SHORT STORY: LEAVE

I haven’t written anything in forever. So sorry that this is Not That  Great™.

Jaxon had disappeared into the kitchen to mourn the death of his dishwasher.

It’d been a good dishwasher too. Served its purpose. Lived a long life. All that crap. I hoped that he’d get a new one quickly though, unless he wants to be doing all the dishes every night after closing up the pub. Though the town’s small. So he’d easily be able to get away with doing that.
– I leaned up against the bar ledge, closing my eyes and appreciating the breeze that blew through the open door. Jaxon always called me up if something broke. Somehow I’d become the pub’s unofficial handyman. Probably didn’t help that I had taken up an apprenticeship at the local mechanic’s. Or should I say only mechanic…
– “I need to get out of here,” I groaned. This small town was suffocating. Same routine, same people, same day, same everything. Repeated and repeated over and over again until the end of time. I groaned again.
– “You could just go,” a voice replied. I jumped, startled at the new noise before I turned around to see a smile, a slight tip of a chin positioned upwards. An almost knowing glint in oceanic eyes. With something distinctly… foreign about her.
– “Can’t,” I said. “My life’s here. Family, friends – I can’t leave them behind.”
– “Why not? Go out, start a new life. Go somewhere. Do something. Be anyone you want to be.”
– “How ‘bout I shout you a drink?”
– “You’re not the bartender?”
– “Definitely not. I know shit about it booze apart from how much will make me piss drunk.”

She walked along the train track rails, her balance slightly off this late into the night.
– “You still never have told me where you’re from,” I prompted her.
– “Nowhere,” she murmured, eyes closed and face tilted upwards. Like a silent prayer towards the stars.
– “You were born somewhere though.”
– “I was. Doesn’t mean that I stayed there though. Doesn’t mean that I belonged there.”
– She stretched out her arms wide. Almost like she was a chick as she stumbled across the railings. Like a small bird trying to get its wings off the ground, still so unsure of itself. She fell off to the side though, her dress covered in dirt as a result. I laughed though at her, and reached out a hand to help her up. Yet she knocked it away, instead to turn her face away. “You could come with me,” she whispered. Her words carried faintly in the night air.
– I chuckled, “I’ve already told you. I have to stay here.”
– “You don’t belong here,” she retorted, her eyes lacking that spark that they once shone with during our first moments together.
– I reached out my hand again to pull her up and into an embrace.
– “Maybe I don’t. But you don’t seem much happier than me, do you?”

She waved good-bye, stepping onto the train. The doors closed, with that creaky clack of them shutting as what was the sign of the train’s readiness to departure. She disappeared further into the carriage, and I watched it slowly leave. The screeching of the metal on metal consumed everyone else.

There went the train. Able to at least leave this place for a while.

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SHORT STORY: A DIFFERENT TYPE OF SUFFERING

I don’t even really know what this is. I wrote parts of it for a creative writing piece last semester and the story line is pretty silly and the characterisation sort of stuff isn’t the best, but it gave me happy vibes to write/edit so I’m sticking with it. It was fun.

If there was anything as unskilled at crocheting, then Arlo sure was it. Now don’t get Gene wrong, Arlo is great at many things – take writing and astrophysics as examples. So how anyone, let alone his boyfriend, could manage to butcher basic stitches or mangle a test swatch was beyond Gene’s comprehension.
– “Hey baby.” Gene sits down next to Arlo, placing his hand on his partner’s back as Arlo determinedly hooks yarn. “I know you really want to give your sister a great present for the baby and all, but do you really need to make little clothes for it?”
– “Of course. I just think it’s much more special this way! My niece can have her own collection then.”
Gene curses those damned baby blue eyes that twinkle at him and immediately feels any protest that’s on the tip of his tongue crumble.
– “I think Chrissy’ll love it. Remember that picture of the beach she painted for our anniversary? I want to give her something more personal like that.”
– “Okay then…” Gene sighs, praying that everything would turn out fine.

