A Short Story-

In a Face
Short Story- Nonfiction
Written by -M. Taggart

In a Face

 

You can see intelligence in a face.

In college I was told by one of my English professors to not bother writing a book.
Actually, he told me that I wouldn’t. And to not bother.

I asked him why. He said, “It takes a lot of work to write a book. And so many students say they will, but they don’t. Or, a book is started and not finished.”

He was bald. He was having a hard time pushing his material into his carry bag. Which,
For some reason was already slung over his shoulder.

I’m bald. I was going bald while in college. I don’t care who’s bald.
He was bald.

So there he was, this man-thing, telling me to not bother writing a book.

I don’t want to be a writer
I am a writer.

But, he didn’t know this, he wouldn’t understand even if he did.
My professor had just told me his struggles to write a book were my own.

Another thing he didn’t know was that I had already written. A lot. And I wasn’t an English major. I took English classes because they were my young-adult recess.

When I read Kafka’s Metamorphosis we dissected it with a professor’s assistant.
She was Russian and spoke broken English. Our class of over 400 was broken down into small segments. My group was roughly 15.

We met with her every Tuesday at 4pm.
She would constantly ask for my interpretation of Kafka’s work.
I wondered if she asked for my opinion so often because I wasn’t afraid to speak in front of others. But, that was a lie. I knew why she asked. I just didn’t allow myself to accept it, not just yet. Isn’t it funny how we do this to ourselves.

She was driven by literature. She listened, and thought about her responses
before delivering. She would ask us what authors we enjoyed. Then she’d write the names of the authors in her notebook.

She was beautiful. Her mind. Her broken English.
Her struggle to express.
She seldom made facial expressions. Her eyes danced while listening.

You can see intelligence in a face.

His Mother Was Out – A Random Short Story

His Mother Was Out –  A Short Story written and solely owned by M. Taggart.  Fiction.

Soap suds splashed onto his forearm as he scrubbed. Some reached his mouth and he could taste his dinner.  In his mind he heard his mother say, ‘Not so hard.’  He scrubbed harder, with suds now reaching his forehead.

“A man will always help.” His mother said to him often.

His mother wasn’t home.  She’d gone out.

“A man will always provide.”  She’d told him.

His mother didn’t make dinner, he did. He cleaned the table, counter, and vacuumed the hallway.  He washed his mother’s clothes this morning because she’d slept in again. And now he was cleaning the glass casserole dish.

Foam was torn from the water and cast above his head.  He looked blankly at the door, should he lock it?  Most nights she didn’t come home until three and often not at all. The noise of nothing was all around him, awakening him slightly, while alone in their small apartment.

“A man will take care of her.  A real man would.  Be a real man.”  His mother had repeatedly said to him.

He felt he could eat his way through the dish without care. Picking up the dish, he looked at it in disbelief.  There’s nothing here, he thought.  He felt it rising, starting from his stomach, up through his heart, anger came.

The noise from the shattering comforted him. He saw shards of glass, from within his ankles and feet, trying to look back at him in awe. He watched as the blood ran from him, then through his toes, and onto the floor. Rocking back and forth on his heels, he enjoyed the warm swimming fluid.  It was here. It was now.

His mother was out.

How Many Times

It doesn’t mater how much I’ve drank I can still say it better than you.  The mouths I see.  The mouths I hear.   I was once in  a cement block.  I bellowed out that I needed help.  I heard him hear me.   He said I was close.  And then.  And then.  I heard him ask for me, but then.  – M. Taggart.

The Way It Is – A Short Story. Cheers.

Written by M. Taggart 8/3/14

Fiction:  This short story is much about the confusion that comes along with any relationship.

Copyright 2014 by Matt Taggart, aka -M. Taggart

 

 The Way It Is

 

He could feel her staring at him.  He rubbed his temples with his thumb and forefinger.  Unsure of what she expected from him, he lowered his head further.

“We can’t expect this to continue if you aren’t willing to handle it.” She said.

“I’ve handled it.  I handled it years ago,” he replied.

“I don’t know that I’d agree you’ve handled it.”  She said.

“I have.  In my opinion, it’s you making this an issue, all over again and I’m not going backward.”  He noticed the wood floor seemed to be bowing into him.

They were sitting at a pub.  The pub was in town and was nearly empty.  It had a fireplace and hard wood floors.  On both sides of the fireplace were windows and the water was after that.

She sat, looking from him, then to the water.  The fire was nice, but it wasn’t giving away secrets today.  The water looked cold, she felt cold.

It was pulling him inward, again, as always when this was the topic of concern.  Then, he thought, what about tomorrow at this time?  Will there be a different topic of concern?  One that fits the moment, or one that fits the convenience of an angle?  Pulling him further in, it was.

