Never the Same Since

The spider entrenched on my patio door provided an apt metaphor. Its metallic legs dug into my screen, seemingly attempting a break-in. I watched its bulk from the corner of my eye as I dialed number after number into my boyfriend’s pager. I’d been collecting these phone numbers for months. Either I’d seen them appear on his pager as he furtively tried to hide the beep, or I memorized them from scraps on paper he’d left tucked into various nooks and crannies on his dresser.

 

I unraveled hard and quick that night. I imagined him calling these numbers, probably forgetting who they even belonged to, and getting one of the women on the line, their voices breathless and eager to hear from him again. Maybe they’d been a one-night stand, or perhaps it was a three-movie deal. He’d denied their existence for nearly a year, in late night conversations, bullying assertions and fervent admissions of love. But when I found the opal ring in his car, wrapped in a napkin with the words “Rachel” girlishly scrawled in ink, reality broke over me like a pail of rocks.

 

That night, he called just once. Maybe he suspected it was me pounding dozens of numbers into my phone’s keypad, bidding him to call the women he’d cheated on me with so often, so dismissively. I cried into the receiver, still watching that ugly spider twitch and click against the darkness. I denied it all of course, and begged him to come and save me from that spider. To save me from that spider.

 

17 Responses to “Never the Same Since”

  1. I am breathless.

    My heart is beating hard.

    Like I’d indulged in a third cup of coffee.

    I would like another serving.

  2. ooh. this is so dark and suspenseful. love it!

  3. Chris says:

    Very, very nice! What a great exercise for the writer’s mind. I’ve got 3 little boys in the backyard with a hose. Maybe I’ll play next week…

  4. deception at its finest…

  5. tinsenpup says:

    That’s very powerful. I love the spider.

  6. Tanya Kyi says:

    The spider’s metallic legs… even if you never expand the freewrite, you have to save that description.

  7. Jennifer H says:

    This is excellent. You have the seed of something here.

  8. kate says:

    you are totally brilliant.

  9. kate says:

    i was so mad at the rock for a minute. until i realized. helloooo? fiction? it’s me, kate.

  10. Temple Stark says:

    The little web being weaved, and unwoven. Seemed to short (while mine was 370 words – too long) This too could be the beginning of a thriller short story.

  11. MommyTime says:

    Ouch. This is a great story. I can’t wait to see where it goes!

  12. Momma Mary says:

    ooooooh… i liiiiiiike it!

  13. Da Goddess says:

    whatta bastard. Haven’t we all known men like that?

  14. […] He was the first I knew of romantic love. Those beginning hours and days, for that’s all it turned out to be in truth, imposed a gentle panic on my life. When would I see him again? Does he really love me? Is he coming back? I drank up every single saccharin word he blabbered, and they were bedazzling doozies. Once, early on, I listened with pressed ear as he called from out of town to longingly report that his trip was “heaven,” but one “angel was missing.” And I just blithely gripped the phone in a swoon, ignoring the foreshadowed irony. Angel, indeed. […]

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