Race To The Bottom

Race To The Bottom

A Story by Brittany




Her hair was growing back. It crept over her head and out as eye lashes in a faint silver. She liked to sit outside at night, when the street lamps went on timers, and the rythmic flickering steadied her troubled lungs. More often then not, I liked to keep her company. Even if we just sat in silence. The silence was a bond for us. Something we both could appreciate. Tonight the wind had picked up. Branches littered our lawn and the streets. She comments on this.


"Just when they reach the top, they get knocked down. But if they're lucky...they'll take root somewhere else, somewhere better."


We're drinking together outside. I spin my half-empty can by its' top. I try to be immersed in this task- so I don't have to answer her. I never know what to say when she accidentally stumbles on deep insight. The street lamps suddenly wake and I study her frail silouhette. I follow the plume of smoke from her lips. I cringe when she coughs.


 The lights go out.


I can hear her rub her head. The sound reminds me of sand-paper. I tell her we need to start thinking about paying our utility bill. We also can't afford heat this winter. We'll have to get fire-wood. A small gust of wind rattles. Or maybe it's just her sighing.


Street lamps turn back on.


She's smiling. She's been drinking red wine so her smile strikes me as silly. Her face is so small and pale- but her lips. Her lips are almost black in the dim light. She closes her eyes and I know she's not with me anymore.


She asks if I remember winters growing up. We couldn't afford to heat the house, so we laid our clothes on the hearth in the mornings, got dressed in front of the fire-place. She tells me how cute my brother and I were, fighting over who stood closest to the flames. She reminds me how dark it would be when we left for the school bus stop. Reminds me of my random and unnatural fear of getting attacked by mountain lions on the way. How I only felt safe walking when the full moon was out. How I felt that it was reliable.


I take a drink to calm the new pain in my gut. These memories un-nerve me. After gathering dust for years, she finds the time to breathe new life into them. And I'm forced to re-live it all over.


Street lamps on.


"Full moon tonight." She says.



© 2010 Brittany

Author's Note

Ignore grammatical errors. Typed this in a hurry, before the idea got away from me.

My Review

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This is poignant and peaceful. I feel like I've been the narrator before, watching someone slip away like this. Beautifully done.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Honestly, dear. Your ability to paint a scene and to bring everything in that scene to life is brilliant. You're becoming a master at putting your reader right where you want them to be and it's beautifully done. "A small gust of wind rattles. Or maybe it's just her sighing," I love that line. It hit me in the best way possible. Well done, darlin. I wish you were here so we could write together.

Posted 10 Years Ago

This is a very nice scene. I enjoyed the reflecting revelations of the characters about each other. Even though I'd like to know more, this is complete as composed. Honest, open and vulnerable characters are hard to reconcile to a sense of reality and you've handled it well. Nice piece.

Posted 10 Years Ago

you sure know how to paint a scene, so that is lingers

Posted 10 Years Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on August 27, 2010
Last Updated on August 27, 2010




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