All Stories, General Fiction

Distraction by Sharon Hajj

Distraction by Sharon HajjIn the morning, I like to bury my dreams under the pillow so I can immediately check my to-do list:

  1. Go to store for soy milk, oatmeal, and dog food
  2. Buy paint and stencils for bookshelf
  3. Make an appointment for a mammogram
  4. Call and wish Mom happy birthday
  5. Dump your belongings in the trash

In the afternoon, I tuck my memories under the newspaper, wrapping the worst ones up with the obituaries.

  • Oliver Jackson perished during a house fire. A chef, best known for his special use of herbs and spices, will be remembered for his savory vegetables and rice served with his secret sauce. Customers have honored him by leaving sprinkles of pale orange curry in front of his restaurant. His life will be honored at the Lucy Pridgen Water Park followed by lunch at the Parsnip Cafe.
  • Judith Avery will be remembered on Thursday at The First Presbyterian Church at 2 o’clock P.M. Luncheon will follow. After a long healthy life, she joined her family in heaven in her sleep. She is best known for crocheting mittens for the babies in the local hospital nursery where she volunteered for thirty years. The babies will miss her warm embrace.
  • Grover Humbers will not be mourned. He was a lousy father, abandoned his wife, and the world is better off without him. His ashes will be buried at the local dump under a pile of used coffee grounds and chicken bones.

In the evening, I burn my mind’s escapees in the frying pan, while Wheel of Fortune plays in the background.

“I’ll take a T, please.”

I finish cutting the onion and wipe my eyes.

“Three T’s. Would you like to spin?”

The whirring of the wheel sounds like your engine roaring to life the night you left.

“Bankrupt. Next person.”

Bankrupt. Just like my life.

The oil in the pan catches fire, sending flames shooting up the wall. I grab a towel to stop the burning before it spreads, but instead I stare. The towel in my grip falls to the floor. My body freezes as the heat surrounds me. My Jack Russell terrier, Thistle, barks at my feet and I realize I have to save him. I throw the lid over the pan to suppress the flames. Then I grab the towel and flick it against the wall.

Once the flames die and the stench of burnt fantasies fill the room, I sit on the kitchen chair and sink into its worn cushion. The onion continues to burn my eyes leaving tears streaming down my face. I fight to suppress the flashbacks, but grief overtakes me. Thistle paws at my leg. I lift him up and let him slurp my angry tears.

“I better take you out, Thistle.” I jump up and drag my way through the sludge of emotions, hoping to drop everything at the door. The bitter cold stiffens me and shocks me back into the present moment.

Words float past me. “I’d like to solve the puzzle; LET THE SUNSHINE IN.”

“Correct. You win $1200.”


Sharon Hajj

Image by Hans Aldenhoven from Pixabay


8 thoughts on “Distraction by Sharon Hajj”

  1. Hi Sharon,
    I think you can tell a lot about your life when you read your ‘To Do List’.
    If there is nothing worth doing and it is all about necessity, it makes you realise why we don’t need to think about breathing!
    This is a clever piece of storytelling.

    Liked by 1 person

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