Sunday, January 29, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
The overwhelming scent of paint filled Charlie’s nostrils when he walked into the apartment. A canvas painted entirely sky blue lay drying on the kitchen table and in the living room, boxes were strewn about the floor and couch.
Katherine stood in front of her easel, wearing his old Clash t-shirt that was stained and ripped, twirling a stray hair that had fallen out of her messy bun around her finger. Her bottom lip pouted out just a bit while she figured out where to go from where she was.
“Stuck?” Charlie said grabbing a Coke out of the fridge. He popped the top and downed half the can.
“Not stuck,” Kath said detailing the reflected light on the water she was painting for the hundredth time. “Just…” she looked up, “yeah, I’m stuck. Dinner?”
“I’m on it,” Charlie pulled two small frozen lasagna’s out of the freezer and set the oven to preheat. He grabbed another soda out of the fridge and set it down on the coffee table for Kath when she pulled out of her art trance.
Kath’s art trances were like a sleepwalker’s dream. Never wake a sleep walker; never try to pull Kath out of her art trance. She doesn’t forget. Charlie made that mistake once, and never again.
Kath paced the floor, looked outside for inspiration and then flipped through the channels while Charlie watched, smiling. “I’ve never seen you like this before,” he said. “You’re so, on edge.”
“Yeah, well, it’s the first time I’ve ever been this close to a deadline without being done with my project.” Kath took off the Clash t-shirt and draped it over the back of the couch. She was wearing a blue tank top underneath despite the fact that it was freezing outside. She crawled up on Charlie and laid her head on his chest.
Charlie laid his chin on her head and breathed her in. She smelled like cinnamon and paint. It was a strange, but unusually calming scent. “What am I gonna do?” Kath said, almost helplessly. “I have to paint this stupid landscape before Friday and on top of that I have to make something out of all these boxes.”
“Does it have to be painted?” Charlie asked.
“Why don’t you go to Maymont Park? Take a few pictures? Then come home and paint.”
Kath looked up at him, startled. At first, he thought she would praise him for such a wonderful idea, but instead she looked appalled. “You mean, cheat?”
“That’s not cheating,” Charlie tried to explain, but Kath just cut him off.
“It is too!” She sat up and leaned back on the couch. “It’s one thing to take a picture of a friend and then one day down the road draw that picture, but it’s another to take a picture of something and then try to paint it!” Charlie couldn’t believe how passionate she was being about this. It was kind of a turn on. Her face was flushed and her eyes glared. “Not to mention the fact that it’s incredibly difficult. You can’t capture the beauty of something with a camera. You have to see it for yourself if you’re to paint it.”
When she was done, Charlie stared at her bewildered, and then the oven dinged. “I better go put the food in.”
The next day, Charlie came home to a living room still full of boxes and now the canvas that was drying on the kitchen table was a beautiful landscape of a lion fountain in the foreground, with stairs cascading down around it. In the background was a beautiful garden full of winter flowers. The sun was shining and reflecting off the water. It was Maymont Park. Lying next to it was a picture from which Kath had painted it from. Charlie smiled. She’d never admit it, but he’d won.
He walked into the bedroom to find her laying on her back with both arms crossed over her eyes. The curtains were shut and the room was dark except for the light entering from where Charlie had opened the door.
“Don’t say a word,” Kath warned holding up one finger. Charlie held back a laugh.
“I was just going to say that you did a good job. It’s beautiful.” He smiled, glad that she couldn’t see.
“Beautiful?” she sat up using her elbows as a rest. “It’s appalling. I feel so guilty, I feel like I can’t even turn it in.”
“Your professor won’t care.”
“But I will!” Kath groaned.
“Hey, how about if you let this go, we’ll go out for dinner.”
Kath sat up, “Chinese?”
“If you want.”
“Okay!” Kath shot off the bed and slipped into her coat. She ran past him, flying through the living room, knocking over boxes and throwing open the front door. “Are you coming?!” she cried.
He laughed, shook his head, and followed her out the door.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Work was lame and the game was on. Charlie climbed the steps to the apartment. Kath would be studying all night for her History midterm so the living room (aka the TV) would be all his for the evening.
