Unsticking The Stones

A Very Short Story

“Don’t even bother trying to say sorry this time.” He belched the last two words. We all thought he might be sick for a moment, or maybe fall down the thinly carpeted stairs. “Yeah, you aint got nothin’ to say,” he was starting to slur pretty badly, his words blending together at either end to form one continuous sound. They practically oozed from him, spilling down the stairs like magma.

My cheeks flushed, and sweat beads prickled at my temples. I handed my untouched drink to a friend, I don’t recall which one, and started gathering my things. I think someone tried to say something encouraging. The words were soft and airy, and they must have floated away because I don’t remember them.

Someone had called Joe into the kitchen just then, and I took my opening, bee-lining for the door that stood just beyond the small landing at the top of the stairs. Joe swung around; the sick, sweet scent of whiskey and aftershave alerted me to this. I hated myself for liking that smell. He was blank at first, and then angry once he realized that I was not coming to apologize for another imagined transgression. He lumbered toward me. I stood, frozen, not wanting to drag the ensuing squabble out into an even more public arena, the driveway.

So I stayed there in the corner, between a coat rack and a hard place, with his hot breath in my face and his barrage of loud and inappropriate words flying toward me. A few of them managed to penetrate and soak in. Most bounced off, though, having been rendered ineffective by overuse. Those ones fell to the floor, breaking into pieces as they landed. Embarrassed, I tried to hide them under my shoes.

Source


When it was over and he lay sprawled and snoring across an old mattress in an unused bedroom, I left. I walked to the bus stop in the dark, connecting the stars together so that they formed sentences to explain things better.

In the morning, his words would be softer – the sharp points whittled away clumsily, some even fashioned into semblances of something beautiful. I had gathered these trinkets time and again, stowing them away in my pocket to bring out during bad times. I would show them to those who questioned my judgment in staying with Joe, running my fingers over the crude shapes to emphasize the efforts he’d made on my behalf.

It went on this way for quite some time; he throwing, I deflecting. I had even started to learn that I could pick up the stony words and send them hurtling back at him - but, quite frankly, it wasn’t my style and I soon tired of it.

One day, I stood up. I think something changed; it felt like maybe there was some sort of planetary shift, an epiphany maybe. Or possibly indigestion. I emptied my pockets of the disintegrating bits of rubble I’d once treasured so, dusted the residue off my knees, and went.

Source

More by this Author


Comments 5 comments

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

JANUARY 25-2012

(Where are the comments? A hub this good should have comments up and down for a long time)

Hello, RooBee, This was a

GREAT read! Amazing presentation. Informative and very helpful. Voted up and away. I love your writing style and I am now honored to FOLLOW you.

Please keep up the great work and I Invite YOU to check out my hubs, that is if you need a good laugh.

And I would love for you to be a follower. That would make my day. Highest Regards,

Kenneth Avery,

from Hamilton, a small (but proud) town in northwest Alabama that Norman Rockwell would have been happy to put on a magazine cover. Much Peace and Success to you!


RooBee profile image

RooBee 4 years ago from Here Author

Kenneth - Thank you so much for your kind words!! It means so much that you took the time to read this and to say such encouraging things! I'm excited to check your hubs out, too! Cheers!


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

You are most welcome, RooBee. I meant what I wrote to you. You are very talented and Im glad to have met you on HubPages. And thank you so much for checking out my hubs as well.

God bless you.

KENNETH


kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Hi,again, RooBee . . .had to reread this. And like I suspected, GREAT! This has multiple-readability. Love your style, RooBee. Voted up and all the way. Keep up the great work.

KENNETH


RooBee profile image

RooBee 4 years ago from Here Author

You rock, Kenneth!! :D I hardly come to HP anymore, and don't promote my hubs at all these days(just so busy w/ other stuff). So seeing comments again - especially kind ones - is really a gift! Thanks for the encouragement!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working