Author's Note: A short character sketch. No plot; just thoughts, emotions and an old chair.
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"Come off it, Janet. You can't really mean that?"
"I can, and I do." The door slammed, and she was gone.
Paul was left with a feeling of slightly dazed bewilderment. It hadn't
really been an argument at all; in fact, it barely even hit the richter
But of all the days she could have chosen, she had to choose his birthday.
It wasn't as if she'd forgotten - far from it: she had gone out of her way
to make him feel special all morning. But this afternoon, she had gone from
happy to grumpy to a sudden bad temper, in the space of just a couple of
hours. And now she had stormed out.
Paul wandered aimlessly into the living room, and dropped into his chair.
This was where he always sat when he needed to think. It was also where he
always sat when he wanted to watch television, but this time the screen
remained firmly switched off. He didn't even reach for the control.
He sat picking at the exposed foam in the chair's left arm. There were
sizable holes in both arms of the chair. It had been threadbare to begin
with, but the legacy of years of Paul's thinking had left it looking
As he sat, he found his thoughts meandering. He remembered Janet's comments
about the state of the chair. Her wry remark that it was probably a good
thing it was an old chair he was pulling to bits, and not one of the new
ones. He remembered how they'd snuggled up together in the chair just the
previous week, to watch a movie. He tried to remember something about the
movie, but somehow he couldn't picture it - he couldn't even remember the
title - all he could remember was sitting in the chair with Janet.
His flow of thought tailled off, and he found that he was crying. It wasn't
dramatic; just a trickle of tears, but it snapped him out of his thoughts
like a piece of elastic. It was the first time he could remember crying
since... he really couldn't think of the last time he had cried. He had
probably done it when he was a kid, but he couldn't recall it. He hadn't
even cried when his dog had been put to sleep when he was seven. Even his
dad had cried then, but somehow, no matter how wreched he felt, the tears
hadn't flowed for Paul.
But they were flowing now. He blinked back the latest batch, and shook his
head. How long had he been sitting here? He really wasn't sure.
Spudley Strikes Again