|Friendship (week 21)
||[Mar. 4th, 2009|07:34 pm]
Sorry I'm late! I just finished this today so I thought I'd sneak it in at the last minute, before I start figuring out which prompt to use for week 22!|
Rating: Suitable for anyone I think
Prompt used: "Those goofy bastards are about the best thing I've got going."
Feedback: Any!I haven't written a short piece in about a year
He was doing that thing. She knew he would. That thing where he resonated with anger and sucked the relaxed vibes out of the air into his vortex of disapproval. Other diners were noticing too, shooting them sidelong glances. Roberta stared down at her arty pink and purple striped nails, fiddled with the bracelet Shawn had given her. It was just a few coloured threads plaited together, with a little shamrock hanging from it. “get lucky ... be Irish” he’d grinned when he gave it to her.
“You’re not even listening to me!” her Dad barked.
“Sure I am.” Stubbornness battled with fear for mastery of her 17-year-old face, and won. “You want me to come home and live with you and Mom and spend the rest of my life being a good little housewife to some local hick.”
“Now, baby. You belong at home.”
He tried to reach for her hand and she jumped back, making a few drops of her latte splatter on the gingham table cover. He clenched his fists, putting his hand on the table with a bit too much force. That was his answer to everything. Raise his voice, break a few things, make a big show. Bluster and rage till he got what he wanted.
“You can’t tell me you’re happy in that place. Your sister said you don’t even have carpets!”
That much was true. The east side apartment was pretty threadbare, but Roberta loved it. Sure, her room was freezing, especially on the snowy days they’d been having since the fall term ended, but it had enough room for her books, sketchpads and the scrappy little stray kitten she knew she really shouldn’t have smuggled in. And her flatmates – Shawn, Vicky, Lance and Regina – were among the best people she’d ever met. Every night they hung out in the chilly living room, huddled round the old gas fire, smoking and sharing cheap one-pan meals filled out with bulk-bought rice and talking about everything. Subjects Roberta had never even thought about, back home in her safe little white-picket-fenced bubble. Do we exist because we think, or think because we exist? What makes art, art? The merits of espresso versus macchiato and whether coffee tastes better from porcelain or those fancy glasses they give you in the homely local diner.
“Well, I am.” She set her glass down with more defiance than she felt, and looked him in the eye, trying not to flinch at the expression that clearly said she was a silly little girl.
“Living hand-to-mouth, pretending you’ve got a chance of graduating art college? Living in a hovel with a bunch of kids, a rag-tag gang of goofy bastards? Naive little girl!”
Roberta cast around for something to distract her. She’d been here before. The ending was familiar to her. She’d try to convince him, try to sound adult, and then start shrinking under the battery of insults until she ended up trailing home after him like a scolded puppy. Silence in the car, her Mom’s disapproving but indulgent glance. She couldn’t fact that again.
Then she saw them. Shawn and Regina, waiting for her outside. Regina had fogged up the window with her breath and drawn a huge swirly heart with Roberta’s initials in it, much to the disgust of the old ladies sitting at the window table. Shawn, trying to ruffle his hair enough to get the snow out of it, tall and awkwardly graceful. Before she even knew she was going to do it, Roberta was on her feet, surprised at the confidence in her own voice as she drew her slight frame up to its best height.
“Yeah well, you know something Dad? Those goofy bastards are about the best thing I’ve got going.”
She didn’t even look back as the door jangled behind her and the three of them headed off, threadbare, rag-tag and full of lively promise, into the chilly winter night.