However, when he opened the door he got a nice big surprise. Instead of throwing his keys on the kitchen table that should have been there, when he automatically threw them, they landed on the floor where the table should have been.
Charlie looked up, confused. Then his eyes grew wide. He was pretty sure the kitchen table was in the living room. Well, he supposed underneath the string of probably every blanket they had in the apartment was the living room furniture plus the table and chairs from the kitchen. “What the?” Charlie said. He dropped his wallet on the counter and headed over. Everything was covered with blankets. They were draped from the top of the couch over a chair. Then they were draped from the chair to the table, then from the table they covered the top of the TV, and then draped back over the armchair in the corner, back around. Every piece of furniture was submerged beneath the sea of blankets.
The TV was on, but it was low, and the blankets muffled the sound a bit. He knocked on the top of the table. “Enter!” Kath said. She sounded cheery and happy he was home to witness her masterpiece. He knocked again. “I said come in!” Her voice was sing-songish and he knew there was no coaxing her out. He had to go in.
He dropped to the floor and army crawled under it all. “Welcome to our new home!” Kath said, kissing his cheek. Her textbook and what he guessed was a study guide and notes were strewn about the floor underneath and she had a pencil behind her ear and a highlighter in her hand. Behind her was a mountain of junk food. A six pack of bottled Dr. Pepper, a can of Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, a bag of Sunchips, a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a bag of marshmallows, a bag of graham crackers, and a few bottles of water. “It’s our new fort! Do you like it?”
“I’d like it better if it wasn’t covering the TV,” Charlie said.
“Well then how would I be able to watch it?” Kath asked. “Sometimes you’re not very smart, Charles.”
Charlie snorted. “How long is this going to be up?”
Kath looked alarmed, like he’d just said a very bad word. “All night,” she said like he should’ve known this for a thousand years.
“Well, can I watch the game?”
“Of course you can!” Kath said and then she gave him the remote and went back to her studying.
Charlie started to crawl back out of the fort, but Kath quickly added, “But don’t move those blankets.” Then she smiled.
For the next hour and a half Charlie finished the game and Kath studied. But when it was over and she felt prepared they laid in the fort as the sun went down. The flashlight/lantern that Kath had been using for their light went out and so she pulled her backup flashlight out of her book bag and they told scary stories, shining the flashlight under their chins to give them an eerie look.
But soon the stories just came out silly instead of scary and pretty soon they were laughing so hard under the blankets that they had to come out just the catch their breath. Then they were suddenly aware of how hot it was underneath all those blankets.
“I seem to remember forts being a lot bigger when I was a kid,” Kath laughed.
“That’s because you were a lot smaller,” Charlie replied.
“You know what would be good right now,” Kath said excitedly. “S’mores!” Charlie nodded in agreement. “Too bad we don’t have a real campfire. Maybe I can radiate some heat from my flashlight. She crawled back under the fort and tried resting a marshmallow on top of the flashlight but surely it wouldn’t work.
“Give me one minute,” Charlie said grabbing the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and graham crackers. He quickly went to the kitchen and prepared some S’mores and then presented them to her like she was a radiant queen.
“Viola!” he chimed. “S’mores fresh from the microwave.”
“You are a god,” Kath purred. “Really, you’re getting lucky tonight.”
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The plane was leaving in an hour, but Katherine was never on time. The security check in line was overflowing, but Kath was taking her time browsing Hudson News for a few magazines and the daily paper.
From the other side of the counter, Charlie watched as she browsed. He wished he had a sketch pad right now to draw her. He wasn’t as skilled as Kath, but he could capture this no problem. She was an angel in her black skinny jeans tucked into her ugly old black boots, green pea coat and matching knit beanie hat. They complemented her radiant deep auburn hair perfectly. It was wavy and frizzy today, instead of its normal straighten. But she didn’t have time this morning to do her hair. She stood on her tip toes to reach a magazine on the top shelf, kicking one foot up in the process. A man standing behind her had to back up for fear she’d kick him. But she didn’t notice. Her mom had always described her as “a bull in a china shop”.
