Meaningless Small Packages


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.

“Hello?”

“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 girlfriend.”

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.”

“Lovely.”

“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 disconnected.

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.

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was uneasy.

Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Meaningless Small Packages

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Meaningless Small Packages


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.

“Hello?”

“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 girlfriend.”

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.”

“Lovely.”

“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 disconnected.

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.

This was written in response to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge.  The word was uneasy.

Labels:

13 Comments:

At October 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM , Anonymous Kenya Johnson said...

Jerk is right! Good for Karen. I feel her energy and determination for taking on the hike. She's going to do it big!

 
At October 2, 2012 at 10:39 AM , Anonymous Jessie Powell said...

I loved this. I was worried (but hopeful) when she cut her hair. And hurray for her not letting Robert prevent her from living and taking that hike!

 
At October 2, 2012 at 11:00 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

You go girl!!

 
At October 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

Read it twice and liked it both times. Had a bit of a problem figuring out the relationship between Eileen and Karen (at first I thought she was Karen's Mom) but then it all cleared up. You gonna write another chapter to let us know about Robert and his remorse?

 
At October 2, 2012 at 9:28 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

Good for her for going on the hike anyway. I think he's a jerk, too :)

 
At October 3, 2012 at 3:31 PM , Anonymous Wisper said...

I love the tension you created. The relationship between Karen and Robert is intense.

 
At October 3, 2012 at 6:22 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

Good for her! I loved the beginning; I could see the station and the walk home so clearly that a specific station even popped into my head. I've had walks like that.

 
At October 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

Very nice - she takes control, first symbolically and then with the plan to hike the Trail anyway. Nice details to, and word choice and sound. I like it!

 
At October 4, 2012 at 1:08 AM , Anonymous My heart's love songs said...

so much happens in so few words! i love her newfound strength and freedom!

 
At October 4, 2012 at 4:34 AM , Anonymous Sandra Tyler said...

well done. ANd made me really uneasy!

 
At October 4, 2012 at 4:45 PM , Anonymous Victoria KP said...

Great piece and good for her! I hope her adventure along the Appalachian Trail is amazing.

 
At October 4, 2012 at 5:12 PM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

This flowed so nicely and the dialogue was excellent. I loved the phrase, wispy whorls of loneliness. I could hear that sound. Thanks for linking up. Be sure to come back soon.

 
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