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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Isobel Smith

CROWBAR

In which Autumn Isobel Smith procrastinated all week and had to use an old story for today's post.

 

I don't have much to say today. I'm too excited and nervous about the open mic night happening with my writing group. I always read my works aloud to my husband so that they flow well, but I've never done it before a real audience, let alone an audience of fellow writers. It's nerve-wracking to be sure. I also procrastinated all week on writing, both for this blog and the open mic. I got distracted building settlements in Fallout 4. I ended up using one of my older stories for my post today, and will use a different old story for the open mic. Good thing I have so much random writing sitting around collecting proverbial dust. I thought I had outgrown my chronic procrastinitis after high school, but apparently not. So wish me luck today and please enjoy the short story below!

 


 

CROWBAR


He never saw it coming.

Neither did I, if I was being honest. The day Della waltzed into Nathan’s little hobby shop was life-changing for all three of us. She swept inside on that summer day, her sun dress blowing delicately in the warm breeze. Watching her walk was one of my favorite pastimes, you know. Legs up to the sky and hips swaying with every step. And that ass. Need I say more?

She was especially cute with the beaded leather sandals she wore. It gave her a carefree look, perfect for a day at the beach, which was where we were headed before she saw the sign for the hobby shop. She made a beeline for it. How could I be surprised? She loved her crafts. Her current fixation was something with yarn. Knitting, maybe. I don’t know what all that stuff is called. Me, I’m a simple construction worker. I like being outside, working with my hands, tools, that sort of thing.

So, Della went into the hobby shop with an eager little smile that melted my heart. I followed her, of course. That seemed to be our way: she led, I followed. She flitted from shelf to shelf, examining everything. I had a feeling she would be coming home with a new project.

“Can I help you find anything?” A tall man with curtains of wavy brown hair appeared from around a corner.

She looked at him from beneath those fluttering, dark lashes. I wasn’t worried then. She looked at everyone that way. It was hardly her fault that she oozed seduction from every pore. “Yes, actually!” she said. Her voice, oh her voice, so bright and full of life. She told him what she needed, and soon, they were in a deep discussion about paints, or colors, I didn’t really catch it. See, I was too busy noticing how he was looking at her.

I couldn’t blame him, not really. She’s a knockout. But surely this guy could see she was with someone. I was standing right there, silent but present. I stood tall and puffed out my chest a little, but his eyes never left hers.

I was pissed. They talked for ages. It had to be at least thirty minutes by the time Della was ready to pay and leave. The man, Nathan, slipped his business card into her bag. I don’t know if she saw it, but I definitely did.

We left the shop and continued our stroll along the beach. The rest of the day was a good one, but something nagged at the back of my mind the whole time. Back then, I didn’t know what it was. Now, though… now I know.

Nathan’s Hobby Shop had opened at the beginning of the summer, which is why we had never been in there before. Della knows every craft store in a fifty mile radius, after all. It became one of her regular hangouts that summer. Sometimes I tagged along, but that usually left me standing there with my hands in my pockets while Della and Nathan talked. Soon, their talks started to focus less on crafting and more on life in general.

She was delighted to have made a friend. Not me. I liked our quiet life, just the two of us. Other people just made things complicated. We had moved to the coast to escape one such situation back in the city. Still, I could not fault her for wanting a friend, although it killed me inside to know I wasn’t enough for her. What did he have that I didn’t? What was she getting from him that I could not also give her?

As the summer died and the winds from the ocean turned cool and biting, so did our relationship. My Della, my sunny, perfect Della, began to withdraw from me. She shrank from my embrace, pulled away at my touch, and her eyes, so gloriously green, held secrets in their depths. I thought I knew what those secrets were.

Hanging out at the hobby shop turned into going out for coffee, hitting up the drive-in theater, even walks on the beach with Nathan. That was where I had to put my foot down. Walks on the beach were our thing.

That fight was the worst we ever had. We stood across from each other in our bedroom, screaming. She was so beautiful in her anger. It made me want to hold her and never let go. But when I reached for her, to try and bring an end to our fight, she took off her ring and hurled it at me. It bounced off the floor and rolled to a stop beneath the bed.

“It’s over,” she said, her hands balled into tiny fists. “I can’t do this anymore, David. You took me away from everything I knew and brought me out here, but it’s the same thing all over again! You can’t stand that I need people in my life aside from you!”

She was right. Of course she was. She was so perfect, with her eyes flashing like summer heat lightning. Electrifying. But we would get through this. We had to. “Baby,” I said. “I can change. Anything for you.”

But she shook her head, her eyes somehow dry. “I’m finished, David. Have a good life.” Then, she walked out the door.

The first few days, I was in denial. I was sure that she would come crawling back in tears. I would hold her while she cried, tell her everything would be okay. I longed for the touch of her silky skin, the brush of her dark hair whispering across mine.

After a week, denial slowly changed to fury. What had I done to make her leave? I was devoted to her in every way. I worked to support her. I did everything I could to make her happy with me. This is how she repaid me? By leaving? No, there had to be something more. I racked my brain, trying to think of anything that had happened that may have been the catalyst. My thoughts kept leading back to one place: Nathan’s Hobby Shop.

And so, I knew what I had to do. I gathered up my gear and walked through our sleepy little town until I reached the street leading down to the beach. The sign for the hobby shop waved lazily in the wind. I pushed open the door and looked around. It was exactly the same as I remembered. I half-expected Della to appear from behind the shelves with an armful of crafting supplies, but the store was empty except for the man scribbling something down at the counter. Nathan.

He heard me as I approached, looking up from whatever he was working on. “Oh hey,” he said. “How’s Della been? I haven’t-”

“You took away the only thing I ever loved,” I said. He had to know what he had done, that the ache in my soul that would not heal was his fault. I raised the crowbar I had brought with me from the house. It was old and rusted, but that was okay. It would serve a purpose.

He never saw it coming.


 











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