The eight o'clock commuter blasted a
plaintive wail as it left the station, the sound trailing behind it
in wispy whorls of loneliness. The escalator was littered with
cigarette butts and discarded candy wrappers.
Karen walked the eight blocks to her
home in darkness, brittle leaves raining from the trees onto the
sidewalk. She let herself in, immediately locking the door behind
her. Her cell rang.
“You OK, Mom?”
“I'm fine.” Of course Eileen would
remember: This was the weekend her parents had been scheduled to hike
a twenty mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
“You should see Dad's new
Karen exchanged her suit for jeans and
a sweatshirt. “Don't tell me.” She sat at her dressing table
and brushed out the hair that Robert had insisted be kept long.
“Bleach blonde hair. Buzz cut.”
Eileen giggled. “My age.”
“You eating all right?”
Karen went to the kitchen and opened
the freezer. “My life is full of meaningless small packages.” She
wanted something big. She thought of the idea that had been teasing
from the corners of her mind all day.
“I'm coming over.”
“I'm fine.” But Eileen had
Karen thought of Robert and his
girlfriend. “You like short hair now?” She rummaged through the
kitchen drawers; found her scissors. “Here you go, jerk.” She
grabbed a length of hair and hacked it off. Again and again she cut.
As she watched her hair fall, she felt freer; daring.
She could do it.
The doorbell rang. Karen went to let
her daughter in. “Robert!”
“I tried to call...” Her husband
stared. “You look beautiful, Karen.”
“What do you want?”
“Listen...” He gave an uneasy
laugh. “Can I come in?”
“No.” She shut the door and picked
up the telephone to order carryout from Johnny's. It would be the
last for several months. They didn't deliver to the Trail.
And she was going to hike it all.
Labels: fiction Trifecta Writing Challenge