Santos turns a page of her book and adjusts herself in the
overstuffed chair--the only thing she got in the divorce settlement,
and only because her husband had always hated the color. She tucks
her feet beside her. She is pleased that, at fifty-eight, she is
still able to accomplish this small feat. She attributes it to her
lifelong practice of yoga.
telephone rings. She signs and picks up, marking her place in her
book with an index finger. "Hello, Howard."
did you know it was me?"
else would bother calling me on Christmas?" Or ever, for that
wants to know if you've changed your mind. I can pick you up."
are you doing?"
to you, at present, but prior to that I was reading my book. Curled
up in the inglenook." She smiles, delighting in her brother's
spare vocabulary. "It's a nook. By the library
fireplace." Just to clarify: The condo she purchased (cash, of
course, she'd told Howard) six months ago has four thousand square
feet and three fireplaces. "Did the children have a good haul?"
doubts it. What with Marie's obsessive coupon-clipping and
thrift-store scavenging, the brats probably wouldn't have had
anything if it weren't for Gloria's generosity. She glances about the
library as her brother prattles on: Five hundred eighty-two books,
neatly divided into fiction and non-fiction, the fiction arranged by
you lonely?" Howard once asked her.
at all," she'd replied. "I have my books."
children appreciate the bear," Howard says.
glad," Gloria says. They ought to appreciate it: The damn thing
set her back five hundred dollars.
the clothes. But Gloria, they're rather..."
I can't see Nathan going out play in a tie."
a cravat, Howard."
are you having for dinner, Gloria?"
she says, and because that doesn't sound like enough, she tacks on a
further description: "White chocolate cocoa with artisan
Howard says. Gloria is certain he's pretending not to be impressed.
the marshmallows shipped from France."
sound too substantial."
sighs. Marshmallows aren't intended to be substantial. "And
cookies. Listen, Howard, really. I'm fine. Go back to your family."
Your pretty, perfect family.
me if you change your mind."
shall," she replies before setting the receiver down. She
glances at her plate: Normally, she limits herself to two cookies,
but today, she has set out three. Peanut butter blossoms, also
gourmet: The cookie rolled in Turbinado sugar before a Hershey's kiss
is planted neatly in the center. The sugar makes the cookie glisten,
as if it's been glazed by snowflakes, and a gives it a sweet,
takes a cookie and bites into it. She stares out the window, over the
rooftops of the houses below. She sighs and returns to her book. "I'm
not lonely," she reminds herself.
sips her cocoa and pretends not to notice the bitter aftertaste.
Kelly Garriott Waite on Google+
This was written for this week's Write at the Merge prompt.
Labels: flash fiction, Write at the Merge