Monday, June 08, 2009

A White Farmhouse - An Excerpt

"Here." Paul pulled the tiles from his tray and carefully laid them out on the board. First the C, then O, D already there from her word dread, and then the Y on the triple word score. He looked to the concrete apartment ceiling to begin adding the score in his head.

"Cody?" Ann cocked her head.

"I thought we said names were okay. You know, Buffalo Bill?"

"Or, Cody, Wyoming?"

"Ha." He shook his head. "Or like that." He paused purposefully. "Forty-two points." He was content in believing that he might win for once.

She calmly added his score then looked at her own tiles. The board was now crowded with words, leaving few options.

"Do you think much about that trip?" He had thought about withholding his question, but for the wine.

"I really try not to."

"I guess I don't think about it much. I mean, I did. Sometimes, when I get sick, I remember."

"It makes me sick to remember." She didn't look at him.

"It's really…."

"It's strange," Ann finally took her eyes off her tiles to look at Paul. "No, it’s just wrong that things like that can happen."

"If I hadn't been sick."

"If I'd have just told you to suck it up." She was not smiling.

"But you're so damn sweet. Here we are in a strange town, and I eat something bad—"

"You didn't. It was from being in the car for nine hours."

"And you decide to go out and get me something."

"I could have—I should've just stayed and listen to you moan."

"Probably so."

Paul watched Ann as she went back to studying her tiles, gently clicking them together as she struggled to form words. It was about twenty-five years ago and he didn't think of it much, but when he did a world of things came flooding back. After this time it wasn't a thing to be contemplated; it was a part of the fabric, the rebar in the concrete ceiling. Questions, or rather suspicions remained for Paul. He poured the last of their bottle of wine into their two glasses, cradled his in his two hands and leaned back in his chair, surveying the room, and thinking about how much things had changed since that summer trip. Or because of it. They now sat together at their small dining room table situated behind their couch in the large living room. Bookcases filled with books, pictures, and various artifacts of their life together lined one wall. Windows made up the wall in front of the couch, overlooking Cheesman Park and Denver's skyline. Paul had never really thought he would end up in the city. He always imagined himself moving back to the country, from where his parents had ripped him when he was a youth, transplanting him to this squalid city. Instead, he had stayed, not by force, but not by will, and lived a city life. The city is good place for a young adult, first on his own, but in the back of Paul's mind he had always held a vivid image of his future.

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