Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Entry #190

And Then We Were Strangers
by J. M. Poirot


She was trying so hard, so late in the game. It made me want to cry. A black crow circled slowly above us as though our love was a quivering animal on the ground, bleeding.

I opened the smoking hood, feeling the heat rise up against my face, wishing I was the type of man who knew how to fix cars, fix relationships.

“I’m so sorry.”

“For what?” I muttered. I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. She shivered. In the past, I would have offered her my jacket, wrapping it around her thin shoulders. That felt long ago. I hunched my shoulders, drawing my jacket around me. My breath turned into white puffs of air.

I watched her lean against the car door. She looked too tired to cry. The setting sun glinted off the gold cross on her neck, a gift from a mother who left her when she was ten. I used to finger it, feeling its coldness as she slept. Her father, who’d rather give her money than attention, bought her the car. Like everything else in her life, she didn’t know how to maintain it, give it the care it needed.

“They say you can see the lights of Chicago on a clear night.” I squinted, searching for any sort of movement along the horizon. The road was long and empty. It stretched endlessly into the cornfields.

“Sometimes you need the right set of circumstances to see anything clearly,” she whispered and turned away.

28 comments:

Tara said...

You captured this moment beautifully. Great writing.

Laurel said...

Fantastic. This has too many good lines to pick just one and I like the way the crow and the car both represent a broken, dying relationship.

The details tell the story eloquently, the jacket he doesn't offer, the gold cross, the car that breaks down because she doesn't take care of it.

Great last line.

Nice job.

Charmaine said...

Brilliant. Period.

Aniket said...

Awesome writing. Little actions and moments were beautifully captured.

Its hard to come back from that...

Jean Ann Williams said...

Like this very much. I was there and eager to keep reading.

Nice!

Jean Ann

J. M. Poirot said...

Thank you so much everyone! Jason's picture is really beautiful. I was inspired and impressed with the writing on this blog! good stuff.

Preeti said...

Oh my God...

why why do relationships reach a point when we become so indifferent and cold towards each other. the line where he talks about the jacket... sigh... i felt a knife turn inside me slowly.

why am i feeling so so sad for them?

just goes to prove that this is superb narration of a dying relationship...

:-(

Loved it totally. But im sad.

Deb Smythe said...

A very realistic portrayal of personal relationship, character and setting. Wonderful, clean writing as well. Nicely done.

Bernita said...

Clarity of sight...

lena said...

I could practically see them and hear them talking. What a great narration. Simple yet very beautiful and realistic.

laughingwolf said...

superb...

kashers said...

Good characters, back story and buckets of show.

Small point, but I wish the cross on her neck had been described as a crucifix for the relationship seems to have reached the last stage, i.e. where it is crucifying them.

McKoala said...

A beautiful little piece.

Leah said...

It's like everything is broken and neither of them can fix anything. Really good.

TAN said...

The sentence "That felt long ago" confused me.

Anonymous said...

Loved it, my favorit among all the submissions. Keep up the good work!

Vonnie said...

Haunting, I felt it.

Craig said...

That's powerful. The best one I've read all day.

Kartik said...

This struck a deep chord inside me. Thank you for writing this!

truevoid said...

Sometimes you need the right set of circumstances to see anything clearly

so very true!

James R. Tomlinson said...

No one truly knows another person, and you conveyed that in your story.

pjd said...

Again I find myself ready to comment, and then I see that Laurel already said my words.

Aerin said...

I've had either too much or not enough coffee, because for a brief moment, I thought he was lamenting the loss of his car, which would have been hilarious. Um. Okay. Back to business.


my caveat

Something I Would Keep

Your trademark skill, J. I knew when I saw your name that I wouldn't trip over poor grammar, clunky usage, unbelievable dialogue. Still, I was so pleased with the smoothness of this piece, the natural dialogue (naturally forced, because of their situation, of course, but still, not contrived). Nicely done.

Something I Might Tweak

I would have made it about the car.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I love how their relationship patterns are echoed in other parts of their lives. On my fave list for sure.

Aimee Laine said...

Relationships are just so difficult. That last line said it all.

JaneyV said...

This is a painful moment when a relationship that has been cooling suddenly turns cold and both parties understand that it is over. You have captured it perfectly.

Excellent details and spot-on dialogue. Well written.

maybe genius said...

Great feeling in this piece. The people are real, fragile, emotional, broken. Very well done.

catvibe said...

Oh, I feel for them both. Excellent.