Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Tiny Scrap of Fiction: "End as you mean to go on"

     "'End as you mean to go on.'  What a load of superstitious bullshit," she thought, throwing another load of laundry into the washer.  As if the Fates cared whether her house was clean, her fridge was full of food, or her wallet was bulging at the seams.  Her family had been following the New Year's tradition for as long as she could remember, and it hadn't done them a bit of good, as far as she could tell.  And yet here she was, scrubbing and mending and filing as if her life depended on it.  Ridiculous.
     Truth be told, she wasn't sure she wanted her life to go on at all, regardless of whether it was full of luck and prosperity.  Things had just gotten to be too much - too much work, too much hassle, too much heartbreak.  One setback she could handle, or maybe even two.  But losing her job, and her marriage, and her father all in one year?  There wasn't much left to look forward to in the new year.
     All around her, she could practically hear her neighbors hastily scribbling their resolutions.  Lose weight.  Work less.  Take up a hobby.  Cook more and eat out less.  Nicely defined goals for the new year, with results that could be measured and graphed and analyzed, if they wanted.  Of course, most of her neighbors would have abandoned their goals by February and gone back to business as usual, but that was beside the point.
     What was she supposed to resolve, when so many of her heartbreaks were so big and completely outside of her control?  "I resolve that this year will suck less than last year" wasn't even necessarily attainable, given the way things had been going recently.  She had gone to her oncologist a few weeks ago for a routine check-up, and the look on his face when he reviewed her scans made her heart stop.  Nothing was certain, and it wouldn't be until she had the in-depth tests done in a few weeks, but she knew what they'd show.  It was back - maybe in its old stomping ground, maybe in a satellite colony somewhere new and exciting, but the cancer was back.  That was a great way to start of the new year, with a diagnosis of recurrence after all those months of being cancer-free.
     "Fuck this," she said out loud, throwing the toilet scrubber down in disgust.  End as you mean to go on, indeed.  She poured herself a drink, turned on the television, and called up her favorite episode of Dirty Jobs.  If Death was going to make a play for her this year, she wasn't going to waste her time cleaning.  It could just pick its way around the piles of mail and laundry if it wanted to get to her.  She had more important things to do.

1 comment:

Jennifer Thorson said...

Very nice.