Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)
TITLE: Until It Stops
By Tim George
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Bob jumped as the front door of their apartment slammed shut behind his wife.
Miranda paused in front of her bewildered husband for a second, looking as though she was waiting for an answer. But before he could muster the courage to offer a response she huffed and stormed on up the stairs just beyond where Bob sat. A grease stained hat flew down the stairs and landed directly in Bob’s bowl of half-eaten cereal.
“Like you’ve got any answers;” Miranda’s voice echoed down the stair case.
Shedding a different piece of her Burger Man uniform at each step, she screamed; “It’s just not fair. I smell like a number three, hold the mayo, extra onions.”
More slamming doors and the muffled sound of the shower was followed by a long and painful silence.
ESPN was now muted as Bob stared at the Burger Man hat resting at an angle, half in and half out of his Rice Krispies. Somehow who hit the next home run or who was holding out on their contract didn’t matter so much. The house sat in sullen silence. Upstairs and downstairs no one knew what else to say. Even the Rice Krispies had lost interest in crackling their advice.
Praying for words Bob slowly set his bowl down and looked up the stairs. What words could he offer her? He had caused all of this. First losing his job and then most of his dignity. Then went their home and what little was left of their story book life. No wonder she was angry. Who wouldn’t be?
Bob swallowed hard, took a deep breath and decided it was time to go say something. Find some words that would calm the anger and hurt she felt. Take the blame. Make some promises. Whatever.
Just as he was about to rise, lightning flashed through the living room window followed shortly by a fierce clap of thunder. Toots, their beagle, came flying from the kitchen. Running as best she could while having her tail tucked tightly between her legs, the dog jumped up on the couch disregarding the cereal bowl and landed in a trembling ball in her master’s lap.
“Now I’ve got two women to try and calm down;” Bob muttered to himself. He tried to set Toots down but she would have none of it. Each time he tried to set her down the beagle snarled, teeth bared, warning her master he better not make another move. He tried calming words only to get more of the same. And so Bob held her and waited for the summer storm to die down. Within minutes the house and the world was quiet again. Toots wiggled, squirted out of her master’s arms and set herself to happily licking up a treasure of spilled Rice Krispies and drying milk.
And then it hit Bob square in the face. How could he have missed it? Toots didn’t snarl because she was angry. She was afraid. The poor animal feared the thunder because she didn’t understand it. To her it had no rhyme or reason. It came from nowhere
without warning bringing with it who knew what.
Bob patted Toots on the head. “Thanks girl. You just taught me something. You didn’t want me to explain the thunder. And you didn’t blame me either. All you really wanted was for me to hold you until it stopped.”
Leaving Toots with what remained of the cereal Bob headed up the stairs. With each step he picked up Miranda’s Burger Man uniform until he got to the bedroom door. He set the clothes by the door and entered quietly.
Now in her robe Miranda looked up through weary eyes. “I … I’m so sorry.”
Bob put a finger to her lips and smiled. He wrapped his arms around Miranda and held her tightly. And he would until the storm passed. No matter how long that took.
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