Posts Tagged ‘Brock’
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
Brock loaded forty-fives onto either side of the barbell and laid back down on the bench.
“You wanna spot?”
He looked up and saw Mason leaning over him.
The weight was more than he usually lifted, but he needed the challenge. The adrenaline.
He gripped the rough metal bar and pushed, his breath coming out in a small grunt. His triceps strained and his pecs contracted before he lowered the bar back down to his chest – and pushed it up again. It was heavy, he could feel sweat beading on his forehead. And by his eighth rep, he needed Mason to give him a little boost to squeeze out a few more.
Then he dropped the bar back into the holder with a bang and sat up, wiping the sweat with one of the worn white towels the gym handed out. He sat there for a moment, the towel covering his face, an elbow on his knee.
“Dude,” Mason said. “Everything okay?”
Brock met Mason at the gym a couple years before, and they’d bonded between sets over their mutual love of the Dodgers, college football and Guinness. Mason was a police officer, in his late 30s, and divorced. He got his kids every other weekend and it killed him not to be with them more.
They’d go out and grab a beer and shoot pool after the gym every few weeks.
The place they went was quiet. A couple men sat at the bar, sipping beer and crunching on peanuts as they watched the end of the Cavs game. The lone pool table was taken. Mason went up to the bar and returned with a pitcher and two frosted glasses, joining Brock at a small wooden table.
They each drank their first glass in silence, glancing up at the remaining minutes of the game.
“How’s the wife?”
Mason didn’t mess around, got right to the point. Most of the time, Brock liked that. Tonight it made him uncomfortable.
“She’s, um, I don’t know,” Brock said, shoving a hand through his thick dark hair.
The lone waitress ambled over and plunked a bowl of pretzels on the table between them, winked at Mason, and sidled back to the bar.
Mason watched her ass as she went.
Then he turned back to Brock.
“Yeah? What’s that mean?”
“She’s been, uh, drinking. A lot. It’s like suddenly she’s unhappy and she needs to drink to make her feel better. Thing is, she won’t talk to me. About anything. We had it out the other night and it got kinda ugly.”
“She okay with your kid?”
“Yeah, she’s drinking at night, after he goes to bed. She’s great with him. She’s great. It’s me, she’s… Fuck. I don’t know.”
Mason poured him another glass.
“I just want her to talk to me, to tell me what’s going on, but she’s so goddamn angry. She’s shut me out and I can’t reach her. The more I try, the more pissed off she gets. She thinks I feel sorry for her. That I have a need to fix her or some bullshit like that.”
“Do you?” Mason asked, popping a pretzel into his mouth.
Brock tilted back his chair and linked his fingers behind his head.
“No. Maybe. I don’t know. I want her to stop drinking. I want her to stop trying to push me away. I want us to be happy except I don’t know what she wants anymore.”
He leaned forward, the legs of the chair thumping on the old wooden floor. He put his hands around his glass and gazed into his beer.
“I love her. But I get tired, you know? I get tired.”
This is a work of fiction based on the The Red Dress Club prompt “What does your character want?” You can read about the fight between Brock and Skye here.
Friday, May 27th, 2011
This is a piece of fiction inspired by the prompt “Write a story beginning with ‘This was absolutely the last time’ and ending with ‘She was wrong’ for The Red Dress Club. It is an excerpt from my Nano novel. You can read about Skye’s further descent here.
This was absolutely the last time.
That’s what I said as I emptied the last of the wine into my glass.
“It’s just that it’s been really hard today, with Gage teething and the washing machine dying and then you working late…”
Brock leaned against the counter and watched as I left the kitchen. I walked carefully and hoped he didn’t see me weave a little on my way to the couch.
“Skye,” he said.
I looked up and then quickly away. He sat down next to me and took my hand.
“I”m sorry, Skye. About the other night. I’m just…worried about you.”
“Baby, I see the empty wine bottles. You don’t think I know how much you’re drinking?”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having some wine after dinner.”
“You’re right. But two bottles a night seems like a lot.”
“You know what? Fuck you, Brock. You go to work all day and I stay home and take care of Gage. I love him, I love being his mother, but did it ever occur to you that I need more? I’m bored out of my fucking skull!”
I leapt up and went into the kitchen. I grabbed another bottle off the counter, quickly opened it and poured myself a glass.
I heard Brock come in and stand behind me as I gulped it down. I was breathless and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand.
“Is this your next strategy, Skye? Is it? To drive me away? It’s not the most creative thing. I mean, it’s cliche, right? The only normal grandchild of the town drunk couldn’t overcome her roots and ends up wasted and alone.”
The sarcasm in his voice stung. I turned to face him.
“That’s right, Brock. I’m just a big cliche. And what about you? Former football star boy scout tries to Henry Higgins small-town girl?”
We’d never spoken like this to each other. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. I felt my face get hot. I poured another glass. The blood-red wine sloshed as my hands shook.
“You think you’re better than everyone here, don’t you. It must be hilarious for you to live here and see how small-town we really are. It must be cute to be married into the family of the town drunks, with the wife-beater patriarch, and then you get to feel that much more superior. You just smile and everyone falls over themselves trying to please you. It must be nice.”
I toasted him and drained my glass. I felt powerful. I knew I was hurting him and suddenly I was glad.
“Is that what you think, Skye?” he said quietly, his silvery-blue eyes unreadable.
