Every Twenty-Four Hours Scenes
Overwhelmed, she let her head fall toward the table, and she buried her tear-soaked eyes in the bend of her arm. Why is this happening to me? Her chest felt heavy. Her mind was singed like blades of grass during a summer drought. Deep within there was still life, but the diagnosis made her exterior crumble. Seconds later a nauseous feeling overcame her, and she rushed to the bathroom, fell to her knees, and emptied the contents of her stomach in the toilet. She tucked her dangling hair behind her ears and rested her hands on the white porcelain throne as clear liquid continued to come up. When the flow had finally stopped, she slowly lifted herself up. Her knees cracked as her legs straightened. Standing, she made her way across the linoleum to the small wooden vanity. A toothbrush and a washcloth freshened her up instantly, but neither removed the excruciating pain of reality tearing through her head.
The corners of his mouth turned up. Eileen’s cheeks warmed. Within milliseconds, her insides felt mushy as a
Popsicle on a hot summer’s afternoon. He was tall, handsome, clean-cut, and somewhere in his early twenties. His broad chest sculpted his tailored blue suit, and the scent of his cologne, geraniums with a woody musk base was a delight to her nose. Her mouth filled with saliva. Now she understood the hype in psych class about Pavlov’s dog. She swallowed several times.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yes.” She stood before him, mesmerized. Was jet fuel pumping through her veins instead of plasma? All she knew was that her head was definitely in the clouds.
“Bitch!” Eileen murmured, as the wicked woman’s hot-iron tongue singed her flesh with each syllable. Eileen hated the word bitch—mean spirited and derogatory toward women. She’d sworn she’d never use it. But in Frances’s case, the word just fit. Eileen worked to pull herself together. This was obviously no Cinderella story. And she didn’t need to be Einstein to forecast that there would be no fairytale ending.
“Okay, but did you make sure the gun is still here?” Sammy asked.
“No, but he wouldn’t take the gun. We only have it in case someone breaks in.”
“I don’t think he’d take it either, but I’d feel a whole lot better if you checked. You remember no one thought Tony would try to commit suicide either.”
“That’s ridiculous!” There he goes again comparing James’s emotional state to his father’s. “If it’ll make you shut up, I’ll show you,” she shouted. Eileen stormed to her bedroom. The sea-blue walls looked red through her enraged lenses. She grabbed hold of the doorknob and slung opened the closet door. It crashed into the plaster. But she didn’t care. Sammy had hit a nerve—severed the damn thing with his ice-pick tongue. Eileen pulled out the footstool that James had made her in shop class from beneath the rack of clothes. She saw Sammy watching her tensely. With her feet planted firmly against the wood grain, she reached high on top of the shelf where she kept the gun beneath an old blanket. Sammy offered to help, but she ignored him. Hadn’t
he done enough? She ran her hand along the wooden shelf and could feel a metal handle graze her fingertips. With her fingers locked around the metal, she pulled her hand back for Sammy to see. The proof was in her grasp. He was going to eat his words. All of them—choke on them like a big fat side of beef.
This is reconstruction of Chapter 1 for this site. It differs in pagination from the novel which is in full pagination.