Here’s a slice of some fiction I am working on this week.
It was too intimate. Seeing him crouched there over the side of the tub, his lower back hair softly lining the top of his underwear, his face fixated on his toes, the clippers delicately held between his forefinger and thumb. He still had his socks on and for a revulsive second, she was reminded of her dad, standing on a Seattle street corner, the sun barreling down like a klieg light on his polyester plaid shorts, offset by dark cotton socks, pulled up, solidly standing in brown Oxford’s. She shook her head, coughed, and slipped back out of the bathroom door. He hadn’t wanted her to see that. She hadn’t wanted to see that.
If they could sleep together, why on earth couldn’t she see him clipping his toe nails? There was something so very wrong here. She felt like she should get dressed but where would she go? Outside, just as the pamphlet sweetly promised, were dense woods. It was supposed to be romantic. Instead, she felt like an ice pick was wedged in her esophagus and she was the sister to James Franco in 127 Hours only it wasn’t her arm that was trapped, it was her heart. It was tightly wedged between romance and the driving, pounding, jabbing, crushing, suffocating, smothering, insatiable, demanding need to get the fuck out of here. Her forefinger nervously circled her palm as she began working out her bets, hedging that her survival skills were pretty good–she was a survivalist right? Yes, yes she was. But now the light was low, would she be able to make out to the road before dark? And what then? Oh my god she whispered out loud.
She told herself everything was fine. Fine.
Hitchhike? That’s not a big deal, people still hitchhike, likely there were friendly hippie-types around here, happy to pick up a hitchhiker. She looked down at her palm in alarm–it was wet, what? oh god, it was sweat–she was sweating, something that only happened right before she was going to faint.
Sit down. Just sit. Down. For Christ sakes. Take stock. Think quickly. Rationally. To the point. She slowed her breathing, sat down, and put her hands on the wide arms of the wanna-be Adirondack chairs, sliding her wet palms back and forth. This is the type of moment Ativan was created for. What could she tell him? There’s an emergency. What kind? With a girlfriend? What girlfriend doesn’t have another friend to call? No. No. No. That won’t work. Okay, stop, what was she complaining about? This place is great. It’s awesome. Now the voice of her friend Sean beamed in like a scene from Star Trek: “It is awesome. You are a psycho. You choose the wrong guys on purpose. You have committment issues.” She fucking did not.
She just didn’t like the forest. She wanted great, wide, swaths of cement. And lights. And traffic. Yes, lots and lots of traffic. Taxis. She could call a taxi! And then leave a note, yes, that would totally work. A quote from Woody Allen suddenly popped into her mind, I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy myself, but I didn’t. Brutal. This was only 7 hours, not 127 Hours; she wasn’t a survivor after all. With a furtive eye on the bathroom, she grabbed her phone. She was really doing this.