All I wanted to do was lie in the thick late-afternoon light and watch the spider in the corner of the ceiling, and listen to the cars passing outside the window, and drift in and out of sleep. But of course I couldn’t. Not while Melissa was there, threatening to talk about every little thing that came to her mind.
I closed my eyes again. I imagined her gone. I focussed on the quiet. It was so peaceful. I think I may have dropped off for a second, and when I opened my eyes, I thought she’d slipped away, bored with me and my room. I sat up and looked at the door.
“What’s up?” she said. She’d moved to the chair in the corner. She was playing with her bracelet, and twirling it round and round her wrist.
“Nothing’s up,” I said. I hoped I sounded bored, or irritatingly placid so that she might decide there was nothing happening, and move on to find excitement elsewhere.
But she slouched into the chair, and lolled her head back. She lowered an arm and stroked the rug with her fingertips. She looked extraordinarily beautiful.
Please don’t talk, I thought. Don’t talk, or move. Follow the example of me and the spider, and allow the dust motes to float and settle.
But she was unable to be still. This much I’d learned. So I held my breath. She gathered herself and sat at the edge of the chair, and twirled that bracelet round and round. Fiddling. I could tell she was looking to say something. She crossed her legs, and began to swing her foot backwards and forwards, over and over.
“Stop it,” I said loudly, surprising myself and her. She became motionless, watching me very closely, trying to figure me out. I’d captured the moment, and it was mine to release, and I imagined that without any further action from me we would remain frozen while the spider watched us, unsure, and the dust came to settle in thick layers on us and all around us.
© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2013.
7 thoughts on “Melissa”
I do like this Barry — especially the end where the speaker ‘captured the moment and it was mine to release’ — the idea of controlling a moment in time — so often we write/ think of things that are out of our control . . . . The only thing I wondered was whether the ‘thick’ light at the beginning slightly lessens the impact of the thick dust at the end . . .
Hey Jenny. Thanks for your comments. I see what you’re saying about the thick light and layers of dust, and I guess its repetition could act as an impact-lessener, as you suggest. Or maybe it helps to emphasise the thickness of the atmosphere. Life, the dust, the light – it’s all a bit thick for the narrator, perhaps!
Hope you received my comment on Melissa, Barry. I got a message that it had ‘timed out’ for security reasons. Anyway — I like it very much. Jenny ________________________________
I got it, Jenny. Oddly, it was awaiting approval. Anyway, I replied to it… thanks for reading.
I agree with Jenny’s comments too Barry – I love that line ‘I’d captured the moment, and it was mine to release’. I think the two ‘thick’s work actually now that I read it again. it also completes the story with the repetition. It’s a great visual image you create too. xxxxx
Thanks Helen. I’m really enjoying writing these very short pieces for the blog. x
I’m over trying to understand how WP works. My own comment was awaiting approval, and I’ve appeared as an anonymous user. Craziness.