Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I wrote this yesterday for Leah Petersen's five minute fiction challenge.

I did not win, I was not even a finalist. But I liked what I came up with...

I first spotted her at the blood pressure machine, left arm cuffed. She wore sweatpants and a tank top. Her hair was unkempt at best. I shouldn’t have given her a second glance.

But there was something about her. Though I couldn’t even see her eyes, I couldn’t peel mine away. Maybe it was her skin, so smooth, pale, just the suggestion of freckles on the shoulders. I guess I’ll never know.
I stood, frozen, the cart still empty in front of me. I’d been heading for the pharmacy aisle with the intention of also making a quick trip through produce, but I couldn’t move. I listened, entranced, as the machine click click clicked, the cuff slowly releasing its grasp on her arm.
Finally, it relaxed, the reading done, and she withdrew her arm, satisfied, I think, with the result. She spotted me immediately and gave a sort of hesitant half-smile. Her face was extraordinary. Porcelain, the disheveled red hair serving to highlight her delicate features.
“It’s all yours,” she said.
Puzzled, I simply blinked a couple of times, then, broken from my reverie, realized what she meant.
“Oh, right,” I said. “Thanks.”
I had no desire to take my blood pressure – I’d fought hypertension for years and frankly feared the results – but my guilt at being caught staring got the best of me, and I took my seat in the machine.
She didn’t give me a second glance as she walked toward the front of the store. The cuff was already squeezing my arm, sending tingles into my forearm.
I cursed, disturbed with my utter inability to initiate even the most rudimentary conversation with her.
I pushed the button to interrupt the reading, pulled out my arm and, heart racing, rushed to the front door.


Cat Russell said...

What? No donuts?

I can see why you liked this, and the ambiguity at the end was a nice touch.

Mike Robertson said...

Durn, I wanted to know what his blood pressure was. Kinda perverse, I know, but that's how I roll.

Was he trying to catch her? Or did he have to pee?

Anonymous said...

Did he rush after her or run away in embarrassment? I like the ambiguity.

~Tim said...

Nice little slice of life.

Hah! My word verification is shesthes. She's the s#!@ is just what I was thinking.

Rebecca Emin said...

I hope he caught up with her! I enjoyed that. (Sorry for being SO late!)