Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Broken Strings

By Jacie Tan Cheng Hwee

                Laura sipped her coffee as she watched the greyness of the rain, falling down past her window. Tucked up in her robe, she sat still as she let each thought sidle through her mind. It was a Sunday morning. Her coffee was a full-bodied roast. The rain fell down in a straight line, which meant it wasn’t being slanted by the wind.
                The kitchen door opened then, and Jack stepped him. Laura looked at him, dripping water on the tiles of the floor. He’d just come back from his morning jog. They stared at each other for a while, and it occurred to Laura that she ought to say something. But she realised this too late, and Jack was already making his way to a towel.
                He was back too soon, seated in the chair opposite her, a matching cup of coffee in his hand. Laura looked carefully at the wood grain of the table. It was hard to believe that this was the man who used to make her laugh like she’d never had before, that this was the man with which she could spend the whole day not talking and still call it one of the best days of her life.
                It was different now. The silence between them was tense, weighted. The worst part about it was that it was becoming all too familiar.
                Jack gripped his mug handle tightly, and took a swig of coffee. It was too hot and it burned his throat on its way down. But even the pain was preferable, in comparison to the nothingness.
                When Jack first saw Laura, it was like a ray of sunshine had walked into his world. Her eyes shone like stars, her fair hair shone like newly spun gold, and her smile could stop him dead in his tracks. She was wearing a red and white floral printed picnic dress, perfect for a day in the park. Jack had let her go by that first time. He ended up coming back to the same park, every day at the exact same time for a week, before he found her again. This time, he wasn’t taking any chances. He went up to her and spoke to her, and when he’d heard her voice for the first time, he was lost for good.
                Eighteen months later, and here he was, sitting in front of that same celestial Laura. She had to be the same. She was just as beautiful, and just as lovely. But although she was the same, she had changed. Either that, or the way he saw her had.
                She raised her eyes to his, and in that fleeting instant he realised that if Laura had ever seen him in a special way, then she’d lost it, too.
                That moment, that one wordless moment when their eyes had locked, Jack and Laura were more honest with one another than they had been in a very long time.
                Lightning struck and a clap of thunder ensued. Jack blinked, startled, and Laura jumped up. “You should change,” she said.
                “Yeah,” said Jack, agreeing to what she said, as he had always been doing of late.
                “I’ll get the mugs,” she said, reaching over the table to take his. Her hand touched his as she did, and from the oddness she suddenly felt, Laura realised it had been some time since they’d even touched hands. She bit her lip.
                “I love you,” she said, after some hesitation, and she wasn’t sure who she was trying to convince.
                He didn’t say anything as he got up and left the kitchen, and she didn’t even resent him for it. Leaving the water to run as she turned to stare at him leave, she realised that the words didn’t mean anything anymore.
                And they now both knew it.

I have no idea what this is. Written from 10.52p.m. - 11.20 p.m., in one go, no editing. I will regret this later. "Inspired" by James Morrison and Nelly Furtado's Broken Strings. With a little Karyn White's Superwoman. I need to go get a life. I don't write short stories.

Updating for the sake of updating.

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