Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: REDUCE (11/05/15)
- TITLE: Hairy Carrots
By Sally Hanan
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Henry turned on the light and stood there, absorbing the emptiness. The house he had bought to restore relationships and pull them together had merely served as a temporary holding place—some grunts in the morning, if Kayleigh was feeling generous—and this loneliness at night. It reduced him to weakness every time.
When will you be home?
Not that he expected her to reply to his text, but it helped him keep up his side of the silent agreement to stay connected, to at least try.
Henry stayed there in the living room for some time, trying to come up with something to do other than end up in front of the TV. He could feel Kayleigh’s judgment for it already, despite her own diet of it. “I’m watching documentaries,” she’d say. “I get to learn about history and how to eat grass for the rest of my life—useful things. Your games are so boring.”
He walked into the kitchen and opened the fridge, willing a healthy dinner to appear. The carrots were three weeks old. He inspected them closely. They were starting to look a little hairy, somewhat like his eyebrows. He carried them over to the counter, pulled out his favorite knife and chopping board, and sliced the orange sticks into chunks, along with a yellow onion that had also seen better days.
The butter liquefied quickly in the pan, and he scraped the onion into it and stirred before picking up the old grater Kayleigh had mocked only yesterday. Its age hadn’t made it any less functional, but the ginger fussed as he scraped it up against the circular blades, pushing string after string upward in surrender. It was a wonder there was anything useful pushed through the grates, but eventually a despairing tablespoon lay on the chopping board. He added it to the pan, giving the broth a good sniff before adding it too to make sure it was okay, despite the sell-by date.
And then he waited.
He read all his Facebook notifications and tagged Kayleigh on one of the funny memes, played a few moves on Words With Friends, and checked his work e-mail messages. The soup still wasn’t ready, so he cleaned up Kayleigh’s messy coffee table and took out the trash.
The blended soup filled his taste buds and emotions with warmth. Henry wrapped his fingers around the mug and eyed the sofa.
His phone vibrated behind him.
Not sure, Dad. Don’t worry. I’m with a hot, bearded biker whose special talent is selling crack. All is well. <3
A grin cracked his cheeks. Super Mario Galaxy it was.
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