Heart of Hickory


On Saturday, they walked in the woods, kicking up the browned leaves that had fallen on the path. She tilted her head to listen. “They sound like the waves on the ocean, when we were on our honeymoon.”

He nodded.

“Almost five years,” she said.

They paused at the stump of an old oak, rotten and empty like a decayed tooth. She took up a handful of wood and crushed it in her glove, watching the wood disintegrate and fall to the earth.

“We never should have married.”


“I know.” She brushed the debris onto her jeans.

“There's...”

She shushed him, pressing an index finger against his lips. “Don't...” She bent and gathered hickory nuts, examing each for tiny weevil holes before placing it into the plastic bag she'd tucked into her pocket. “I knew about them, of course. Some of them, anyway.”

“I'm sorry.”

“How many?”

He shook his head. “I don't know.”

She sighed. “I'll give you the divorce.”

“Thank you.”

Sunday morning, he packed his bags in the quiet of the morning. “I'm sorry,” he said. And his smile was hollow and dull.

“You're relieved.”

And he smiled again, and this time his smile was genuine—the smile he used to give her freely and without demands.

“Get out,” she said.

When she heard the front door close behind him, she rose and padded to the kitchen. She took out the bag of hickory nuts and spread them on a cookie sheet to dry.

Two weeks later, he called from his new apartment. “Happy anniversary.”

She said nothing.

“I'm looking out the window from the 42nd floor. There are these workers out there, repairing a bridge.” He gave a laugh. “They look so small.”

Still, she was quiet.

“I want you back,” he said.

She hung up the phone.

She picked up her hammer and smashed a hickory nut. She pushed aside the shell and picked out the tiny heart.



This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week's word was hollow.

Thanks to H for the description of the leaves.


Labels:

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Heart of Hickory

Monday, November 26, 2012

Heart of Hickory


On Saturday, they walked in the woods, kicking up the browned leaves that had fallen on the path. She tilted her head to listen. “They sound like the waves on the ocean, when we were on our honeymoon.”

He nodded.

“Almost five years,” she said.

They paused at the stump of an old oak, rotten and empty like a decayed tooth. She took up a handful of wood and crushed it in her glove, watching the wood disintegrate and fall to the earth.

“We never should have married.”


“I know.” She brushed the debris onto her jeans.

“There's...”

She shushed him, pressing an index finger against his lips. “Don't...” She bent and gathered hickory nuts, examing each for tiny weevil holes before placing it into the plastic bag she'd tucked into her pocket. “I knew about them, of course. Some of them, anyway.”

“I'm sorry.”

“How many?”

He shook his head. “I don't know.”

She sighed. “I'll give you the divorce.”

“Thank you.”

Sunday morning, he packed his bags in the quiet of the morning. “I'm sorry,” he said. And his smile was hollow and dull.

“You're relieved.”

And he smiled again, and this time his smile was genuine—the smile he used to give her freely and without demands.

“Get out,” she said.

When she heard the front door close behind him, she rose and padded to the kitchen. She took out the bag of hickory nuts and spread them on a cookie sheet to dry.

Two weeks later, he called from his new apartment. “Happy anniversary.”

She said nothing.

“I'm looking out the window from the 42nd floor. There are these workers out there, repairing a bridge.” He gave a laugh. “They look so small.”

Still, she was quiet.

“I want you back,” he said.

She hung up the phone.

She picked up her hammer and smashed a hickory nut. She pushed aside the shell and picked out the tiny heart.



This was written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge. This week's word was hollow.

Thanks to H for the description of the leaves.


Labels:

18 Comments:

At November 26, 2012 at 12:53 PM , OpenID whispatory said...

What I loved most about this, and there was a great deal to love, was the feeling of hollow you captured here. The conversation that by the time it happened was hollow of any real meaning or drama, and the last two lines were real perfection. Nicely done.

 
At November 26, 2012 at 2:57 PM , OpenID allegronontanto said...

Really well done. You piqued my interest right away and got me to immediately care about the two characters.

 
At November 26, 2012 at 3:00 PM , Blogger Bo said...

This is one of the best post I have every read. Probably because I have been her. Great writing.

 
At November 26, 2012 at 5:27 PM , Blogger Draug said...

Oh, this is excellent. Great mood and I love how your female lead says so much by saying so little.

 
At November 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM , Blogger Sandra Tyler said...

this is a fabulous piece of writing. Very poignant and very well written. a keeper.

 
At November 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM , Blogger uneven steven said...

enjoyed this one a lot. tiny heart on the end nice touch :-)

 
At November 27, 2012 at 4:25 AM , Blogger Tara R. said...

The descriptions put me in the woods with them. The leaves especially, I never thought of it before, but that's exactly how dry leaves sound when you walk through them.

 
At November 27, 2012 at 10:09 AM , Anonymous Brian said...

I'll go ahead and agree with everything above -- the echoes of the theme, hollowness, were expertly placed; I don't think I've ever read such a placid breakup, or a breakup scene that said so much about the relationship. Really nicely done.

 
At November 27, 2012 at 10:17 AM , Blogger Gina said...

This is so sad at first. Never should have married is sad. Then I was angry with him. Then happy she never said a word when he wanted her back. I would guess a lot of relationships go this way without drama maybe because they didn't care enough. I felt like I was there and experiencing emotions too. Very nicely done, Kelly! Oh, loved the nut picking at the end.

 
At November 27, 2012 at 9:59 PM , Anonymous rashmenon said...

beautiful-so perfectly worded; terrific effort

 
At November 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM , Blogger kymm said...

Crushing wood, smashing nuts, picking out the heart. Exactly where a woman travels. Love all the subtle implications, Kelly.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 7:30 AM , Blogger Stephanie B. @B4Steph said...

I love how you set the scene with all the decay around you in the woods. Even the debris she brushes from her jeans. Wonderful. She's strong, that comes through. And the nut heart - terrific. Beautiful, Kelly.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 8:39 AM , Anonymous Latitudes of a Day said...

Your writing always captures the essence of a moment perfectly.

 
At November 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM , Blogger lori mcclure said...

I could feel the resignation and then the anger and desire to salvage her own heart. Tons of emotion. Nicely done :)

 
At November 28, 2012 at 9:40 PM , OpenID jannatwrites said...

Everyone else pretty much summed up my thoughts, so I'll just say this was a great story in every way.

 
At November 29, 2012 at 12:24 AM , Anonymous Trifecta said...

Ah, Kelly. This is lovely.

 
At November 29, 2012 at 9:24 AM , OpenID estellegryphons said...

this is a delicious piece of writing!

 
At November 30, 2012 at 9:37 AM , Blogger Sandra Tyler said...

This is a fabulous piece of writing, I did say that didn't I.:) Do I know good writing or what? Congrats on Trfecta win! I'm honored to be right behind you!

 

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