He loves me, he loves me not…

By Vita Forest

This week I am trying something new.  I’m participating in a blogging event for The Creativity Carnival.  Shafali provides one of her artworks as a cue and bloggers respond however they like.  Here is this week’s artwork and here is a short piece of fiction in response.  Hope you enjoy…

Creativity Carnival: Handcuffs

Handcuffs - A pen and ink drawing for the Creativity Carnival Edition 6.

See, he does love her.  He brought her roses.  Who needs words when the florist is happy, he is happy, her friends are happy?

“Oh!” they coo, “You two are so sweet!”

He brandishes them in front of her like a dare.  A dozen red roses wrapped in the softest blue tissue paper.  Her friends perch on bar stools and sip cold dry wine that fogs the glasses that cradle it.  And praise him.

While she can only think, “Now I have to find a vase…”

He knew they would be there.  He knew they would forgive him for her.  But perhaps forgive is too strong a word.

Adjust.

Adjust to the new normal.  Because, come on, – what does she really have to complain about?

Beautiful home.  The best restaurants.  The best holidays.  Trips to the snow, the reef, the opera.  Who wouldn’t want it?

She folds herself into ever more complicated shapes.  She twists her head around so that she can look the other way.  She makes herself smaller and smaller, breaking the bones in her toes so she can fit inside this tiny jeweled box.  She stops breathing to take up less room.  She lets go of her own hand and casts herself adrift.  What if?  She forgives.  She cries alone.  She does not tell anyone.

A shriek of raucous laughter brings her back.  He leans over casually and refills the glasses, adding just the right anecdote, just the right amount of fizz.

She slides a stalk from the bunch and peers into the severed end, into the tiny circle of its inner core.  It’s edged with green, golden inside.  Golden.

“What?!”

Her friends turn in astonishment.  Shock on their faces.  His face is impassive but deadly.  She knows that look.  They watch as she clenches the stalk tighter and tighter.  White knuckle grip.  Her own blood dripping onto the floor.

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