LJ Idol Exhibit B: Week 2: 1337

"We could go on a picnic this weekend," I murmur, my voice heady and rough from our tumultuous rendezvous under the covers. "you've been saying you wanted to for a while now, and it's such a nice day." I tilt my head back into his chest and peer upward through half-lowered lashes, his sleepy eyes gazing softly back at mine.

"Maybe, Genevieve," he slurs back, the liquor having softened his tongue. "I might just stay home this weekend, though, I need to work on my program." A heartbeat passes. "I thought you were going out to visit your family?" My heart hardens and I feel myself sighing softly.

"I did that last weekend, Robert," I don't even have the energy to argue this point, this one time. "I wish you'd keep your days straight. Maybe use a calendar? We had said that this weekend would be for us, ours. We haven't spend time together in so long." Robert pushes himself up on one elbow, effectively sliding me off of him. My head hits the pillow and I exhale sharply.

"It's not my business to keep up with your schedule, Gena," he snaps, his eyes squeezing closed like they're pinched in a vice. "Maybe if you didn't leave town so much, we wouldn't have this problem."

"Oh, this is my fault?" I twist the ring off my ring finger and thrust it at him, shaking it in the candlelight. In hindsight, it seems such a stupid idea. People like us don't deserve things like candlelight lovemaking. Save that for the couples that love each other. "When you put this on my finger, you promised to be there for me. But you're not even married to me any more, you're married to your work and your damn computer."

Robert's face creases like an origami paper, lines spring out I never even knew existed in the folds of his face. I know this man well, down to the marrow of his bones, but it seems he always finds some new way to surprise me.

"I've got work to do, Genevieve," he snaps, swinging his legs off the bed and slipping his feet into slippers. "And maybe if you were more pleasant to be around ..." he trails off, seemingly lost in thought as he stares at the wall. I remain in the bed, recalcitrant, but when Robert gets up and tracks into the kitchen, I follow, pausing to turn back and blow out the candle on the bureau by the bedside. The candle releases a mixture of sweet smoke and dragon's blood resin into the air, and I sigh, breathing it in. I just have to remain calm, it will blow over. Things will be fine, we will be fine.

Robert stands by the kitchen sink, drinking what could be water but might also be vodka out of a pint glass his cousin gave him for Christmas this past year. The air conditioning is off, and my naked body glistens with sweat in the damp heat of a South Carolina July night. Grabbing a blanket off the back of the sofa, I wrap myself in it and come up beside my husband, sliding my arms around his waist.

"I'm sorry, baby," I mumble, planting a kiss on his shoulder blade. Robert slowly twists around and looks into my eyes, but they aren't filled with the love I might have hoped had returned to them.

"If you're sorry," he starts, yanking himself away from me and glowering hotly, "you'll leave me alone!" He chucks his pint glass at my legs and it bursts into pale fireworks by the wan light of the kitchen bulb, tiny shards of glass prick my knees where the blanket has not covered them. He pauses for a moment before wheeling around and blustering into his study to work on his latest program, leaving behind only the storms from his eyes.

I peer downward at the shards, and pick up a piece with some text still left on it.

"1,337?" I wrinkled my nose and turned toward you, showing you the text on your new glass. "1,337 what?" You laughed and put a bright crimson bow on top of my head, planting a kiss on my cheek.

"1337. It says 'leet,' like elite? I'm the best programmer there is, I'm one of the elite. And one day we'll be married and we'll have scads of children, all named Robert, who will inherit our marvelous fortune and live as kings, just like their mom and dad!"

You threaded a strand of garland around your neck and lifted me up on your shoulders as you strode around the living room of your parents' house, my head nearly missing the beams of the vaulted ceiling. "This will all be ours, my queen!" I threw my arms around your neck, squealing as your younger cousins danced around us, small stars orbiting my fiance's moon.

I sigh, and brush my legs off. The dustpan is in the closet, and this mess will surely not pick up after itself.


I swear I am not incapable of writing about anything except domestic unrest.
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Robert throwing that at him really was uncalled for. And I like how you used the prompt. It showed that they were once happy. :)
I do hope this is fiction. Why does Gena stay with that abuse? She seems to take it in stride.
I'm sure you can write other things, but you write domestic unrest very realistically! I had chills going down my spine reading this.
Simply great--the sense of things being wrong, a marriage falling apart, and the glass at the end--all worked well.
This is a really well-written snapshot of a suddenly unhappy moment. I worry for this couple-- especially when an apology is met with throwing glass at a person (that could be dangerous) AND the other person doesn't regret thir impulsive mistake.

Married to work... it never matters what the work is (even when it's a compulsive hobby). It's always the same problem for the partner/spouse. :(
Wow. This story made me so sad for them both, actually...
I feel for Robert, and I know I wrote it so that the reader would instantly hate him. He's got some terrible qualities - he's abusive for one thing! - but I know why he's the way he is, too. I might write about these people again ...
Ooooof, this one packs a punch. I love it! Very well done, very well done indeed! I adore the contrasts, especially.
Some people are only promises..and sometimes, after a few realize it was all words.

The metaphors like origami and fireworks were really amazing. How you write makes a fairly normal scene very fresh.
Your images were so clear and heartbreaking. I have been that programmer, up to a point (I have never thrown any objects at my spouse). I'd like to believe you haven't been that spouse, but this feels so real. If you have been that wife, and he never apologized, can I do it for him? Programmers can be exceptionally stupid sometimes.
In part? I was engaged to one and we broke up. He never threw a glass at me, but we got in screaming fights and I do remember an instance where he legitimately threw himself on the floor in exasperation like a toddler when we were bickering. I did have a mental image of our old apartment when I wrote this, but while he's a stupid jerkwad, he's not as bad as this dude.
Oy gevalt. This makes my heart sad. (Right now it also reminds me of the relationship of the main couple in The Memory Keeper's Daughter.)
The way the tone and circumstances shifted so quickly, and so irrevocably, was just heart breaking. Great job setting the scene and showing us a not-very-pleasant side of these characters.