Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Closet

Write a story in which the character is snooping around an ex-boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) apartment because he or she still has a key. The whole story takes place in a closet in the bedroom that the narrator retreats to when the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend comes home with the narrator’s best friend. The narrator must endure, inside the closet, maybe the sounds of this couple making love for the first time or perhaps simply a loving conversation unlike any the narrator has ever had with this former paramour. Describe only what the narrator can see and smell inside the closet and what she can hear and guess is going on outside the closet...you will show us your narrator’s deep sadness or anger or a combination of the two, without having to describe it.

This exercise forces you to blindfold your observer. Every image presented in a piece of prose is like the image this narrator will perceive—imagined, reconstructed, simplified.
(from prompt #23 in The 3 AM Epiphany)

Read my response:

"Hide and Seek" by Faithful Chant

Oh, R.Kelly. How I wish I could fly. Or piss on someone. Anything besides trapped in the closet. It’s the way they talk, so quietly, as if it’s just the two of them and no one else matters. I mean. I’m not here, as far as they are concerned. But shouldn’t they be concerned? They should be. They talk quietly, they don’t want anyone else to hear them with no one else around. She even laughs quietly. She's in the door frame, he's walking towards the desk. He’s telling her…oh. No. Do not put on Dashboard. If there is anything I hate more than finding out my boyfriend, I mean my ex-boyfriend, is sleeping with my best friend, because apparently my life is a clip they make fun of on The Soup, it’s Dashboard Confessional. Please do not have Dashboard sex.

Chris Carrabba, sing. She giggles, and it’s like he’s tickling her to elicit more. Whatever he is saying, it isn’t much, or loudly, as she and Chris Carrabba wailing “Don’t you see, don’t you see that the charade is over?” are the only sounds, and feet barely moving, skimming the carpet, planting themselves standing. (1) Too close. So much fun she must be having. She must not be paying attention to the music, because it isn’t fun or even funny. A little funny.

“And all the best deceptions and the clever clever story awards go to you.” (1)

She stops, starts to say “I never…” and then he kisses her. Or punches her, who knows. He doesn’t punch her. She just stops and there are no sounds but crescendos of a song for feeling touchy-feely.

“So kiss me hard, because this will be the last time that I let you. You will be back someday, and this awkward kiss that screams of other people’s lips…” (1)

He moves, I hear his arms fall—he was holding her in his arms—and the song changes. Thank God for small mercies. He’s by the desk then, where the picture of us—he was holding me in his arms—used to be, the picture I printed and put in a frame from Ikea and gave to him when I had no money for better gifts. What sits there now, it was…well. Probably nothing yet. He probably moves his hand over the empty space where we used to be and doesn’t notice the absence. Or maybe he does, pauses over the laptop half-bent, remembers, rights himself.

“What do you want to hear?” he asks. Her. She moves over to him now, without the music I can hear her walking with bare feet, a skirt rustle. They are in the corner farthest from me, farthest from the closet, and I can just see through the grates that the skirt is pink and her hair is up, but I cannot see him. She leans into him before she bends to look at the songs, and it’s just a second before it starts to play. They move again, I can’t hear them now but if I squint I see them, broken in my view through the shades. I don’t recognize the song; how is it he has a song I’m unfamiliar with? That she knew to select. They are on the bed, just in front, I close my eyes when I see a pink flag fall from three feet in the air.

“And you feel like something is about to begin, but you don't know what, and you don't know when, so you tear at your hair, and you scratch at your skin.” (2)

I hear them breathing, heavy, with gasps syncopated, she breathes in, he breathes out. It reminds me I have to do the same, I take air in and slowly let it out.

“Caught in your room on a concrete shelf, fighting all alone, with yourself, with yourself, and you just wanna feel like a coin that's been tossed in a wishing well, a wishing well, a wishing well, a wishing well. Well, you're tossed in the air and you fell and you fell through the dark blue waters where you cast your spell, like you were just a wish that could turn out well. So you stand on the corner where the angels sit and you think to yourself, ‘This is it, this is it, this is all that I have, all I can stand is this air in my lungs and this coin in my hand that you tossed in the air and I fell, and I fell all the way to the bottom of the well, of the well, like those soft little secrets that you tell, that you tell to yourself when you think no one's listening too well" (2)


  1. I love the music tie-in and the "pink flag falling" part!

  2. I like this. People who can give a writing an effect that really stimulates emotions is a wonderful writer.


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