She was so beautiful; Charlie had to catch his breath. It was times like these, when she was just quiet, peaceful, and majestic that he wondered how he got so lucky. Yes, he was one of those guys who was sappy in his moments.
When Kath looked over at him, she smiled and held up her magazine mouthing, “Half price.” And then she stuck her tongue out and did this crazy little happy dance.
“And then there are moments like that,” Charlie said to himself. “That remind me I’m the only one who’ll put up with her.” But it was all a joke. He loved her inside and out, crazy and calm, perfect and flawed. He loved everything she was.
After they’d paid for the magazines, Kath slipped them into her carryon bag and slipped her arm through Charlie’s. “Well, my dear,” she said in a fake British accent, “What will you do without me for two weeks?”
Charlie stopped and pulled her to him, resting his hands around her waist. “Cry,” he said.
Kath wrinkled her nose. “No,” she said. “I forbid it. You’ll go out with the guys, play a little poker, maybe?”
“Poker sounds nice.”
“Kick their butts for me.” She hugged him, resting her head on his shoulder. “That way you can take me out to eat when I get back.”
“Oh, I’ll do that,” Charlie rolled his eyes dramatically.
“Hey,” she said seriously. “I love you, you know.”
“I know, babe.” Charlie said. It was a rare occurrence for Kath to say the L word. Not that she didn’t feel it. It’s just it was a big deal to her. So whenever she said it, he really made sure he assured her that he knew. Kath stood back up and looked at him.
“Christmas isn’t going to be the same without you. I don’t even like California. It’s too hot there. What if I’m not in the mood to drink coffee?”
“You’re never in the mood not to drink coffee,” Charlie assured her.
“That’s because it’s always cold here.”
“I think you’ll be fine.”
“What if I just ‘missed’ my flight?” she used her hands to make air quotes.
“I think your grandma would be upset,” Charlie said. “You better get going. They’ll be boarding soon and you haven’t even had your bags checked.”
“Alright.” She hugged him again and kissed his cheek.
“Good-,” but he didn’t have a chance to finish.
“Stop it,” Kath put her finger up to his mouth to shush him. “Don’t say it.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “I forgot. I’ll see you when you get back.”
“Yes you will.” And with that, she picked up her bag and went to get in line. Charlie turned to leave and started walking for the escalator when Katherine grabbed his shoulders and he spun around.
Her eyes were lined with tears that hadn’t begun to fall and with a whisper she said “Kiss me.” And he did.
Inspiration for this story came from the song She Is by Ben Rector. I've become quite obsessed with the sound of his voice and his lyrics.
"She hails from Boston.
She hates the sound that goodbyes make.
She loves Sundays and champagne.
She can’t stand the winter.
She can’t stand anything that she can’t change.
That she can’t change.
She is whatever she wants to be.
She is a little of everything.
Mixed up, so tough in a beautiful way.
She’s got the world at her fingertips.
She makes beauty look effortless.
And I want everything she is."
- - Ben Rector
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
After a long day of classes and work, Charlie climbed the stairs to his apartment hoping that his gorgeous girlfriend would be there to greet him with a paint-stained t-shirt on, hair a mess, and some kind of ridiculous story from the day. He just wanted to relax on the sofa and cuddle with his girl while they fought over what to watch on TV.
But instead, he found Kath sitting on the couch, eyes a blaze, flipping through the channels like a madwoman. She didn’t even look at him when he walked through the door.
“Hey babe,” he said, heading to the fridge. It was empty.
“You know what I hate?” Kath said, irritated.
“When people call you ‘babe’?” Charlie asked slowly. It was a smart-ass comment, as he called her “babe” all the time.
“When my mother calls me up out of the blue to announce that she’ll be coming over this weekend. And then I have to wake up super early on Saturday to clean up this place just so she can be comfortable. And she doesn’t even ask me if she can come over. She just announces it like she’s the freaking Queen of Sheba. Is that fair?”
“No?” Charlie was sincerely confused. Kath and her mom were close. Where was this coming from?
Kath was still flipping through the channels. Charlie just rested himself up against the bar counter. He thought it best to stay out of crazy’s way.
