Copyright 2016 Alissa Snyder
Published by Alissa Snyder at Shakespir
Shakespir Edition License Notes
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Table of Contents
Mike watched the rain droplets roll down the driver’s side window. The small drops beginning at the top slowly joined more droplets, eventually creating one single raindrop to travel down the window. A smile stretched across his face as he remembered the days of riding in the back seat of his parents’ car, choosing raindrops to win in races down the window.
Reclining his seat back, Mike stared further out the window, past the raindrops towards the small blue house on the corner. He watched as lights turned on and off in different
windows, assuming it must be Sarah finishing getting ready. Memories flooded Mike’s mind as he sat, eyes closed, listening to the rain. Images of Sarah running to the car in her shorts and tank tops were his favorite. She was always the most energetic in the summer. Winter was usually the funniest to watch when he would drive to her house to pick her up. She could never make it to the car without slipping on her sidewalk and usually spent the rest of the night laughing at herself.
Mike opened his eyes to check the front door. Still no Sarah. He glanced at the passenger’s seat and picked up a few coffee cups he had stashed on the seat. He always loved seeing her sit there. Around people, she is the quietest person Mike knows, but when she sits in that seat, she could talk for hours. He wouldn’t have it any other way. Mike finally saw movement out of the corner of his eye and he turned to see Sarah close the door and walk towards the car. Her body seemed stiff as she took quick steps and kept her arms crossed at her chest. Concerned, Mike leaned across the car towards the passenger door and popped it open. Without eye contact, Sarah slid inside.
“Hey, are you okay?” Mike asked.
“Can we just drive for a bit,” Sarah said quietly. Mike stared at her for a moment as she remained still in her seat. He finally shrugged and drove off down the road.
The two sat in silence for what seemed like years. Mike couldn’t read her. Her body was clenched up and her arms were still crossed. She watched out the window and sniffed about every five minutes. Mike reached over and placed his hand on her knee. “You can talk to me, you know.” he said. “We haven’t been dating for four years for you to not talk to me when something’s wrong.”
She turned towards Mike, tears streaming down her face. “We’re moving.” Her sniffs became sobs as she buried her face in her hands. Mike watched as the strong women he’s come to know fell apart in the seat next to him. He quickly pulled the car over and took a deep breath, thinking of what to say next.
“Where to?” he asked as he rubbed her back. Her sobs grew harder and Mike leaned back, knowing he probably asked the wrong question. As she calmed down, Sarah wiped the mascara smeared under her eyes and caught her breath.
“California,” she said, still sniffling. “2,237 miles away.”
Mike’s heart sank and questions built up in his head. They talked about their future together: getting married, starting a family, building a house. “My dad got a really good job offer there. It’s a nice neighborhood I guess. And my mom said we could get a dog if we wanted,” she said, trying to fight back more tears. That was the Sarah Mike knew. Even in the worst situation, she always tired to be positive. He sighed. How could I even live without her, he thought. Mike searched solutions. He glanced out the window to watch the droplets again. He saw multiple form together and move down the window, rolling off the car. An idea slowly grew in his mind. They had to be together. There wasn’t another option. They had to do whatever would work.
“Marry me,” Mike said, turning to face Sarah. Her crying stopped and silence filled the car again.
“What?” she whispered.
“Sarah, will you marry me?”
Her eyes grew large as she held her breath. She shifted back in her seat and folded her hands in her lap. Mike was okay with the silence. He wanted her to think this through. It was a big decision. He noticed her eyes light up while she turned to him.
“Yes,” her smile was the biggest he had ever seen it. Mike couldn’t help but let out a laugh of relief as he reached over and hugged her. He held her as she dug her face in his chest and laughed through tears. He grinned as he looked around his car again. The sound of the rain was comforting and calming. He gave Sarah a small squeeze, holding tight to the love of his life. Another memory added to this car, he thought.
Every City Has a Soul
Nothing could capture my attention less than what he was trying to propose to me. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be after 6 years. But, of course, how would I know. I slid my finger across the damp glass, collecting as much liquid as I could to fix the wisps of hair tickling my face. The thick Nevada heat and the gusts of wind on our hotel patio did not agree with my perfectly constructed hair. Maybe I should just go inside and fix it, I thought to myself. Might as well.
Michael shifted forward. “I can tell you’re not paying attention. Did you even hear my question?”
