If Only by Diane M Dickson


typewriter

It was a tiny spot really, just a smear of grease.  Possibly it was the remains of a little squashed fly, snuffed out in the middle of its existence, hmm, maybe.  I tried to ignore it, I turned away but each time I passed it was there and it called to me, mocking me. Huh – you think you’re perfect well look you left a smear, you left the innards of a tiny creature daubed across the glass, spread over the shiny, newly cleaned window.

Well in the end I gave in, I had always known that I would and if I’d done it right away – well who knows maybe the outcome would have been different.  Of course me being me I chose the most inconvenient time to let it get to me, just as I was waiting for the girls to arrive, that was it of course, pride, my downfall just as my grandmother always said it would be.  I knew that the car would be turning into the road any moment, no time to fetch the bucket and the squeegee, no time to bring the steps up from the basement.

I thought that if I just used the spray cleaner and a piece of kitchen towel, I could wipe it away, the stain on my beautiful glass.  I sprayed the fluid onto the tissue, I climbed on the stool.  Now, it might have been okay if I had used the chair but the chair was by the table the stool was by the window.

It wasn’t quite high enough but I thought that if I put the little box, the one that I keep my candles in, on top then I would be able to reach.  It’s solid wood, I forgot about the warping on the base from that time when the room flooded when I left the window open, yes the same window as it happens. Huh.

If I had tested it for steadiness before I climbed maybe I would have noticed but I could see the car turning the corner.  I clambered up and balanced on the lid of the box, I rubbed the window with the paper towel, the stain was sticky and it didn’t dissolve, not at first, it just spread and so I had to reach further over towards the doorway.  If I had just held onto the window frame I might have got away with it but I had just had my nails done, scarlet, a slutty colour my granny always said, she would have said trying to clean one little bit of window instead of doing the job properly was slutty as well.

I leaned just a tad too far, the shift in weight wobbled the box, I tried to regain my balance but jerked too hard the other way, the box rocked, the rocking box shifted the stool, the movement of the stool caused one of the legs to slip on the polished floor. I grabbed out, I think I screamed.  I probably screamed.  The stool shot from under the box, the box crashed to the floor and for one endless silent moment I was suspended, the world slowed, time crawled by, treacled reality until I hit the glass.

It should have been safety glass, if the builders hadn’t cut costs it would have been.  As my head hit the window time regained its normal momentum, there wasn’t any pain, not then anyway.  I felt my head smash through as if it wasn’t really a part of me, just a delusion.  Then I felt my body thud and bump as I careened downwards and outwards bouncing on the window sill and the fancy coving.  If we had taken the apartment on the ground floor I might have got away with it but I wanted the view, to be above the heads of passers-by.

The air was cold, shockingly, it is raining slightly.

I can see the girls now, Melanie is leaning beside me, I think she is holding my hand.  Carol is screaming into her mobile phone, and the others are just milling around.  I’m really sorry to have upset them like this, I really am but I don’t think it really matters much any more because they are drifting away now or is it me, oh yes I think it’s me.

 

Diane M Dickson

7 thoughts on “If Only by Diane M Dickson

  1. i loved how the gradual expectation of disaster accumulated with the minor concern of the character being judged on the housekeeping, which led progressively and escalated to the resultant disaster. This, to me, illustrates the dangers of taking shortcuts when we do something quickly, a terrible human trait, and the consequences. Of course when such a tale is narrated in the 1st person I have to subdue my logical thought and accept the paradox, (they lived to tell the tale?). This story also made me chuckle, after all we do enjoy a good ‘schadenfreude’ particularly on a Friday.

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  2. Diane, you showed us how a story about a dead fly on a window can be as electrifying as a monster peerng in. I held my breath from beginning to end! Wonderfully done! June

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  3. What can I say Diane, you write this type of story with so much ease and skill. The thoughts and feelings that you put across are wonderfully done. Another story that you have given us that will stay with us.
    Hugh

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