“God, who invented those Snuggies? They’re so stupid you know, just put on a freaking sweater! And those Forever Lazy things they’re even worse! It’s just like wearing footie pajamas! And what’s with that State Farm commercial where the woman thinks her husband is cheating on her? It’s supposed to be funny, right? Well it’s stupid! People are ridiculous! Not everyone cheats on their spouse. I’m so sick of seeing movies and TV shows where people are unfaithful. There are plenty of people in this world you don’t sneak around and whatnot. And what is with all this Taylor Swift “Wonderstruck” perfume commercial crap? I swear if I hear that song one more time I will throw the TV out the window! Uh, God, it’s on again! I want to die!”
“Why are you in such a happy mood this evening?” Charlie asked.
“I don’t know,” Kath said forcefully before she turned the TV off and threw the remote on the couch next to her in a huff.
“Hey, what’d you get on your English midterm?”
Friday, January 13, 2012
There was something on the fridge that Charlie hadn’t noticed before. In the middle of dinner he’d looked up and saw a postcard with a picture of the Parthenon that in big bold letters read “Greetings from GREECE”.
“Do we know someone in Greece?” He asked Katherine who was finished with her Chinese takeout (her favorite) and was graciously flipping through an old Utrecht catalog. She pretended like she hadn’t heard him, but she did because her eyebrow twitched involuntarily which signaled that she’d almost answered, but then better thought it not to. “Hello,” Charlie said again. “Earth to Katherine.” He poked her with his fork. And Kath, being the girl she was, grabbed it and jerked it out of his hand.
“There are better ways to get my attention,” she said very motherly and set the fork down gently beside her. Her radiant auburn hair slid past its holding place behind her ears and covered her face. Almost as a defense mechanism.
“Why are you avoiding my question?” Charlie asked.
“It adds an era of mystery to me, don’t you think?” She closed the catalog and propped her elbow up on the table while using her hand to rest her chin on. She smiled a half smile. But Charlie wasn’t amused. He just stared back, frowning.
“No,” Kath finally said, getting up and rinsing her plate in the sink. “We do not know anyone in Greece. I know someone. And old friend from high school. Do you remember Archer?”
Archer. Archer. That named sounded familiar to Charlie, and not because it was one of his favorite shows. But he wasn’t putting a face with the name, other than the cartoon character. “No,” he replied. “Should I?”
“Nope,” Kath said quickly, picking up the catalog from the table and throwing it in the trash.
“Wait, you said that a little too quickly. Who is this guy?” Charlie asked, and just as he finished the words he remembered that Archer was the guy Kath dated after they’d broken up the first time, their senior year of high school. It had almost ruined prom for them, until they got back together three weeks before the dance (not that Charlie really cared about prom, but it meant a lot to Kath). “Archer? Archer your ex boyfriend, Archer?” Kath was moving quickly into the bedroom but Charlie followed her.
“Yes,” Kath said turning to face him. She had her eyebrows up and her hands on her hips. This was her “I’m ready to take on anything” stance and Charlie knew it. “I hoped you wouldn’t notice, but since you notice everything, I was sure I’d have to tell you eventually. And yes, it is from Archer. But you don’t need to go getting all jealous like you usually do. He was just being nice by sending a postcard. He knows that I’ve always wanted to visit Greece. It was very thoughtful.”
Charlie didn’t like the way she said “thoughtful”. It was slow and drawn-out and hard. Like she was challenging him to say otherwise. “Yes,” Charlie said. “But we don’t need to hang it on the fridge.” Charlie immediately went to the kitchen to take it down, but Kath was quick and she ran there before him and snatched it before he could.
“Then where will we put it?” Kath said. “I was sure you wouldn’t want it on the bedroom mirror, so the fridge was the best place for it.”
“The bedroom? Why would you even bring this up right now?”
“Why are you being so difficult?” Kath’s nostrils were flaring. She couldn’t stand when Charlie got jealous about other guys. And that was his biggest flaw, that he was sometimes too jealous. But with a girl like Kath, how could he not be? She was beautiful, a little crazy, but sweet. He saw the way guys looked at her when they went out. He had a right to be a little jealous every now and then. But it drove Kath crazy. She would always bring up the fact that she was an adult and she made her own choices and he had nothing to worry about. But he did anyway.