“I’m sorry, dear.” I sighed as I twisted my hair around my finger. That was my nervous tick. Or so I was told. “No. No, I don’t think that is a good idea.” I turned my head towards the fence. Funny, trapped again. Frustrated, Michael stood, wiped the sweat from the back of his neck and flicked it at the small plants surrounding the patio. He stormed off and back into the dingy hotel room. Was he mad because I said no? If he blew all of his money on the first day of gambling, did he really expect me to give him all of mine to win his back? I leaned back in my chair wondering how I ever got to be here, in this relationship, and in this situation. My mind flashed to when I first met Michael in the most normal place I had ever known; our downtown diner. He came in every Thursday at lunch to order a slice of cherry pie. Me being the naive waitress I was, completely bought his “good boy” act. It wasn’t until our honeymoon that I actually saw the real Michael. He planned the whole trip, a hotel in Las Vegas, promised romance, everything I could dream of. I never knew I could spend so much time alone on one trip. No, not because he didn’t like me, but because “ladies shouldn’t be around gamblers”. Now every anniversary, we’re back in this God-forsaken city.
A loud slam propelled me from my day dreaming. I peered through the sliding glass door to see Michael returning with another bag of ice, murmuring to himself and kicking at the floor. I rose from my seat and walked inside. The cold air was like a waterfall, cooling and comforting my skin. The bed squeaked as Michael sat at the end of it, hands cupping his face. That moment was strange. Never had I felt superior in the same room as Michael. And then I realized I had cut off a life source to him: no more money, no more gambling. This was my chance to finally stand up for myself. I’ve always been too scared to tell Michael the things I’ve wanted. Now I had the chance to. I defeated him. Maybe now I can finally say what I’ve had on my mind for the past few days. There had to be more to this life I’m living, and I think I found the answer. I just had to tell Michael. I have to say it now. There might never be another opportunity. Now.
“I want a baby.” I blurted out.
I held my breath and eyes wide open. My palms began to pour with sweat as I tried to create a safe way to retract the statement, but my mind was blank with shock. Michael’s head slowly rose from his hands as he stared straight through my hazel eyes, deep into my soul. I was paralyzed.
“A baby?” he asked, this voice rising with his body. “If you want a baby, you go sleep with another man. I’m not bringing a baby into my life.” He launched for my purse on the night stand next to him and stormed out of the room.
I couldn’t be surprised. I had to have seen that reaction coming, but my body couldn’t keep up with my mind. I fell to my knees in exhaustion, not knowing I had wanted this so much. Tears began to well up in my eyes as I realized I won’t ever have the picket fenced backyard, loving husband and large family I had always wanted. I was trapped in this shallow world of greed and hate. And it’s all because of this city. They say “every city has a soul”, and I think this one stole my husband’s.
The alarm buzzed just as the sun peeked through the blinds and directly into Jenny’s eyes. Hitting the alarm, she squinted and rolled over to find empty sheets next to her. They felt cold as she ran her hand over the wrinkles. The faucet in the bathroom sputtered on and off. Ryan must be shaving again, she thought as she laid back, savoring every last minute of sleep she could get. Suddenly, drawers were flung open and clothes tossed to the floor. “Babe, did you do laundry yet?” Ryan asked as he searched through hamper in the corner of the room.
“Oh. Sorry, I haven’t gotten to that yet,” Jenny said, sitting up to see her husband rummage through the closet. The room was a mess. Clothes strewn and empty cups crowded the bedside tables. Jenny spared a smile as she glanced around and noticed the deep blue color of the walls. Memories of painting this room a week before their wedding floated in her mind. All of the hearts they doodled on the walls before covering them in paint couldn’t be seen anymore, but she knew they were there. Quickly, she found herself back in her room, watching her husband struggle to find clean clothes. Guilt weighted on her heart like a rock. “How about I make some breakfast. Does that sound okay?”
“No thanks, I was just planning on eating cereal and watching the game from last night,” Ryan said as he pulled up and old pair of pants. “If that’s okay with you?”
Jenny sank back. “That’s fine. I had some things I needed to work on anyway.” Ryan walked over to her and kissed her on the cheek, then left the room. Jenny looked to the right of the door and saw the first picture they hung in their room. A bride and groom bathed in white danced hand in hand. They wore smiles from ear to ear. That very symphony played in Jenny’s head as she clutched her blanket closer to her chest. She admired her once blonde hair and the curls it was somehow able to withstand that day. Much better than the pin straight hair she is used to, she always thought. She giggled at this romantic picture, absorbing the memories and wonderful emotions that came with it. Jenny hopped out of bed and threw her hair up in a messy bun that sat on the top of her head. She brushed her teeth then skipped down the stairs. Once reaching the bottom, she could see Ryan sprawled out on the couch, bowl of cereal in on hand and remote in the other. Taking a deep breath, she turned to the mirror on the wall and checked her hair, tucking some loose ends back behind her ear and wiping away black mascara smudges from under her eyes. She puffed out her chest a bit and walked over to the couch, finding a seat on Ryan’s lap.
