Living Room Windows – by Seth Armstrong  http://www.setharmstrong.com

 

Rita walked up and down the length of the room with different thoughts of how the months had gone by fast. She wondered if he had chosen the girl who had stood him up, the girl who ran off with his best friend at a time he had needed them both the most. He had come crying to her house that hot night. She heard footsteps but had dismissed it, thinking it was her brother coming home drunk as usual but then the stones hit her window, once, then twice, she had risen up from her bed and walked towards the window. Standing to the side of the window, she tried to peep outside to see who it was and could tell from the outline of the physique that it was Michael. She whispered to him to come through the door. He told her he was too drunk to make it there and reluctantly, she pulled up her shutters and he climbed into her room though the window. He sat down on the floor and told her the sad story of how he had found his girlfriend Charlotte kissing his best friend Harold and he had confronted them both right at the scene of the emotional crime. In between hiccups, sad laughter and tears, he told Rita about how his girlfriend of ten years had renounced her love for him and declared a stronger and fresh love for Harold. Rita was sad to see Michael so sad, she cradled him in her arms and he had sobbed like a baby. He couldn’t drive home in his state so she had asked him to climb into her bed and she pet him to sleep.

Rita was happy that he had come to her, happy that his relationship with Charlotte was broken and as she realised her happiness a cloud of sadness fell over her. The fact that she could be sad about someone else’s sadness meant she was bad and evil she thought. She wondered if it would be considered a bad and evil act or emotion if she meant well for Michael but was only happy that she stood a chance with being his girl with Charlotte out of the picture. Charlotte was more beautiful than her no doubt, she had won the beauty pageant since high school and had blossomed into a beautiful woman while Rita was tall, slender and plain-looking with strong features. Rita felt she stood no chance. Micheal and her had been best friends since high school but not once did he realise that she had pushed all the other boys away from her because she wanted Michael to have her full attention. He never asked her why she was anti social to other boys and even teased her that she was a lesbian. Truth was that she had always had a crush on him and the many years did nothing to fade the crush.

Now its twelve years since high school, she had gone out of her town and made a success out of being a model. She was back into town after taking a break from her modelling career and contemplating a career change. Michael had come back right after college to take over his family business, he had actually made a success of it, owning the only brewery in the town where the men worked all day, ate all evening and drank all night. He also had the highest number of grocery stores among other businesses, needless to say, he was one of the towns eligible bachelors. Recently with him being single, she had all time to spend with him, he would pick her up in the mornings, drop her at the local town library so she could have some peace and quiet to write her stories. He would always look for how they would pass time every evening. He kept on telling her about how her being around was perfect for him. He was getting over Charlotte and getting used to Rita all over again and she was happy, very happy; so also were her fictional characters, at least until this evening.

She had dressed up in her a lavender dress with frills all around it, Michael had promised her a trip to a bar that he opened near the mill. Her friend Franca had called to say that she would stop by on her way to the grocery store. Rita had been excited as Franca was so much fun. She welcomed her into her room while she dressed up and then as Franca was about leaving, with her right hand on her right hip, she had asked,

“Did you hear the news going round town?” Rita looked at her questionably, “No” She answered. Franca looked round the room like she wasnt aware it was just the two of them in there. And then in a lower tone of voice had said, “Charlotte is back in town and she went to see Father Lucas and he went with her to Michael’s father’s house”, she paused as if waiting for a reaction from Rita, seeing none she continued,”Rumour has it that she and Harold had split and he left her at the side of the road and she was badly shaken and is back begging Michael to take her back”

Rita’s heart had skipped forty beats and her knees were failing her but she didn’t want Franca to see her hurt. Even though Franca was her friend, she had known that this news would hurt her yet she told her in the coldest way possible. Definitely the whole town knew that she and Michael had been hanging around together and most of the people in the town knew that she and Michael had been friends from high school. It was a small town and word went round pretty fast. Rita was praying that Franca was wrong and that the rumour was false.

The time was 6:45pm, Michael had told her he would be at hers at 5:45pm. He was an hour late, which was unusual of him. She walked up and down and prayed that he would show up. Tired of sitting down and waiting, she pulled up her shutters, then the window and looked out, through the same window that he had climbed in through months ago and just as she was tired of waiting, she saw truck lights show from afar and she prayed silently that it would be Michael in his truck, coming as he had promised.

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