“I’m not being difficult. Maybe if you’d come out and told me about the postcard before you let it blindside me then I wouldn’t be as angry.” His voice was raising a little higher than usual.
“Oh you would still be as angry!” Kath yelled. “You’re always so jealous when it comes to me and I just don’t understand why! So what if an ex boyfriend wants to send me something nice? It doesn’t mean anything other than a nice present from a friend!” She threw the postcard on the ground, not because she was mad at it, but just to be dramatic. Charlie was used to it.
Charlie bent down and picked up the card. On the back was the note from Archer. He scanned it and it wasn’t even remotely flirty. Just a simple “Greece is great! Hope one day you can experience it. Archer.” Charlie sighed because he knew that he’d been beat. He looked up at Kath who was standing with an un-amused expression on her face. Her arms were crossed in front of her and she wasn’t blinking until he apologized. They’d played this game many, many times.
“I’m sorry,” he said, sticking the postcard back on the fridge. “I know there’s nothing going on with you and any other guy. I just get overprotective of you when I have to share you with others.”
Katherine’s face softened. She smiled and ripped a piece of paper off of the notepad sitting on the counter. Then she took a pen and quickly drew a heart on the paper. Then inside she wrote “Kath’s heart” and she gave the paper to him before she kissed his cheek. “I’m all yours babe,” she said. “And there’s nothing you can do to change that.”
And with that, she sashayed into the bedroom.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Today is my dog, Gunner's first birthday! YAY! (And he's a German Shepherd) so in honor of his day of birth, I give you..... "Dog Sitting"
Paisley sat in the corner on her large red pillow with her head down and her ears up. She looked back and forth from Charlie to Kath as she lay there peacefully. She was a seven year old German Shepherd that Charlie had recently agreed to babysit for a friend while they went out of town.
Kath sat on the couch very stiffly and even though she said she was alright, Charlie couldn’t help but notice how rigid she was, glancing from the TV over to the dog. Not to mention the fact that Kath was completely freaked out when Charlie even brought the dog into the apartment.
“What is that?!” she’d yelled almost jumping onto the counter.
“It’s a dog, Kath,” Charlie said, taking Paisley off her leash.
“I know that, but what is it doing here? Oh God, Charlie, you didn’t buy that thing did you?” Paisley was now sniffing Kath’s leg and Kath was making a feeble attempt to shoo her with a kitchen towel.
“No, we’re dog sitting for a friend for the weekend,” Charlie wondered why Kath was acting this way. She’d always been okay with dogs. Her mom had two dachshunds, and all of her friends had dogs. But the more Charlie thought about it, he realized all of her friends had small dogs. Paisley was a 90 pound German Shepherd. The police dog. The terrifying beast. But then he looked at Paisley with her big brown eyes and almost smiling mouth. She was gentle and sweet. Surely all Kath needed was time with her. “Come on,” Charlie said, taking Kath’s hand. “Paisley is a nice dog. She’s not gonna hurt you.”
“Oh yeah,” Kath said as Charlie pushed her into the living room. She kept an eye on Paisley as she walked with Paisley just trotting behind. “I’ve heard the story of Jezebel. That dog’ll eat me in my sleep.”
“No, she’s not. Come on.” Charlie sat Kath down on the couch and called Paisley over. But then Kath freaked out. She shot up off the couch which got Paisley excited who then started barking and jumping around. This freaked Kath out even more and she ran into the bedroom, shutting the door behind her.
After much needed encouragement and reassurance that Paisley was settled down and laying on her bed, Charlie finally coerced Kath out of the bedroom and had her sit back on the couch.
Now, Kath tried to show that she was into the TV show, but Charlie knew she wasn’t. She kept glancing at Paisley and then away. Whenever the dog moved, Kath flinched. Charlie really couldn’t understand why someone would be afraid of a dog named Paisley, but Kath wasn’t like anyone else. She was her own person, and if she was afraid of dogs, it would be up to her to change her mind. All Charlie could do was watch.