“Woah, babe careful. You’re going to spill the milk,” Ryan said, sitting up to shove his bowl onto the coffee table.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. I guess I just thought… maybe you and I could go back upstairs? I could put something on,” She trailed away as Ryan’s face was without a glimmer of interest.
“We could, but I have to go to work soon. Plus, I haven’t showered and I’m all gross anyway. Maybe some other time this week,” Ryan said as he got up, cleaned up his things, and headed upstairs. Jenny sat, motionless. Alone. On the couch, again. Why doesn’t he love me like he used to? Jenny was back asking herself the same question nearly everyday. Tears welled up in her eyes as she sat up and tried to fan them away. Footsteps thumped as Ryan trotted down the stairs and grabbed his coat and bag. He reached for the door nob, then paused and turned around to Jenny, kissing her on the cheek. “I’m taking off so I’ll see you tonight for date night, okay?” Ryan said half way out the door.
“Okay, yeah that’s fine.” Jenny replied, curling into a ball and laying her head on the arm rest of the couch.
The car pulled into the driveway as Jenny kept her eyes fixed on the rain drops speeding down the passenger’s window. Their typical date night was just as she expected, as it usually is once every month. Jenny kept a faint sliver of hope that maybe Ryan would surprise her, that maybe he would do something so unexpected that would make these last five years of romantic drought somewhat worth it. “Well, we should probably get inside,” Ryan said while putting the car in park. “Tomorrow’s going to be another long day so I better get some rest.” Jenny’s heart sank, again. By this time, she couldn’t keep track of how many times she’s had this feeling. She closed her eyes and let the tears she’s been holding back stream down her face.
“Do you even love me anymore?” she blurted out. Ryan was taken aback, his face in complete shock.
“What are you talking about, of course I do,” he said, reaching his hand over to rub her leg. “Where is this coming from?” Jenny opened her eyes and met his. She hoped he could see all of the pain she was feeling.
“Do you remember going on dates? You would open the door for me to get into the beat up car you had to drive. You hated driving it but you would drive it across the country if that’s where I told you I wanted to go. You wrote me songs and sang to me in the car, and you always kissed me like you meant it. Now, I feel like I have to fight to get you to love me.” By now, Jenny wondered if Ryan could even understand what she was saying through her sobbing. She watched him to see what he would say. Her heart raced and her head pounded.
“You’re right,” Ryan said, taking a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I haven’t been loving you like I should. I’m so sorry.” Jenny felt numb. Was that really all he had to say? After all of these years and all of the pain I went through, that’s what he has to say? Ryan leaned in and kissed her. It wasn’t a normal kiss. Jenny felt warm, and comforted. Everything melted away and she could only feel his lips and hear the soft ticks of raindrops on the roof of the car. This kiss wasn’t a normal kiss, it was just like their first kiss. The excitement, passion, and love filled her up and she laughed as Ryan pulled away from her. “I love you,” he said, looking into Jenny’s eyes and holding her face in between his hands. And for the first time, she didn’t feel like she needed to hear those words.
About the Author
Alissa Snyder thrives on writing witty and clever television comedy screenplays. She is currently enrolled at Full Sail University pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. When she isn’t hunched over her computer, typing and laughing at her own jokes, she travels the country absorbing the different lifestyles of city dwellers. Her work will soon be available at http://snyderthewriter.tumblr.com/.
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In “Rainy Windows”, Mike’s relationship is put to the test as his girlfriend, Sarah, has plans to move across the country. The ultimate step awaits him, does he cherish his relationship and love for her enough to take the next step? Or will he abandon the love they have built to let her be free? In “Every City Has a Soul”, Angela is trapped in a loveless marriage with Michael, a gambling man. Her stubborn attitude has kept her strong in their relationship for several years, but recently she’s wanted more in her life. It’s up to her to defy her husband, speak her mind, and chase after what she wants in her life, or is it too late? In“First Kiss”, the romance has fizzled between Jenny and her husband Ryan after a few years of marriage. She seeks the head-over-heels, day dreaming love her and Ryan experienced when they were newlyweds. In order to ignite the spark before it’s too late, she must act quickly, but actions don’t always speak louder than words.