Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Entry #8

Old Habits
by Wayne Scheer


Carol watched a solitary bird fly by her kitchen window. She turned to George, her husband for over forty years.

"Did you see that bird?"

"What?"

"The bird that just flew by. It seemed so alone."

"Uh-huh," he mumbled, ruffling his newspaper, following a front page story to page six.

"Are you listening?"

"The bird was alone." He folded the paper in half and then in half again.

"You still read like you're on the subway. I guess old habits like blocking out everything and everyone when you read the paper don't end just because you're retired." Trying not to be annoyed, she added coffee to his cup, a drop of milk and a bit of sugar. He sipped it.

"Mmm. Perfect."

"If I flew away, like that bird out there, all you'd miss would be your morning coffee."

George put down the newspaper. "Not true." He took her hand and kissed it, inhaling deeply. "I'd miss the smell of the hand cream you use in the morning."

Carol wrinkled her brow. "What are you talking about? I never knew you noticed."

"Remember how I'd kiss you’re hand every morning when I left for work? It was so your smell would stay with me. It lasted for most of the commute."

Carol felt her eyes fill up.

"And the bird. It isn't alone. It's rushing back to its nest."

"Oh, that's so sweet."

"Now can I get back to the newspaper?"

50 comments:

Aniket said...

Haha! Men would be men. :)

This is perfect. A sweet tale with a perfect blend of spice. Though I really want to know if it was only the newspaper he got in return? I can imagine other objects thrown at him too. :D

Bernita said...

Funny and sweet.

Leatherdykeuk said...

He has the gift of charm, so he does.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Beautifully done.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Good call. Gave me a proper grin.

Four Dinners said...

My wifey is now in love with you.

So am I (in a manly way of course)

At my age I really really like this in ways I daren't even mention.

Thank you.

4D

J.C. Montgomery said...

Goes to show that no matter the circumstances, there is always something we are not aware of because we'd rather believe an assumption than find out the truth.

I like the subtlety and subtext here.

Amias said...

Now this was a real smart man, aware of his place, and how to put a smile on his beloved face. I am still smiling.

Kate said...

This actually brought a tear to my eye. It's beautiful and simple; highly effective without tricks or gimmicks.

Meghan said...

So cute! I love the ending.

Craig said...

Impressive. This piece really captures the subtle differences in the ways men and woman see the world.

Megs - Scattered Bits said...

I love this! The characterization and the emotion (remembering the subway, remembering the scent of her hands) got me totally delighted and engrossed and then his last line was precious—and so like a man!

Chris Eldin said...

LOL! I can picture this well. Adorable.

catvibe said...

Sweet! :-)

pjd said...

This is charming.

Lucky for him, she actually does use hand lotion. He had a 50-50 shot. (Come on, do you really expect me to believe that he KNEW? :-)

I find the dialog realistic and the pacing very good, with just the right amount of detail. Nicely written.

Mayur said...

Nicely portrayed :-)

Kartik said...

adorable piece ... The devil in me wonders if women nag their partners all day long for such sweet words ... and isn't it worth it? ;)

Lena said...

Simple, sweet and charming :)

Tara said...

Captured perfectly. So. Well. Done.

wrath999 said...

Very well done

JaneyV said...

Wayne - this piece had so much heart to it. I thought it was wonderful and I love Carol and George. Wonderful.

Tessa said...

Heart meltingly tender with just a tiny twinkle of mischief...lovely!

Terri said...

Smooth, George, very smooth. I think he might be related to my husband.
This is very realistic :-)

sandra seamans said...

Forty years and the romance is still there! Lovely story, Wayne.

Beth Harar said...

I like how you started with the bird, and came back to it at the end. Clever!

laughingwolf said...

after 40 years, you want... what? ;)

Janel said...

Very nice. A sweet love story with a touch of grumpiness. Just like any good relationship.

Aimee Laine said...

How sweet! I was expecting her to go sarcastic or angry at his response to the kiss. I so loved your ending more than where my head went!

austere said...

I've always been a fan.
Lovely.

Anonymous said...

The dialogue is so natural. Once again, you've managed to breathe life into your characters. --JR

Preeti said...

beautiful. there is something about a relationship that has matured over the years and become like the skin outside you and the soul inside you.
i loved this for the sheer fact that this man reminded me of my dad and she reminded of my mom. 26 years of marriage and the spark is still alive. sigh...

:-)... loved this very much.

PS: that man is one hell of a charmer. Phew!!!

Lee Hughes said...

Great piece, him just saying whatever it took to get left alone to read his paper in piece.

kashers said...

Hats off to him I say. Rather than being a charmer, I see him as someone having the patience of Job. There he is, interested in the world, and his self-obsessed wife uses the 'lonely' bird as a method of having a dig while begrudgingly giving him a cup of coffee. He though sees through it all, both by having a more worldly view of the bird itself, and by the way he reveals he's more than merely aware of her presence... and always has been.

A real Venus and Mars story and one where my sympathies lay more with the Roman God of War. Then again, I am a geezer. ;)

Laurel said...

Funny, sweet portrait of a forty year marriage. The bird works really well here. I like how you use it as a sort of real life rorschach expression for each of them.

And George. He's no fool. Picked up a trick or two in forty years, didn't he?

Selestial said...

This was very sweet. I could almost picture my parents (except my mom would have said something rude like "after forty years, all you'd miss is your coffee and my hand cream?")

Nicely done :)

illyriataylor said...

sweet and poignant story

Sharon Poppen said...

I think I would have known who wrote this without having your name. It is so your voice. A great pair of characters you've developed in so few words. A lovely read. Nice work.

truevoid said...

cute. hope he got his news paper :)

angel said...

Ah now there's a man who knows where his bread is buttered!
:P

Harish said...

Simple and sweet. The subtle characteristics of the protagonists (George's selective hearing & Carol's 'careful' nagging etc.)stood out for me. Made me smile :)

Jean Ann Williams said...

Spot on correct!

Sounds familiar, even.

Jean Ann

Rabid Fox said...

A sweet little scene, with a nice, slightly acerbic, ending with the final line.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

He could have been such a sweetie if he hadn't rushed back to the paper.

Dottie :)

stacy said...

The dialogue here is so realistic and reveals so much. Nice job!

MHPayne said...

Definitely in my top 10--just a perfect vignette.

Mike

McKoala said...

A realistic and touching little slice of life.

james r tomlinson said...

I've narrowed my top two picks. This is one of them. --JR

Deb Smythe said...

I wish the "you’re hand" typo hadn't been in there, but a nice character study all the same.

Jane said...

he may not look as if he's taking any notice, but he is..nice!

Aerin said...

Dear Entrants #1-105,

I have read your pieces so that I can fairly participate in the Readers' Choice vote. (I read all of them through last week, before I started commenting.) I will be coming back around to offer my keep/tweak comment, but I didn't want anyone to snark.

Cheers,
Aerin (#236)

BTW, it's perfectly fine if you still want to snark, but this way you can choose a more appropriate subject, like the merits of Mafia Wars or whether Katie Holmes should demand a divorce