writing exercise #4

Tonight’s assignment was to “reconstruct” a fight. I ended up with this (“this” being a rough first draft!):

She shoved him off the barstool. “Jerk.”

“What?” he asked, catching his balance as beer sloshed over the side of his glass.

“Why do all our fights take place in the bar?” she responded. She slid a finger down the stem of her half-full martini glass.

“Because you always want to go drinking?”

“Right. My fault. Again.” She turned away, lifted the glass, tipped the gin-and-vermouth into her mouth. She closed her eyes, remembering.

***

They were alone. For the first time since the ceremony. The reception had unfolded as planned. The DJ played the hard rock they’d requested, no chicken dancing allowed. Sure, they’d had to round up a couple bridesmaids getting high in the parking lot with the best man, but, overall, a great party. Now she stood in her corset and stockings, waiting for him to make love to her – not for the first time, but for the first time as her husband. Cool air breezed in through the open balcony door. He stood outside, hollering down to their friends. She lifted an arm, jasmine-scented skin glowing, and waved. “Um, babe? Coming in?”

He strode back into the room. “They’re all going over to the bar.”

“Yeah, and?” She tensed.

“Well, they want to hang out with us. They came all this way.”

She bit her tongue. Literally. She wanted to taste blood, but lacked the heart to go through with it.

“Fine.” She dressed.

***

The backyard needed work. Whenever she stepped outside, mosquitos lighted on her skin, her clothes, restless in their quest for blood. No amount of repellent helped. So she gave up, stepped back inside, poured herself a dry Chardonnay.

“Did you notice I trimmed the hedge?” he asked.

“I didn’t,” she confessed. “I was distracted by the dying rhododendron. It needs more light. And the jasmine is out of control.”

“You only see the negative,” he complained.

“I see what’s there.” She shrugged.

“I don’t know why I bother,” he said.

She shrugged again. He turned back to the stove, simmering as he stirred the soup. Garlic and onions permeated the kitchen. “You’re such a bitch,” he muttered, adding salt, more salt, she was sure, than was necessary.

***

“Another?” the bartender asked.

“Sure,” she said.

“I’m fine,” he answered.

They looked at each other. She tried hard to hold his gaze – I hate you, she thought. Hate you hate you hate you. She looked away. “You win,” she said.

“It never feels like winning,” he answered.

She shrugged. Turned toward the window. Outside, a sheet of rain fell, illuminated by the sun behind. Surely there must be a rainbow somewhere.

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