Sara stood over the kitchen sink and stared at the greasy pile stacked haphazardly in front of her. He had done it again. Bill never washed anything. He always left them for her.
She picked up the cereal bowl, encrusted with dried Froot Loops, and turned toward the Formica table along the wall. Bread crumbs and a smear of orange marmalade decorated his side, a crumbled paper napkin on the floor next to his chair. Closing her eyes, she breathed slowly. If she opened them again, she would throw the bowl through the window. Turning, she reached for the counter and placed the filthy bowl back on the counter. There was no familiar clink as it hit the sponge next to the drainer.
Without opening her eyes, she shuffled out of the kitchen into the living room. Once she was sure the sight and smells of the kitchen were behind her, she lifted one eyelid and saw the window overlooking the front porch. Bob was there, hanging on the curtain. Her Bob. Her other eye opened and she smiled. She loved Bob. He never left her dirty dishes or crumbs. he didn’t smear marmalade on the table. And, most importantly, he always looked at her with that silly smile of his.
Bob was probably the only thing she could thank Bill for. It had been that day almost five years ago when she and Bill had met at the library. He had been fun and funny then, offering to help her find the bathroom. Laughing had been easy then; not now.
When they were done in the library, he had invited her to walk through the park. He had even offered to buy her a snow cone. She couldn’t resist blue raspberry snow cones so she accepted. She shouldn’t have. It had been the first of many mistakes she had made with Bill.
Bob still smiled, hanging from the fraying blue curtains in his cheap apartment. She smiled back and almost tasted that blue raspberry snow cone from so long ago. Next to the vendor selling the snow cones and other cold drinks was a teenaged girl with cloth monkeys. A hand-lettered sign announced a fund-raiser for the high school chorus. They were going on some type of trip. Sara glanced at the half dozen or so monkeys hanging from the felt board and instinctively reached for Bob. She knew his name was Bob as soon as she saw his smile. He had never broken her heart during these last five years. He had never yelled at her for running the vacuum cleaner while Jeopardy was on or pulled the covers off her when he was cold.
Bob was understanding and just wanted to cuddle. He would hang around her neck for hours on end, happy with just that touch. She smiled back at him and crossed the room. Kneeling on the couch, she detached the Velcro tabs from the curtain and whispered in his left ear, “Let’s run away. We’ll go to the circus and travel from town to town on the train. He’ll never find us.” She held him in front of her, staring into his eyes, and said, “What do you think? Are you up for some adventure?” He just smiled.
She attached his Velcro hands to her collar and wore him like a talisman. She bent her head down and whispered in his left ear again, “Together, we can do this.” Quietly walking into the bathroom, she brushed her teeth, making sure none of the toothpaste dribbled on Bob. She then brushed her brown hair twenty times, just as her grandmother had advised her to whenever she began a trip. Glancing into the mirror as she walked out, her hair glistened in the morning light.
Her backpack already had her books and personal items. Retrieving her duffel from the hall closet, she quickly filled it with her shoes and clothes from the three drawer dresser in the bedroom. He was still asleep, comforter pulled tight around him, as she dropped the duffel and backpack next to the front door.
Walking purposely back into the bedroom, she sat on the bed next to him and kissed him lightly on the forehead. His eyes fluttered a little as she kissed him again. Fully open now, his eyes focused first on Bob and then on her. She kissed him once more on the forehead and stood up. Staring into his fully conscious eyes, she announced, “We’re running away to the circus. Don’t come looking for us.” His mouth opened slowly and then closed as she and Bob walked out.
The PROMPT was to write about a cloth monkey with long arms, Velcro on his hands and a big smile.
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