a story askew

I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next to the apartment key I’d given her the week before.  The scarf was folded neatly and placed carefully on the kitchen counter.  The key had been left slightly off center.  I wondered if she had left it that way to intentionally mock my OCD tendencies, or if I was giving her too much credit.

It was probably the latter, but that didn’t keep me from straightening the key so the neck was running parallel to the lines of the scarf.

My phone was already in my hand before I realized what I was doing.  My need to control, my absolute need to know and understand, would have had me calling her.  But, luckily, I also knew the sad and desperate implications of such a call and I was able to keep from dialing her number.  Reluctantly, I slipped the phone back into my pocket and stepped to the fridge to grab a beer.

The straight line of bottle caps was a welcome relief to the feeling of disorder raging in my head.  I took one out, shuffled the stack forward, and placed a new one in the back.  Then, as I was shutting the fridge, I noticed she hadn’t taken her food with her.

I was confused, but shut the fridge on the problem, leaving it to be dealt with later.  Perhaps after a few beers, I’d be better prepared to throw it all out.

I levered the cap off the cool bottle and took a sip to steady my jangled nerves even as I deposited the cap in the trash, lest it interfere with the clean order of my table or counter.  Then I took a second sip, more closely resembling a swig, and went to change out of my work clothes and see what state the bedroom was in.

I nearly dropped the half-empty bottle when I found her there, waiting for me.

In hindsight, I guess I should have wondered why I had to unlock the door in the first place.  She couldn’t have locked it if her key was inside on the counter.  However, those stray thoughts didn’t keep me from going to her waiting arms immediately.

The next day, as I was breaking up with her, I blamed the delay in my decision on the confusion of thinking she had already left me and the joy of finding that wasn’t true.  As she was cursing me and packing up her things, she asked why I’d break up with her if I was happy to have found that she hadn’t left.  I was compelled to answer honestly, “The key on the counter was askew…”


Word Count: 450

This bit of silliness written for Papi Prompt! (Lucky) #13:

What: 500 word maximum flash fiction story
Use the following: I found the silk scarf I gave her for Valentine’s next… 
When: Due before next Monday to be included in the results.

You know you want to play along, so write your own story that includes the prompt and link it back to the original post at The Literary Syndicate.  I can’t wait to read what you come up with!


21 thoughts on “a story askew

      • My first thought was “Sleeping with the Enemy”, where she has to make sure the labels in the cabinet and the hand towels are just right.

        The girl in your story voluntarily slept with the guy, so I am sure it wasn’t that level of crazy.

  1. I admit I have certain OCD’s, but rotating the beer forward and placing a new one in behind immediately is even more than I could handle. The key on the other hand . . .
    Really fun story to start the day. 😀

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