Thursday, September 20, 2012


Another snippet of another short story. Hope you enjoy it. It was inspired by a woman I saw at Wal-mart, bless her heart. I call the story Circles for a number of reasons.


She entered the kitchen and sighed. The sink was full again – cereal bowls, spoons, glasses – and spilling over onto the counter. There was something sticky on the floor. The cupboard door was open and the flatware drawer too. Why can’t this mob of kids, and their leader, their father, close cupboards and drawers? Why can’t they put their used dishes into the dishwasher? Why can’t they wipe up whatever it is they spill? She just cleaned the kitchen after feeding them all lunch. She left them unsupervised for only a few minutes. Amazing they could make such a mess in such a short time. And now where were they? It is Saturday so they must be around somewhere. “Hey! Tom, Stevie, Carol! Where are you? Come clean up this mess!” They’re probably outside making a mess out there. She sighed again and turned to cleaning the mess.

Upstairs the beds were unmade. She’d told them over and over again to make their beds. They were old enough to start taking some responsibility for their rooms. And they could pick up their dirty laundry. When she tells them to clean their rooms, Tom pipes up and says, “Don’t worry about it on weekends. Go out and play.” She hated that. Why did he have to contradict her in front of the kids? And if they don’t pick up their clothes and straighten their rooms on the weekend, just how does he think they’ll be ready for school on Monday? He doesn’t think. He just takes her for granted, and so do the kids. “I’m just spinning my wheels,” she said to herself. She made their beds and collected their clothes. Four loads at least. This will take all day.

Downstairs a tornado must have spun through the family room; shoes, socks, newspapers and backpacks all strewn throughout the previously tidy room. “Oh come on! Stop cluttering up the place!” She hadn’t seen the brood for some time, but she was hot on their trail. Saturday or not they needed to pitch in. She couldn’t spend all day running in circles chasing their mess. Why did they get to take the weekend off and she had to pick up their slack?

Her frustration and anger grew as she moved through the chores. It was dizzying how quickly the messes could return. She felt like she wasn’t making any progress. She’d get one room clean and move to the next only to return to the first room to find that they’d been there and made another mess. There was chaos and confusion everywhere. She felt consumed by it.  She didn’t expect perfection, but it would be nice to have some order for a few minutes.
“I’m not cleaning another thing this weekend! Don’t come crying to me if you lose something!” she shouted to the empty air. “I’m going to rest a bit before the brood returns looking for dinner. No matter where they go they always come back and they are always hungry,” she complained out loud to herself. She sat on the sofa and buried her face in her hands and softly sobbed releasing the tension she felt so frequently.

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