But then Arlo starts to leave his hooks and scissors out on the couch and Gene is too exhausted after his twenty-four hour shift at the fire station to notice the impending doom he’s about to sit on. And then Arlo starts to forego some fun night activities because he wants to work on his chaining technique. And okay, so maybe Gene and Little Gene could survive that for a while even if their whining suggests otherwise.
Yet while Gene spends his weeks complaining about Arlo’s single-minded focus on crocheting, Arlo doesn’t seem to get much better at it. Sure his pieces are no longer littered with as many holes as they once were, but they’re still the ugliest creations Gene’s ever seen. And usually Gene’s a person who praises his partner for everything. He even thinks that Arlo is cute in the morning snoring with his mouth open, drool running down his chin and onto Gene’s chest. So some red flags start going off in Gene’s head.
And then Arlo starts to go to Gene’s mother for advice. So now Gene’s patience is wearing almost as thin as Arlo’s attempts at scarves are. It’s one of these evenings when they’re visiting Gene’s mother so that she could show Arlo how to slip stitch his yarn, because apparently Arlo still couldn’t even do that correctly, that Gene leaves them alone for two minutes to come back to his mother telling Arlo how he kept all of his plush toys until he was thirteen. Gene grits his teeth, feeling his jaw tense. But it’s okay. He’s comfortable enough with his masculinity to know that it’s fine if Arlo knows that deep, dark secret.
– “I think I actually have a photo of him crying when I finally threw them all out!” his mother yells in delight.
Gene smacks his head into the wall, wishing for a quick and merciful death.

Gene’s up on the ladder rescuing a kitten when it happens. He receives a call-out to an apartment, where a small fire has started. It’s at an apartment that he knows well…
– “What the absolute fuck Arlo?” Gene screeches as soon as he sees his boyfriend out on the street.
– Arlo hops from foot to foot, “I got… distracted.”
– “You got distracted? How the fuck can you get so distracted that you let our kitchen burn?” Gene yells.
– Arlo winces, “I-I’ll explain later. Can you please just put out the fire first?” He hides his face in his hands, burning red.
Right, their kitchen. He needs to save it. Still enraged, Gene curses the whole way as he stomps towards their apartment.
– When Gene then marches up to Arlo after the fire fiasco has been sorted out, Arlo immediately goes to hide his face in Gene’s neck before raising his arms up for a hug. He mumbles an almost inaudible, “I’m sorry.” Arlo whimpers, “I forgot about the stove when I was finishing up the sweater…”
– “Arlo, it’s been weeks. Don’t you think it’s time to give up the crocheting shit?”
– “I just wanted to give Chrissy something nice, you know? I thought it would be sweeter than just buying her something,” Arlo sniffles. “I didn’t think I’d be so bad at it.”
– “You did you’re best. No-one can take that away from you,” Gene says, hoping that Arlo will for once give up on something.
– Arlo grunts. It’s distorted by his runny nose, but he’s still reluctant to give up on his crocheting dreams. The stubborn shit.
 “If you don’t agree to stop, then I swear to God that I won’t buy you that hardback copy of Carrie for your birthday complete with those author notes,” Gene threatens.
– After some contemplation, Arlo finally replies, “I guess we can buy that cute little ensemble we saw the other day? The one with the cat whiskers on it?”
– “Yeah, that sounds good,” Gene agrees, running his fingers through Arlo’s hair and thanking every God he knew that Arlo was agreeing to stop with this ridiculous endeavour. Arlo didn’t even put up that much of a fight, so Gene thanks his lucky stars again. He doesn’t even mind that much that they’re going to have to fork out a ridiculous amount of money to fix their kitchen area. Instead he chooses to think about how happy Little Gene is going to be. Insurance should cover most of the damages anyway.

But that means that when Gene later sees a pair of disfigured, tiny, pink socks at the base of the gift bag he hands over to Christine… Well, in all honestly, he kind of expected it… He just huffs and rolls his eyes before leaning over to kiss the corner of Arlo’s mouth. This affirms Arlo that Gene still loves his boyfriend, even if said boyfriend can’t crochet for shit and they had to rebuild most of their kitchen because of him.