Thursday, April 21, 2016

Torture

         She was stuck. Wedged between the sofa and the damn end table that he insisted jamming into the corner of the room, where there wasn’t room. “The space is too small,” she’d said.

“I can make it fit,” he said. His attitude about everything. Making it fit. Making it work. Making do. So he’d pushed the table into the corner and then wedged the sofa, their new, just purchased, just delivered, after three months on Layaway, rose-colored sofa with tendrils of green laced around each pillow, wedged that exquisite new sofa into the table and caught the other side in the door frame.

“That baby’s not going anywhere now,” he had said and stepped back to admire his work.

She'd pointed out that the fit was so tight that one leg of the sofa floated an inch above the carpet. He said it would settle—which it did in only a month or so. Her weight alone wouldn’t “settle” it and, those first months, every time she sat down, she felt the slow lowering, like a tire going flat.

So, now, a year later, the sofa was in there, not going anywhere as he had said and, now, neither was she.

She’d sat there after her bath, to put her watch back on, the earrings and the bracelet. It was the bracelet, the gold chain bracelet, 24 carat gold, not 18, but 24!—that got away. She didn’t notice that she had missed the clasp entirely and when she moved her arm, it slid off, between the sofa and the end table.

Which caught it. When she stuck her finger down to pull up the bracelet, she made a hole in the seal between sofa and table that was just enough for the bracelet to slip through. Gone.

She should have looked under the table first, or tried to pull out the sofa or waited for him to come home. She did none of those things. She thrust her arm between sofa and table, thrust it like an arrow that flew true—she could feel the bracelet with her fingers which were now numb. Soon she wouldn’t feel anything.

    She'd spent a few futile moments trying to drag the arm out, but her elbow caught, and she was stuck. Really stuck. 

The minutes passed. She remembered the guy wedged in a Colorado canyon who hacked off his arm. “Well, I don’t have a knife,” she said. She tried to lie down with her head on the table and torso on the sofa. Couldn’t get comfortable.

That’s how he found her, hours later, sprawled between the sofa and the table, talking to herself, complaining, crying.

“What’s for dinner?” he said as he walked past her to the kitchen.

That’s when her thinking switched from how to extricate her arm to executing his slow, protracted, exquisite torture.


© 2016 Kathleen Coskran

2 comments:

  1. Kathy, I'm glad to be reading your short stories again. Thank you for this pleasure.

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  2. Wow! I love your stories! I have to tell you, though, that sometimes the header of your e-mail when you are sending a story gives me a moment of deep pause . . . before I realize.

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