And just like that, I was deflated. I was all tangled up inside and I didn’t know how to get free.
I lifted my chin.
“Well, I wanted honesty. So thank you for that.”
He went back into our bedroom and reappeared a few moments later in shorts and a sweatshirt.
“I’m going for a run. I need some air.”
I poured myself another glass as the door shut behind him.
I told myself I could stop drinking whenever I wanted to.
That woman, peering back at me from the reflection in the window over the sink?
She was wrong.
Friday, April 22nd, 2011
I can’t do this anymore.
I tried to stay away from you.
But I knew you were there. And I was lonely.
I thought I needed you.
At first, I had this whole thing under control. We’d meet, briefly, usually in the late afternoon. You seduced me with your promises.
Left no trail of your visit.
But soon I needed more of you.
It got really tough to hide our relationship. I tried. I did, but my husband is not stupid.
He asked me right out if I was with you. And I lied. To Brock. Who I thought I loved way more than you.
The truth was, I wasn’t ready to break it off. You were what I thought about. Even when I was with Brock, when I listened to the steady beat of his heart under my cheek, I wondered when you and I could be together again. I couldn’t wait for Brock to leave in the morning so we could be alone.
Only we’re never alone. Are we.
I hear you calling to me, your song louder and brasher than my baby’s sweet chatter.
You want me to yourself.
You want to wrap me in your darkness.
You demand I give up everything for you – my husband, my son, me.
I don’t know who I am anymore when I’m with you. What used to make me happy?
I can’t do this anymore.
I want my life back. I want to stop hiding.
I need my little boy and I feel him drifting away from me, a brightly-colored sailboat in a cold grey ocean.
I’m done. I’m done.
Just once more.
Then I’m done.
This post is a work of fiction. It is a written from the perspective of Skye, and was inspired by the prompt, “Write a letter to your darkest fear,” for The Red Dress Club. It is about her battle with alcoholism.
Friday, April 8th, 2011
Gage sang in his crib.
I didn’t know the words, or the melody, but I could tell by the way his voice rose and fell it was a happy song.
He was awake. Confident I would soon come get him.
But he was wrong. I sat on the couch and took another swig of my vodka bottle. It wasn’t done yet and I needed to finish it before Brock got home so I could bury it at the bottom of the trash container out in the side yard.
It used to be wine. Brock and I’d have a glass with dinner, maybe another in front of the TV. Then I couldn’t wait. After a full day of chasing Gage – changing diapers, making his food, picking up, doing laundry, trying to get him to nap – it was all I could do to even make it til 5 some days. I’d watch that clock, and by the time Brock got home at 5:30, I’d already had a glass. Or two.
I figured out vodka was easier. I could drop it into my orange juice in the morning after Brock left. And I didn’t want the smell of wine on my breath when he got home and kissed me hello. Vodka was easier to hide.
Gage was impatient, now. I should have already gone in there, seen his delighted smile and outstretched arms. He should be in his highchair, eating grapes and cheese while I considered what to make for dinner.
Or maybe we’d take his snack outside and sit on the front steps and wait for Brock to come walking down the sidewalk. He got such a charge when his little boy ran in that uneven toddler way, like he was going to face-plant at any moment, across the grass to greet him. It was our favorite time of day, especially now with the warmer weather.
A few more swallows. The liquid burned the back of my throat. I stood up and grabbed the back of the couch to steady myself. Shit. I forgot to eat lunch and I was actually drunk. I carefully walked to the kitchen and opened the side door and disposed of the bottle under a huge pile of newspapers.
“Mama! Mama! Maaaa-maaaaaaa!”
Gage was crying now. I wished he’d just climb out of his crib already.
I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and made it to my bathroom to brush my teeth. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair was badly in need of washing. When was the last time I showered? I put both hands on the sink and leaned in, studying the purple half-moons under my eyes, the brows that were in desperate need of a wax.
I was ugly. So ugly. I had no idea how Brock could even look at me. How he could touch me.
I turned away and went down the hall to Gage’s room and pushed open the door.
“Mama!” he hiccuped.
His face was covered in snot and he clung to his little stuffed dog.
And still he managed a smile for me.
What the hell was wrong with me? I had to stop. I would stop.
I would try.
I leaned in and picked him up and held him, swaying back and forth as he snuffled and then quieted, burrowing his face in my neck.
I inhaled his sleepy baby scent.
“Mama’s here,” I whispered.
But I wasn’t. Not really. The vodka had made sure of that.
This post is fiction and is based on the prompt, “A treasure was stolen from your character. What do they do to get it back?” from The Red Dress Club. It is part of my NaNo story about Skye and Brock. Read more about them here, here and here.
Friday, December 17th, 2010
One last Nano excerpt. This is when Skye is in rehab. The scene is in response to the prompt “Tradition” for the Red Dress Club.
I wanted to be there for Christmas.
I wanted to watch Gage to come downstairs in the morning to stare in wonder at all the packages under the tree that Santa brought. Even though he wasn’t old enough to understand it, he was definitely big enough to rip through brighty-colored wrapping.
The tree was always huge, easily 15 feet. Anna decorated it all in white lights and cream ribbon and gold and glass ornaments. Then she had a smaller tree with all the clay and popsicle stick and cotton ball ornaments Brock made as a child. (more…)