01 October 2008

inferior particles

i wrote this a few weeks ago for my creative writing grad school app portfolio. i may be applying to a different program now, and in any case, i started this blog to get the stuff i write out there, and i like this one enough to put it out into the open internet. thar she blows:

inferior particles
by meredith eaton

beth's feet barely knew the floor as she entered her pristine kitchen, the garage closing behind her. almost pristine. oops, those shouldn't be there, she thought, as she spotted the trail of crumbs on the chalk white tile floor. proof that danny was still the same danny he'd been since kindergarten, and had chosen the same grilled cheese sandwich to eat while he toiled over his honors studies. in a time not so long before, this imperfection would have meant a spike in her heart rate; any trace of disorder would have been erased completely before greg could have walked from car door to garage door. she only recently had the wherewithal to remember that crumbs are, in fact, not cause for crisis. beth sighed, lifted a blithe eyebrow to the rogue crumbs and said to herself, "not today!"

this foreign concept of not caring was becoming more and more natural and welcome. callie and danny didn't even exchange confused glances anymore; this serene, glowing person was indeed a new version of their old mother. admittedly, at the very first she wrestled with this freedom of feeling, the freedom from the contradictory emotional drag of the man with whom she'd exchanged vows years before.

but now...blithe eyebrow lift, blithe stroll through the crumb violated kitchen, blithe twirl through the back door to smell her azaleas. in the clay pot next to her planted mint leaves they smelled like a kind of toothpaste only a fairy godmother could provide. maybe she'd provide it. why not? beth peterson - toothpaste flavor inventor. her list of talents and range of potential had flourished ever since paul had become her secret -- her paul. he was the only thing she'd ever really had, the only thing that had ever chosen her in the way she wanted to be chosen. now she could see. greg owned her, but just that. paul chose her because he loved her. and after over a decade of feeling wrong for trying to do everything exactly right, she had found love. how could that be wrong? easy answer, paul told her, and she told herself -- it's not wrong.

back in the house she picked up callie's sweater that lay draped over the arm of the bonus room couch. a small stack of flashcards underneath the sweater were knocked to the ground. scooping them up, she sat on the couch to straighten the stack. callie's flashcards for the advanced placement english exam; she wondered how many words she'd still know...

abate...to lessen? the flashcard congratulated her.
abate: to reduce in amount, degree, intensity, etc.; lessen; diminish.

abhor...to dislike bitterly. again, she was right:
abhor: to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate.

wow, she thought, i'm good at this.

adulterous. she looked at the card again. she chuckled, but her eyebrows curled up and her jaw clenched tight. then she read on, adulterous: polluted with inferior particles.

polluted with inferior particles. her body was a ton of bricks, dragging her deep into the cushions of the couch.

she jumped slightly as the garage door opened beneath her, announcing greg's return home from work.

1 comment:

Hilary and Dave said...

Beautifully written, Merz. You really are so talented!