Fifteen-Minute Story

It occurred to me that I don’t actually have any fiction writing posted on this blog. I think it’s time to change that. Here’s something short I typed in fifteen minutes. It’s unedited. Take a look and let me know what you think.

If anyone can recommend a good writing prompt web site, let me know. Shorts like these may become a regular thing.

I close the bathroom door and breathe a sigh of relief. A sigh that I immediately regret, because the stench of the previous occupant still hangs high. But, at the very least, no one else is here, and I can have a few precious moments of alone time.

There’s an irony to the fact that one of the few places you can truly be alone in this world is a bathroom stall.

I go to a stall and slam the door harder than I need to, the door bouncing back and almost smacking me on the back. Down go the pants, out comes the cell phone. I don’t need to shit–I just can’t deal with my boss anymore. I take another deep breath, and open the cell phone.

One new text message.

Lovely.

I open it without thinking, and my heart skips a beat at the contact. Josie. My daughter. My hands shouldn’t be shaking, but I find it almost impossible to hit the “Open” button on the touch screen. After the second try, I manage it, and open the message. It contains two words:

“Miss you.”

My heart bounces up to my throat and lodges in there. How long has it been since I’ve seen my little girl? Months, probably. And it’s not my fault. My bitch ex-wife Jackie took Josie away from me, and now we can only see each other when the courts say we can. Most of the time it’s even longer than that. Jackie makes sure of it.

I force my hands to stop trembling, and bring my fingers to the keyboard. I type out a short reply.

“Miss you too.”

I want to send it. My finger hovers over the send key. But I can’t press it. I can’t send the lie to her. If I had truly missed her, surely I would never have let months go by without us seeing each other. It’s easy to put the blame on my wife, it’s easy to say that I was too busy at work or too tired or just not in the mood to see Jackie. It’s so easy to shift the blame away from me, so easy to get to sleep at night.

I can’t lie to my daughter anymore. I can’t have my words say one thing and my actions say another. I go to close the phone.

My finger slips. It hits the Send key.

For a moment, I stop, staring at my phone. Then, another message comes in.

“:)”

I don’t know why tears flood to my eyes. I don’t know why I don’t dry them. But, I do know what I need to do.

I get up from the toilet, pull my pants up, and march out of the stall. I’m taking the rest of the day off. No more lies, I told myself.

I meant it.

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