After about ten minutes of waiting, Charlie suggested that he should start dinner and headed to the kitchen. Every once in a while he glanced in the living room and saw Kath and Paisley in their same positions. He just shook his head and smiled.
When dinner was almost ready he took one last glance and there was Paisley sitting in front of Kath, on the floor while Kath had pulled both legs up onto the couch and was holding out a pillow as a shield. Paisley sniffed the pillow and then sniffed Kath’s hand that was holding it. Kath froze; eyes wide. She stared as the dog gently sniffed her. Charlie would have intervened, but it was all too hilarious to watch.
Paisley licked Kath’s hand and then Kath made this disgusted look on her face. It was actually a mixture between surprised and disgusted.
Then, like clockwork, Paisley laid her head on Kath’s left foot and exhaled sharply through her nose like she was sighing. Kath’s tensed shoulders dropped a bit.
“Charlie!” she whispered as loudly as she could. “She – she put her put her head on my foot!” With her hushed tones and slight excitement she almost sounded like a little kid. Charlie chuckled.
“Yeah, Kath,” he said staring out over the bar counter. “It means she likes you.”
Kath stared at Charlie for a moment with a blank expression. But Charlie could see the wheels turning in her head. Slowly but surely she put down the pillow beside her and softly stroked Paisley’s head.
The next morning, when Charlie woke, all over the kitchen table were sketches of Paisley in different positions. In one she was licking Kath’s hand. In another she was laying next to the sofa, and in another she was sitting up, with her head cocked to the side.
And on the fridge was a handwritten note,
“Taking Paisley for a walk. Eggos in the freezer. I’ll have two and she’ll have one. – Love K.”
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
He was just about asleep when Kath rolled over and whispered, “If you could be anyone in the world, who would you be?” It wasn’t unusual for her to ask questions like this late at night. She was a night owl by nature, turned morning pro (not person per se, because she really wasn’t a morning person. She just mastered the ability to wake up early) by Charlie’s constant persuasion for the past year.
“I don’t know,” he said rolling over and trying to go back to sleep.
But Kath wasn’t stopping anytime soon, and he should have known that. Instead of taking his answer and rolling over, she sat up, and rested her arms on his back and said, “Come on, tell me.”
Charlie took a deep sigh and thought for a moment, while Kath waited patiently. “Well,” he turned over so that she was resting on his chest and he wrapped one arm around her. “I guess I’d wanna be Calvin Coolidge”
“What?” Kath giggled, “Why him?”
“I don’t know. Because he was cool as all get out. And he was president, I mean, who doesn’t want to be president? And he was chill.
“Oh he was?” Kath mocked fake enthusiasm.
“Yes, he was.” Charlie tickled her side and she smacked him lightly.
“That’s cool, I guess.” She said. “I would wanna be Peter Pan.”
“You’d wanna be a dude? Is there something you’re not telling me?”
“No,” Katherine laughed. Charlie loved her laugh. Especially when it was genuine, real, and raw. “I’d want to be like Peter Pan.”
“And why’s that?” Charlie had to hold back a chuckle.
“Because he lives in Neverland, which is so cool. They have pirates and mermaids and Indians. And he gets to stay young forever! And he gets to have fights with all the pirates and swim with the mermaids. She sighed thinking about it, like it was the most wonderful thing in the world. Which the Kath, it might as well have been. “And he can fly,” she added.
“Oh yeah, can’t forget that.” Charlie buried his nose in her cheek and then gave her a kiss. “I think it would get boring to live forever though,” he said.
Kath thought for a moment. “Nope,” she smiled. “I’d always find something to do.” Then she turned to him, raising an eyebrow. “Don’t you think?”
Charlie smiled, “You? I’m sure of it.”
He must have said something right, because in the next moment she leaned in and kissed him.
Special thank you to Jeffy for the Calvin Coolidge idea. :P
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
"Could you sit down?" he asked impatiently.
"No," Kath said, exasperated. "I need inspiration. I need something."
"Well your need for inspiration is interfering with my work. Just put a color on the canvas and it'll come to you. It always does."
