Seeing Red

8-minute memoir morphed into 8-minute fiction, topic from @anndeecandy

Topic: Things you've ruined.


It was all over. That was the long and short of it. The upside down of it. The frontward and backward of it. The anyway and which-way of it. It was ruined.

She'd thought she had it in the bag. She'd crossed her t's and dotted her i's. Although looking back, maybe she'd dotted her t's and crossed her i's. Maybe that had been the problem. It's easy to approach a thing procedurally. To assume it will all come out right.

No one tells you your procedure is all wrong. Or, even more important, that procedure is nothing.

She'd kept thinking there must be some way to make it come out right. Some ultra-secret, just on the tip of her tongue, shortcut. But even that still came back to procedure. To her thinking a procedure of some sort would save her if she just searched long and hard enough for it. It was easier to flail about searching for a solution than to admit the truth.

It wasn't happening.

And she couldn't make it happen.

No matter how hard she tried. No matter how many ways she came at the puzzle.

She sat at the bus stop, unintentionally counting red cars as they drove past. Not the blue ones. She liked the blue ones. Let people have their blue cars for heavens sake! But the red ones. They should be numbered. There should be a quota. There should be a moment when enough was enough already, and the dealership stopped handing out red cars. Pick another color, people!

She was up to 49. She'd let three buses pass in the meantime. Not all of them would have gone directly home, but they each would have gotten her close enough to walk. But it seemed better to sit here and berate people's choice in color when it came to cars. What was the use in going home when she hadn't managed to accomplish what she'd been aiming for each and every day for the past ten years?

The road stood empty for a moment. No cars to count. No busses to wave past. She choked in a shudder. She gritted her teeth, trying not to let it out in a blubbering mess.

Where were all the red cars? Didn't they know that counting them was the only way she'd managed to make it this far? It seemed idiotic that of all the requests that she ranted upward to the sky, it would be the quota about red cars that would be granted.

The light changed one block down and the cars raced past again.

5 red cars among them.

That request too, seemed to go unanswered. Who did she think she was, to get any sort of answer?


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