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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Domestic Engineering


“You never could keep it in your pants, could you? But this is so … taudry. You make me sick.”

Sarah stepped away from Paul’s desk. She imagined him standing, heaving the chair back in fury as he grabbed her arm and slapped her across the face, her hair whipping dramatically as she fell to the footstool and wept. She turned to check, but in the tumult of their world falling apart, Paul sat at the desk with his pen held to a crossword puzzle.

Sarah seethed.

She crossed the hall, heading for the kitchen, and almost tripped over Katie.

“Darling, what are you doing there?” Sarah asked, ignoring the evidence that their daughter had overheard everything. “Have you finished your homework?”

Katie nodded. Sarah reached down and gave her arm a shake.

“Come with me and we’ll see about dinner. What do you feel like?”

“I feel like a child from a broken home.”

Sarah stopped short, gave a sharp laugh. “Oh, please, Miss Drama Queen. A broken home? You have no idea.”

“YOU have no idea!”

“Don’t get fresh with me, young lady, or...”

Sarah stood with her finger raised in the air as the child jumped to her feet and ran up the stairs. A second later the door slammed. “Hey!” came a muffled cry from the next bedroom over. Kevin’s burgeoning role of older brother consisted almost entirely of pointing out Katie’s childish behavioral patterns. Door slamming was a point of contention.

Sarah couldn’t face dinner yet. Confronting Paul had unleashed an adrenaline rush that she couldn’t contain. She grabbed her keys and purse and slammed out the front door. “What the hell?” came the cry from Kevin’s room and Sarah smiled maliciously. Rage propelled her down the street as she headed vaguely towards the center. She needed to walk, let the anger overtake her for a while, burn its way through her system and leave her some sort of a path to follow out of this tangled web.
 
     This week's word is  PATH  3a : course, route   b : a way of life, conduct, or thought

50 comments:

  1. Very sad...was Sarah smiling maliciously at Kevin? Strong writing, and upsetting!

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    1. Oh, that malicious smile was definitely for Kevin (teenagers have a knack for bringing one down to their level). I guess I was aiming for upsetting, since Sarah was upset. Thanks, cap'n.

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  2. Boy, that sounds like a pretty messed-up family on many fronts. I liked the detail about Kevin's primary role being to point out the stuff his sister does; I remember that stage!

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    1. Yup, elder siblings... Thanks for you input, Annabelle!

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  3. This felt familiar in all the wrong ways. You created a very accurate scene of a dysfunctional family.

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    1. Didn't it, though? Dysfunction is the new normal. Thanks, Tara!

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  4. "Seethe" is such a great word. What a messed up family. I really want to know what Sarah's next move is going to be.

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    1. Isn't "seethe" excellent?! You never know, you might be disappointed by Sarah. Thanks for reading, Bee!

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  5. Pen held to a crossword puzzle... Man, that would piss me off too. Your description on her encounter with her daughter was very touching... but so sad.
    A tangled web indeed.

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    1. Inertia is the cause of much more damage than it has a right to claim! Tangled webs, though, tend to get their due.
      Thanks for your comments, Ted!

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  6. I'm with Ted. That line about Paul and the crossword puzzle told the tale of their marriage. Better that he fight. Anger might still indicate love, but indifference foretells the end. Sad story, very well told.

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    1. All unhappy families..., eh? Thanks for weighing in, Steph!

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  7. Ugh, sounds like my house when I was growing up ): I guess that proves how well you write dysfunction!

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    1. I've known all kinds of dysfunction. Good fodder, anyway. Thanks, Draug!

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  8. A very good yet sad piece. Well done.

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    1. Yeah, I'm not real comfortable with happy. Thanks for your comments, Joe!

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  9. Very well done. I particularly love the conversation between mother and daughter.

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    1. Had that convo down pat from way back. Will surely pass it on down the line. Thanks, Rashmi!

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  10. This is a family who needs some counseling.

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    1. Counceling? That would be for people who give a shit. (Sorry, dysfunctionality alert!)
      Thanks for reading, Banker Chick!

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  11. Very real! I hope she figures out what to do :(

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  12. A sad state of affairs :-( and the pencil to puzzle set the tone. Really felt the characters especially Sarah.

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    1. Yeah, I kinda blatently took Sarah's side... Thanks for your comments, Gina!

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  13. This is a very real story that happens way to often. You did a great job writing the emotions.

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    1. Yeah, the new Happily Ever After. Thanks so much, Deana.

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  14. I've known families like this. Sometimes there is so much dysfunction around us we wonder if there is such a thing as normal anymore. Phenomenal story.

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    1. What is normal, anyway? Thanks, Mis.

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  15. "Rage propelled down the street" = excellent

    well written piece

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    1. Been propelled that way more than once myself... Thanks, Lance!

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  16. > Kevin’s burgeoning role of older brother consisted almost entirely of pointing out Katie’s childish behavioral patterns.

    Brilliant! I have two almost perfect kids - seriously - but that sums up their relationship exactly. ( he is 19, she is 14 :)

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    1. And here I thought I was being original! (ha ha) Thanks for your input, Bill!

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  17. Oh my gosh - I wanted to smack that guy! If I poured out my emotions and called him out on his cheating ways, he'd better put the dang pen down and acknowledge me (or at least have the number of a good proctologist handy 'cause he'd need help retrieving the pen :))

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    1. And yet she fantasized about being smacked by him... Maybe you should give her a whack or two, Janna! Character smackdown at Trifecta!
      Thanks so much for your involvement!

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  18. What a terrible mess to be in -for all of them!I literally cringed at all the slammed doors-so indicative of barriers & failed communications-sad!

    I loved the way you created a realistic scene here Kymm-so many emotions at war in poor Sarah-no wonder she was going bonkers-one can relate to it easily-great job:-)

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    1. Sorry for the cringing, Atreyee! I find myself often being held hostage to conflicting emotions, depending on how many roles I'm forced into at once.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  19. Great, realistic story. And you've developed some great characters in a very few words. I hope you plan to write more of this story.

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    1. Thank you, lumdog! Yeah, I'm fooling around with some characters that came out of NaNoWriMo, trying to figure out who they are.

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  20. “I feel like a child from a broken home.” -- that's a great powerful line
    you've captured a normal day at the household of a perfectly normal dysfunctional family ^^
    very well-written

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    1. Thanks, kz. I hesitated using that "feel like" shtick - always reminds me of that old candy bar commercial (sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't).

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  21. Whoa! Great job with the seething tension boiling up within, and between the characters! That was awesome!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tina! Nice to hear.

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  22. Nicely characterised. And a great title too!

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    1. Thanks, Sandra. I wondered how the title would go over.

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  23. love stories that open out from the title and this one certainly did. Great stuff

    marc nash

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    1. Guess the title did work, then. Thanks so much, Marc!

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