapping around his passed out body, meticulously, as she drives him home tonight.)
he says, his face ernest. I'm not gonna get so smashed at this one.
he says, cupping her chin and turning her head so his eyes meet hers. Don't you trust me?
She is a good actress. Of course I do, she says, drawing up her smile to meet her eyes, bit by slow bit.
He is placated by her lie, and he holds her hand all the way to the party, driving with the other.
As he goes, she watches his hands to remind herself how to use the stick shift.
A/N- Wow. This is so short! I was going through some stuff the other day and found this in an old journal that I wrote in on a class trip to Cape Cod. . .a rather depressing one, to be quite honest. This was my recovery piece, and I'd forgotten all about it. I'd started to continue it past this opening shot, but then dropped it when I realized I didn't have any other ideas where to take it. I could probably whip something up now, but memories of that trip are too depressing to lose myself in.
Soooooo, my lovelies. . .press the little gray button? Just for me?
PS- Hey, pumpkin. . .this, for once, has nothing to do with you, so don't feel bad.