Long Distance Relationships

I stood in the doorway and stared at the woman who stood by the oven. Her hair was held in a causal pony-tail. They way I always liked it. She wore a light yellow Summer dress. One I had bought her.

She bends over to check the oven. She looks as beautiful as the day we met. I clear my throat and enter the kitchen.

She turns around and gasps. Her face pales and I see her eyes begin to fill with tears.

“Alan,” She whispers, “You can’t be here.” Her voice a little stronger.

“I had to see you.” I walk further into the kitchen. She remains standing by the oven, although her attention is no longer on the contents of the pan. It begins to smoke.

“Alan, you can’t keep coming round like this, appearing out of nowhere. We’re not married anymore, I moved on. It took me a long time, but I did it.” The tears fall from her eyes and streak her cheeks with silver.

“I couldn’t stay away any longer Jen. I miss you, I miss the kids.” I begin. I reach out and place my hand on her shoulder. She flinches at my touch, but doesn’t recoil.

“The kids can’t see you. It will confuse them. I’m with Tom now. They like him. It’s been hard on them Alan. These last five years have been hard on us all.” She takes a step to one side and my hand falls from its perch.

“They’ve been hard on me too Jen.”  I struggle to hold back my own tears. The thought of the woman I shared my life with,  sharing hers with another man ripped me apart on the inside. “I never stopped loving you. I can’t stop.” I reach out and sweep her into my arms. I pull her close and feel her body tremble. “You are my angel.”  I whisper, my voice not able to muster up anything more powerful.

“I know Alan, but you need to leave. Tom can’t see you here. He will think I’ve gone mad if he finds you in the house.” She pushes me away, but not really. Behind her the pan on the stove spits black smoke into the air, but she doesn’t notice.

“I’m not afraid of being seen.” I whisper to her. I hold her gaze and see the tears brimming in her eyes, glistening like diamonds beneath the kitchen lights.

“Don’t do this to me. Please Alan, I can’t go through it again. I need to move on with my life. You do too. You’re dead Alan, you can’t keep coming back here, appearing to me like this. I have to move on. I need to do it for the children, they need a father in their lives.” The tears flow and her body trembles. She falls and I catch her.

I see her eyes widen as the realization of my touch dawns on her. Her body stiffens. “Alan.” She exclaims. “You came back?”  She stammers, and it breaks my heart.

“No,” I shake my head and kiss her. Her arms wrap around me. She pulls me against her and kisses be deeply.

“I don’t understand. How? Your dead.” She speaks in between loud kisses.

“I know I am, but Jen, my darling…”  all around us the smoke thickens, it envelops us and when it clear the kitchen is in ruins. The entire house nothing more than a burnt out shell. Water pools on the floor from where the flames had waged their war with the firefighters.

…”So are you.”


9 thoughts on “Long Distance Relationships

  1. I love this short story, Alex. I took the liberty of learning something from it and included the premise in one of my novellas at the end. I hope you don’t mind. I didn’t plagiarize but certainly copied the idea. I can send you the scene if you like. It’s the end of Chapter 1 of my new novella. Very nice. I love love love Highway to Hell and your writing.

    1. Thank you for both of the compliments. I do not mind you using the premise, I mean, after all a premise but a premise. I would love to see the scene, out of pure curiosity and interest rather than anything more sinister you understand. 🙂 Hope you have a great New Year.

      1. “What am I doing in this future time, expiating my sins and the sins of the world, what have I been doing, Sue, if not obeying the dictates of a future matriarch. A matriarch whose identity I could never guess, until now?”
        Sweet Potato pulled back the flowing veils from her face. Her eyes rolled back in their sockets, white as porridge. He looked down.
        There were maggots on the floor.

        The Chief Madame’s spirit, once so powerful, stirred in her bed of inertia, widow of a man who lost his place in the last century he would ever see again. Still Sweet Potato remembered, and still she waited. Until the graves gave up their ghosts, and she was free. There was a figure of a man in the rolled up sky, a dot at first in the distance; the form grew larger until Joseph Big Daddy was revealed, swinging a golf club, closer — they embraced.
        “How can this be?” she said, “I can feel you, we can kiss and embrace. But you’re dead.”
        “So are you,” Big Daddy said.

        The rest of the Universe was essentially the same.

  2. Oh, no! Did he kill her? *Gasp!*
    Is that why he came back, to distract her so the house would burn down? Oh dear!

    Other than that; it’s very compelling. That was a very nice twist at the end.
    I only hope that it was ‘predestined’ and he only showed up ’cause he knew what was going to happen?
    Please tell me it’s like that.

    1. Haha I will be honest Elizabeth and say it is both. I am so glad you asked the question though. I loved the ambiguous nature of the ending. So the answer is it is up to you to draw your own conclusions. I like to think that maybe it was a bit of both.

      Thank you so much for commenting and have a fabulous 2012.

  3. Really love this one Alex 😀 To be honest at first reading I read it as a love story with an odd happy ending. Then I realised he could have warned her but didn’t. Then I began to wonder whether he had appeared just then for the specific reason of distracting her. Which is exactly the ambiguity to set out to achieve. Well done!

    1. Thanks, I am glad you liked it. I am pleased you got the ending. As you said, if you read the words and not think about the piece as a whole it does indeed become a wishy-washy love story. I like the dark sinister nature that lies beneath the surface.

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