We Need To Talk

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


A Short story written for India Emerald's latest Flash Fiction writing challenge.

Submitted: October 19, 2017

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Submitted: October 19, 2017

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We Need To Talk

 

It had been a tragic accident, the one that had taken Sarah from us. One minute she was safely strapped in her buggy; the next, she had slipped off her straps, slithered out and fell off the cliff edge to her death. Two years old and she was gone!

 

We ranted. We wailed at the unfairness. We grieved. But sooner or later, life had to resume. Becky and I had to try to find some sort of normality, some kind of routine.

 

I plunged myself into my work. It consumed me; achievement, advancement, anything to occupy my mind. I went home late more and more often but it really was because I was working late and not because of any after-work affair.

 

That was my way of trying to cope but Becky’s was entirely different. She went in to a deep depression, barely talking, hardly eating, rarely getting out of bed. Then one day, totally out of the blue, she got up, fired up her computer and started to browse on line. Browsing was fine, but when she started spending, ordering one thing after another, it became a different matter.

 

To start with it was small things; cheap items that caught her eye. An unusual cushion, an ornament, a few of those ‘coffee-table’ books, even a couple of clocks that we definitely did not need. But then she became attracted to more expensive things and while the bank account dwindled, the house got fuller and fuller. “Becky, we need to talk,” I’d say, but then she would turn to look at me with her haunted eyes and I couldn’t bring myself to say, ‘you’ve got to stop spending.’

 

There was a vacancy coming up at work. It would be a significant step up the career ladder if I could just make that position mine. I worked extra hours, I worked three times as hard, and I made sure that I wined and dined all the right people.

 

The problem, of course, was that it was a vicious circle. The more hours I worked, the more Becky spent. And as the bank balance got lower and lower the promotion became more and more essential.

 

I’d do it, though. I’d get that job!

 

And then the announcement came and it was not me that was getting a new office, or a secretary. It was not me that was going to get that much needed pay rise.

 

The credit card bill arrived and I couldn’t believe it. The numbers were just too high to make sense. Things would have to be returned; orders would have to be cancelled. If not, we’d find ourselves out on the street, no roof over our heads and not a cent to our name.

 

Becky,” I said, “we need to talk.” And this time I said what had to be said. I held her while she sobbed and shouted; while she swore at me and called me a failure. I held her tight while she cried and cried.

 

Tomorrow I’ll take the day off, take Becky to see her doctor, just like I should have done months ago. But tonight – tonight we will confront our grief together.

 


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