"I'm just not feeling it right now." She put her palette down and took off her smock. "You know what might help." She sat down next to him on the couch and leaned in like a little kid might when they want something.
He threw his notepad on the coffee table, he wouldn't be able to work as long as Katherine was being herself. "What?" he looked over to see his beautiful girlfriend smiling at him. Deep auburn hair a mess and pulled back into a lopsided ponytail, she had a crazy look in her eyes that warned him it was going to either cost him a lot of money or possibly be so over the top that it would beat all of her other crazy ideas.
"What if we got all dressed up in really fancy clothes and then went to a really fancy restaurant and ordered expensive food that we can't afford and then maybe that'll give me some inspiration." She smiled and nodded trying to persuade him to go along. Even though he knew she wanted to go to the new fancy Italian restaurant that he definitely couldn't afford on his salary, he couldn't resist her nose wrinkle that she did when she giggled at her own idea and the way her lips pursed when she tried not to smile because she knew he would cave eventually.
"Alright," Charlie said after a few seconds. Better to cave now than later. Katherine smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed his cheek.
"Thank you! Thank you!" she cried, jumping off the couch and running to the bedroom. "I'll lay out your clothes!"
After a few minutes the door opened and out popped Kath wearing a red forties flapper dress, red lipstick and a red feather in her hair to match. Her black heels made her two inches taller and she stopped in the door frame and tilted her head to the side. "What do you think?"
Charlie smiled. He was rarely speechless, but this was one of those moments. He stood up and walked over, grabbing Kath's waist and pulling her toward him. He kissed her neck and then worked his way up to her mouth.
"Guess you like it," Kath said. She pushed him away and ran back in the room. "Now come see what I put out for you!" Charlie followed her into the bedroom and to his dismay, on the bed lay a black zoot suit with matching fedora hat, a red feather, and a red shirt that matched Kath's dress.
"You're kidding right?" he asked.
Kath crossed her arms and frowned. "Come on," she said not amused. "You agreed, you have to wear it, or we play the game."
Charlie contemplated... wear the outfit and be mortally embarrassed in front of everyone at the restaurant or play the game, at which Kath would most certainly win.
The GAME was a way to settle arguments or broken promises. They picked a subject like diseases, animals, cars, etc and then start from A and go through the alphabet and name as many as they can. The first person to hesitate or who is unable to come up with something loses - and has to be at the other's beck and call for a day. And after two years with Kath, after two years of playing the game, Charlie had only ever won, once - and that was because Kath was sick. It wasn't really even fair he'd won.
"Okay." Charlie said. "Let's go out."
Kath smiled, clearly knowing she would have won anyway.
Ten minutes later, reluctantly, Charlie stood in front of the mirror in full outfit staring glumly at his reflection as Katherine applied her eye make up in the mirror. It was a rare occasion that she ever even wore make up. He thought it made her look like a clown, but it went with the costumes.
And then ten minutes after that they headed out the door with Kath skipping to the car and Charlie dismally lacking behind.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Broken-hearted, Charlie sat at the computer trying to find the words to describe her. She was lively, wild, and carefree – but no more. Everything he loved about her was gone. Everything he wished would never happen, happened. And in his head the vision of who she was stood in front of him, but he couldn’t put her into words. To write her out was to put her beauty in a cage. And she was a free spirit. She would never be caged. But things were different now.
“Katherine - otherwise known as "Kath". Age 20. Her favorite thing to do was dance to “We Are Young” by Fun in the kitchen when it was snowing out. She loved going on picnics in the summer. She picked the most obscure places – the middle of a crowded dock at the beach, the bed of a stranger’s truck, the roof of her house. She couldn’t eat popsicles unless she was wearing socks, and her ponytail always ended up on the side of her head instead of the back. She liked to lay on the couch with her feet up over the side. He bit her lip when she was nervous and twirled her hair when she was thinking hard about something. She blurted out the punch line of every joke she knew because she was too excited to hold it in until the end. And on Sundays she stayed in bed until two in the afternoon. “
Charlie re-read the words he’d written and frowned. It wasn’t the normal obituary, and surely it was to stand out among the rest. But then again, Katherine stood out too.