Jane’s head whipped around to stare incredulously at Tom. “What did you just say?!”
Tom’s face grew hot under Jane’s focused stare. He hadn’t meant to say that out loud. Damn!
“Oh, I’m sorry,” he said, flint coming into his eyes, “was that my outside voice?”
This was how they always started, their arguments. Jane would stand, arms crossed, chin pointed, usually in a doorway, as if coming into the room would somehow signal weakness.
This time seemed different, though.
“Christ, Tom, I’m so tired of this.” Her body went slightly slack. “You exhaust me. We,” she paused as if words were beyond her, and brought her arms up, pressing the palms of her hands into her eyes.
“We what, huh? Maybe We shouldn’t be a “we” anymore? Are you going to pull that shit again? It won’t work this time, Jane.” He stood up, crossing to where she stood.
“No.” Her body recoiled at the sudden nearness of him. It made him angrier. She’d start crying any second now. He hated that. When Jane cried it made him ache no matter how angry he was, and inevitably he ended up apologizing, usually for something he didn’t do. Not this time.
“I’m not going to cave and throw my arms around you and spend an hour soothing your hurt just because you threaten to leave.”
Letting out a breath he hadn’t realized she was holding, bringing her hands down revealing eyes dry and dull, she said, “We exhaust me.”
Again, it registered that something was different about this argument, about Jane.
She turned, slowly as if moving under water, and crossed the hall to the front door. She opened it. With her back to him, turning her head slightly to send the words over her shoulder she said it.
This post was inspired by this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt for a dialogue in 300 words. This is the first piece of fiction I’ve written since I was in high school. I found it challenging. It shouldn’t have taken me an hour to write 300 words. Then again, when you’re stuck with a baby asleep on your lap and Nature playing in HD in the background (Meerkat Colony), what else are you going to do?
I would really love concrit… that is, after all, why I’ve started up with the writing prompts. So, have at it! And thanks in advance.