On Saturday, as I said yesterday, I ended up at a Creative Writing Workshop, where we’d to write for half-an-hour about “Communication”. I didn’t dare read out what I’d written before the class, but I feel that I should expose myself to somebody (er, that phrase needs work) so I’m foisting it upon all of you instead, exactly as it was written, though there are lots of little bits I’d love to change….

He came home and walked into the kitchen. She was at the cooker with his back to him.
“Hi,” he said.
Her back stayed facing him, shoulders hunched. He could smell broccoli soup, although she knew he didn’t like it.
“Something’s wrong,” he guessed.
A saucepan slammed down on the cooker. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he said.
She took some cutlery from a drawer, banging it after her, so hard that it rolled gently back open.
“Is it our Anniversary?” he ventured.
She turned to face him. People had often said that he had married her for her looks, and he was getting one of them right now.
“Your birthday?” he said, half-a-second before he remembered that she was a Virgo and this was March.
She raised her eyes to heaven, so high in fact that she could practically see the back of her own head.
“My birthday?” he said, trying to lighten the mood. She did not smile. The mood remained unlit. She put a bowl of broccoli soup in front of him, and a spoon bounced on the table beside it.
“Whatever it is, I’m sorry,” he said. She walked part him into the sitting room and switched on the TV. Unfortunately a programme about fishing came on, but she remained resolutely staring at it.
“Would you like to tell me -” he got as far as, before she turned the volume up louder.
The discussion on the TV was about fish being gutted. “I know how they feel,” he thought.
That’s as far as I got before time ran out, which is just as well, because like him I hadn’t quite figured out what she was annoyed at.


7 thoughts on “Communication

  1. vivinfrance

    You have a rare talent for building up tension while at the same time, giving us laughs along the way. I was disappointed to be deprived of one of your genius payoff lines at the end – keep worklng on it!
    Typo in the first line: HER back was to him.

  2. elspethc

    Herself Herself !! Long ago when my sister got divorced I asked what was it about and she answered Tomato soup or chicken soup – this was in the days when we didn’t do broccoli. Later when I got divorced I knew what she meant. Your man can’t win, there’s a bit of herself she doesn’t love so she has dumped it on him, and he’s going to be gutted, it will even be his fault there was a fishing programme on. (Its called projection) Great image, even if my ending isn’t yours, made me laugh remembering. You always create a real space, look forward to your ending.

  3. grannymar

    I love that piece and wanted it to continue. You have a tenth of a publishable short story there (3000 words or less), so keep at it and who knows we might all be buying a collection of your works by Christmas.


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