embers by parenthesized

17 Jan

Her husband falls asleep that night earlier than usual after their night of silence.  Lindsay feels restless and slides out of their bed as softly as she can.   The moon is shining through their shutters so she stands in front of the window and peers outside.   There is a couple kissing by the light pole, two teenagers who are still young and fresh in love, or, as a more cynical part of her remarks, lust.

The girl is pressed against the boy, but they are no longer kissing.  She imagines that he is whispering poetic nonsense into the girl’s ear, convincing her to stay outside for longer, to defy her parents.  Unfortunately for the boy, the girl pulls away.  Their hands remain linked as he resolutely holds her.  The shadow of their outstretched arms is splayed across the pavement.  The line is stretched and spans a wider gulf than is possible, but they are happy, and when one is that young, all seems possible.  That feeling lingered with her far longer than it should have.

She remembers when she first met her husband.  Lindsay thinks that he was taller back then, even though this though is utterly ridiculous.  When she first moved to this city, she had been a caffeine addict, fresh out of college and still fighting the conformity in the dreary every day existence.  She absolutely refused to eat or shop at anything that could be remotely be considered a franchise (ironic considering her current employment), so Lindsay spent her free time searching for the dingiest coffee shops and independent stores available.  It was during one of these searches that she first saw him.  He was ordering coffee (black no cream no sugar) and she liked the look of him.  He was tall, solid, and strong, his shoulders broad inside the confines of his brown corduroy blazer.  To her, he looked like a man, someone different from the students of wavering intellectual and moral character that she had encountered throughout her experience at the university.

In those days, Lindsay was much bolder.  She strode right up to him and introduced herself while he waited for his order.  He seemed slightly surprised, but introduced himself too.  He claimed to have an important meeting, which she later learned was a date, so she scribbled her number on a napkin.  He pocketed the napkin, and she did not hear from him for nearly a year.  There was no instant connection, no sweeping moment of passion, but she knows that the girl she was would have become bored with a quick flame.  She wanted an inferno.  That girl never would have let a boy hold on to her as she walked away in the moonlight.

Who knew she would be satisfied with embers?


5 Responses to “embers by parenthesized”

  1. ingridfnl January 18, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    I liked the tension in this piece. The movement from her watching the young couple to remembering her past is very beautiful. Thank you.

  2. jadamthwaite January 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Yes, I agree, the tension is nice. I like the smoothness of the thought process… it’s the kind of thought you find yourself having and then have to trace back to work out how you got to thinking about it; you caught the transitions well.

  3. typicalquirk January 18, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    Melancholy. Beautiful.

  4. phoenix.writing January 23, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    This makes me want to find out more about their lives, get a glimpse of it from her husband’s POV and see other moments. I found the phrasing of the last sentence very interesting since it doesn’t say that she’s *stuck* with embers but that she’s *satisfied* with them. Is she actually happy (or usually happy)? Or has she downgraded her notions of what she wants out of life? Very interesting.


  1. two of a kind by parenthesized « the character project - April 18, 2010

    […] met Hammond previously in hammond.  We met Lindsay in embers and learned more about her in the cow […]

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