I’m stuck. Horribly, painfully, terrifyingly stuck. It’s the dreaded block, man. I’ve had this before, and I do notwant to get derailed by this again. So, in an effort to jump start my gears, I’ve been writing little vignettes. I don’t draft, I don’t think about what’s going to come next. I just choose a first sentence and go from there. Painful, but therapeutic, I think, I end. Here’s one I think is sort of alright.
* * * * *
“I’m tired of this,” Cara whined.
Christian didn’t even bother to look up from his paper. Cara was always tired of something. “What is it this time?”
“Well, for starters, I’m tired of you not paying attention to me,” she said, pouting.
Christian turned a page, taking pains to remain as neutral and calm as possible. “I am paying attention to you. Case in point: if I were not paying attention, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”
“You’re not even looking at me!”
Heavy silence from Christian.
Cara wasn’t stupid. She had noticed, of course, that it took longer each time for her husband to respond to (diffuse, rather) her little outbursts. She knew those few extra seconds he took were to calm his own temper. That didn’t worry her. It was perhaps a testament to her own self-absorption that she had never even considered the ramifications of such. Christian had indulged these little fits of hers for the entire duration of their relationship and, she believed, would continue to do so without fail.
Christian, for his part, did love his wife. She was the light of his soul, the still point of his world. He would have done anything, gone anywhere, if only to make her happy. But no matter how much love or devotion, twenty years of temper tantrums will wear anyone’s patience thin.
The human brain works amazingly fast. He thought of all this and more in those three seconds of silence.
“Cara,” he rumbled, and Cara, so unused to such gravity in her husband’s voice, jumped in surprise. Exasperation, yes. Placation, of course. But gravity? She shivered involuntarily.
Christian set down his book and rose from his chair. With even stride, he crossed to his wife, who suddenly felt as timid as a rabbit before this 300-pound giant.
“Cara,” he said, taking her small hands in his own bear-like fists. His fists. Strange she had never thought of them that way before. She swallowed hard.