Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Fourth Installment

I was feeling pretty tired today, but I managed to pump this one out before I have to go to work in a while. Hope yooz likes eeeet...


Zoe Beardsley unlocked the door to her apartment, and walked inside to see her boyfriend sitting on the couch playing video games, and still in his brown UPS uniform.

“Hey Matt,” she said as she took off her shoes by the door.

“Hey babe,” he said quickly, not taking his eyes off of the TV. Zoe went into the adjoining kitchen, set her purse on the table, and started looking in the fridge for something to eat.

“How was work?” She hollered to him in a muffle while she leaned in to search for leftovers.

“Fine,” he said blankly. She could hear his fingers pressing the buttons on the controller.

She pulled out a Tupperware container with some pasta in it, and popped it in the microwave on the counter after removing the lid. She set it for a minute, and walked back into the living room.

“So,” she said slowly, “whatcha been up to all night?”

“Just playin’ some video games, babe.”

“Yeah, I can see that… Did you eat dinner?”

“Yeah, I went to the bar after work. Got a burger.”

“You went to the bar?”

“Yeah, with some guys from work. No big deal. You had your class anyways.” His face contorted as the character in his video game got slashed with a sword.

“Yeah,” Zoe said, rolling her eyes. “My test went well, by the way…”

“Oh yeah,” he said casually through another contortion. “That went well then?”

“Yup,” she said through a long sigh. “So glad you remembered…” And she collapsed down onto the couch next to him.

“Sorry babe, I just had a busy day.”

Zoe noticed that most of the light in the room was coming from his video game, since by now the sun had mostly set. She stood back up to go flip on the switch and said, “Yeah, I can see just how busy you are there…”

“Dammit, Zoe,” he threw the controller down on the coffee table in front of him as his character died. “I drive around in a truck all friggin’ day delivering packages to people, walking up and down all kinds of stairs, lifting heavy shit… Am I not allowed to relax at least a little bit when I come home?” He stood up from the couch to face her, just as the lights came on.

“Of course, Matt. That’s not what I meant…”

“Well, what did you mean then?” He stood on the other side of the couch from her with his arms crossed.

“I meant that it would be nice to have you pay a little attention to me, and maybe even look at me when I walk in the door.”

“Well I’m sorry,” he started to say, but she cut him off and raised her tone.

“It also might be nice for you to remember when I have one of the most important tests in my entire graduate program, and have enough sense to ask me how it went!”

“Excuse me!” Matt threw his arms above his head. “But who’s the one working overtime so that we can afford to have you go back to school?!”

“Well who’s the one who works a full time job, goes to class in the evenings, does her homework and studies for her own tests in between grading the ones she gives her students!”

“Big deal!” He shouted. “So you have to make sure they only spelled ‘cat’ with one ‘t’ instead of two… Jesus, Zoe…”

“Oh? So now you’re going to belittle what I do for a living? Even though you know I love it?

“Come on, babe…”

“No,” she shook her head. “Don’t ‘come on, babe’ me… I teach little kids how to read their first book! How to add numbers together for the first time! You’re a delivery man! At least what I do matters!”

“Hey,” he said with a mocking shrug of his shoulders, “if the textbooks didn’t get DELIVERED to the school, how would you teach those kids a damn thing?”

“Ugh!” She stomped her feet on the floor. “Well if no one would have taught you how to read, how would you know where to deliver your packages?”

“Okay, this is ridiculous, Zoe… I’m sorry. Yes, I forgot about your test. Yes, I was playing video games. No, I am not perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be…”

“I know you’re working overtime to help me out, Matt, but the reason I’m going back to school in the first place is so I can make more money, and we can BUY a place instead of throwing away our paychecks renting this place year after year…”

“And I know that, babe… And I really am sorry.” They were quieting down now. “I think we’re both pulling some extra weight right now, and we’re both stressed, but we gotta learn how to deal with it. Okay?”

She nodded, but had a sad look on her face. “You know I don’t really think your job doesn’t matter, right?”

“I know,” he smiled. “Just like you know that I think teaching kids how to read and spell is incredibly noble… And how I admire the way you love your career.” He walked around the couch and crossed the room to stand in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” she said as he started to run his hands up and down her arms, then rub her shoulders.

“Me too,” he told her, and they stood there in silence for a moment until they smiled at each other. “So your test went well then?”

“Yeah,” she grinned. “Think I aced it.”

“That’s my girl,” he said. “Now, what do you say we go finish heating up whatever it was you put in the microwave before we got mad at each other?”

“It was the pasta from the other night,” she laughed.

Matt rubbed her shoulders two more times before they walked into the kitchen. He turned the microwave back on for a minute, while Zoe moved her purse off of their little table so there would be room for both of them to sit.


Cheers! More tomorrow!

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