Stay-at-home

Cup, glass, shadow, North Vancouver © Tanya Clarke 2018

Cup, glass, shadow, North Vancouver © Tanya Clarke 2018

Writing Prompt No. 10

“What do you do all day alone at home. No kids.”

Steven scans the face of her looking for clues. Is she simply interested? Pissed off? Sad? He comes up with nothing. He mutters something about ‘important work’, ‘being there’, ‘taking care’, ‘painting his nails’. Did she get his sarcasm? None of it rang really true. Everything sounds like an excuse; a desperate list of things of identification so he could be placed in a box and kept there.

“It’s so unusual. The man at home. The woman at work.” The woman continues to talk. A friend meanders up. Steven loathes school pick-up.

“Hi.” she says.

“Hi.” he says.

“You running the marathon this year?” she asks.

“Yeah. Wanting to. Need to get training.”

“You have plenty of time!” Woman No.1 laughs. He can’t remember her name. Why can he never remember anyone’s name?

“How’s the book coming along?” asks Woman No.2.

“Oh, you know, slowly.” he says

“What’s it about?” asks Woman No.1.

“Dogs.” says Steven. He looks around hoping to see his son’s face in the throng of kids now heading out of school.

“There he is.” he says to himself. “See you later,” he says to Woman No.1 and Woman No.2. “Nice to chat.” he says as he walks away.

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