All Stories, General Fiction

Quiet Longed For, and You by Marco Etheridge

Sunday morning, and some idiot is trying to start his piece of crap car, cranking it over and over. Will that battery never die? There’s no fuel or no air or a lack of both and all the hope in the world is not going to light that sorry engine off. Give it a rest, will you please, for the love of all things holy, or if not divine then at least civil?

And the two little boys next door, cute as buttons or not, are torturing each other and screaming at the top of their lungs, screams so high-pitched the worthless spaniel two gardens down is wailing in distress. When the beast is not wailing, he barks at everything that passes the garden gate, human or canine, a mindless barking machine that deserves to be poisoned. No one would miss the dog.

Two floors up, that maniac is dragging his furniture around again, back and forth, back and forth. That chair must weigh a thousand pounds judging by the noise it makes. He shoves the thing about like Sisyphus rolling his boulder, never happy, never happy. The rumble of his labors echo through the building.

I cling to the small hope that the gargantuan chair will topple on him, a miraculous accident that pins him, quiet and immobile, to the floor. Everyone in the building hates him because he bitches at everyone about everything. He knows better than to cry for help.

The sun is beaming down on a beautiful summer Sunday, and it’s too hot to close the windows. Across the lane, a tribe of kids splash in the neighbor’s pool. They are a band of aquatic barbarians, screeching out battle cries and waves of childish laughter. The peals of their sweaty summer joy ring through my skull like a spike driven deep into my brain.

A mass drowning is too much to wish for. One of the supermoms would save the doomed children and without so much as smudging her makeup. The moms that live along our narrow lane have powers far beyond those of mere mortals. Their piercing brittle voices stab the sunlit air, crisply enunciated syllables that only add to the cacophony that is killing me, decibel by decibel.

I clutch at my head, press sweaty palms to my ears, but nothing will dull the roar. And all of it, all the tumultuous crashing joy and pain of life cannot hide the silence of the one sound that is gone forever: The sound of your key in our lock, the click of your heels as you slip off your shoes, and that softest intake of breath just before I hear your voice.

Marco Etheridge

Image by Schluesseldienst from Pixabay 

5 thoughts on “Quiet Longed For, and You by Marco Etheridge”

  1. Hi Marco,
    Sounds like a nightshift worker!!
    Although no matter what, I’d never threaten to poison a dog – The kids…Of course!!!
    I think the ending was strong as it took this from the insomnia that I was initially thinking and him trying to sleep during the day to more about loss.
    It’s great to see you back!
    All my very best to you and yours over the holidays.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

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