“You’re doing it again.  You do this every time.  Shutting down isn’t going to help you.  It’s not going to help you grow and it’s not going to help us.”  She said with an edge of frustration.

He wondered how she could know whether, or not, it would stop him from personal growth when he’d already grown from this and had already gotten passed it.  He felt it was her who was stuck and couldn’t get past it.  It was her who was beating on him, for something that had already beaten him down.  She was stuck and now taking it out on him.  And the floor looked even larger and softer than a few moments ago.

“I think it’ll be fine.  We’ll be fine.  If we both want this to be fine.  What was, is not, what is.  We’ll be fine if we both want this to be fine and we’ll be done if we both want this to be done.  Or, if you want to be done.  I don’t want to be done.  There’s three scenarios there, for you, to ponder.  I think we’re fine.”

“Look at us, how are we fine?  I can’t trust you and you have such anger inside that you don’t see it.  You destroy everything around you, in time.  And you’ll destroy us.”  She said.

“That’s helpful.  Thanks.”  The floor no longer looked as interesting as it did.  Looking up he saw nothing but her face.  How beautiful she was.  How upset.  How angry.  He saw her eyes, strong, and pushing.  She was rather pushy, he thought.

“What are you smiling about?  This isn’t funny.” She said, annoyed.

“You’re pushy.”  He said with smiling eyes.

She shifted in her seat, breathed deeply and rolled her eyes.  The smack of her hands landing on the pub table was louder than expected.  The bartender pretended not to notice.

“Don’t make me angry.” She said.

“Oh please.  Go ahead, get angry.  That won’t help us to grow.”  Again he smiled with his eyes.  He noticed his glass of beer was nearing empty, though just a moment ago it was half full.  The side of the beer glass had small clusters of foam slowly moving toward the bottom of the glass and he wanted to see how long it might take for them to collect; together again.

“Stop it.”  She said.

“Stop what?  You weren’t exactly the easiest to be around today, and now you’re pushing me and want something I can’t give you.  Now, that it’s not going your way, you’re telling me to not make you angry.  Am I missing something?  Should I not have an opinion?”

“You’re twisting this all around.  I only wanted to talk about how to get us past this, and you won’t do it.”

“It’s not that I won’t do it, it’s that I’ve already done it.  Long ago, without you.  You’re playing catch up and I’m doing the best I can.  What do you want me to do?”

“I want you to get help.  See someone.”

“That’s not going to happen.”

“Why not?”

“I did.  It didn’t go well.  I’ve found that true professionals, don’t exist.  Individuals exist.”

She felt her frustration, anger, and disappointment rise and wanted to be away from him.  She thought, if he wasn’t to get help, they’ll never get past any trust issue.

The bar tender watched the couple as they talked.  She was loud enough to hear, he wasn’t.  He noticed that the man was almost overly aware of other people watching and knew how to shield his words from being overheard.  The women was beautiful.  She was quick with her movement and spoke in a determined way.   He thought they seemed O.K.  But not a great fit.

“Are we going to have another round?” He ask while she flared her eyes angrily. “The bartender’s coming.”  She didn’t answer.

The bartender was handsome.  He strode toward them with a steady, calming walk.  Already smiling as he made his approach, his attention was on her.

“Would you like another round?”  The bartender asked, noticing the women’s low cut shirt and viewing.  Looking up he saw the man awaiting him.  He saw.

“Yea, we’ll have another round.”  She answered smiling brightly at the bartender.  A smile that hadn’t been shared with anyone, like that, until now.

With a straight face he didn’t take his eyes from the bartender until the bartender looked away.  He wanted him to know, and he did.  But, he wondered, did she?  Did she know?  Does she care?  Is it what she wants?  And what happens, when one day, it goes too far and I say something, or worse, do something.  Then will it be me that’s solely out of control, or will it be a shared responsibility?

“What are you doing?” She asked, now looking at him, but with not the bright smile she offered the bartender.

“Thinking.”

“About what?” She asked, again with the pushing eyes.

“About life, about how things fit, about how people fit.  About future happenings and will you remember.”

“Remember what?”

“Remember all that’s happened to lead to the moment that is.”

“You’re doing it again, Stephen, honestly, what are you talking about?”

No longer sitting within himself, feeling alone, but with intent in the here and now he looked at her and replied “It doesn’t matter.  I don’t always make sense to myself.  So put that aside.  I do know this.  At the end of each day I ask myself, do I want to be with her.  Yes.  Every day the same answer and every morning the same answer and every mid-day the same answer.  I know I have issues, but I always know what I want.  I want you.”

She breathed in quickly.

“Please don’t cry, hon.  You cry in public too often.”  He said smiling, but this time with care.

“It’s better than me walking out.  Or you walking home.  Which also happens.”   She reached her hand to his, covering his.

He moved his hand to cover hers and gripped firmly.

The bartender noticed from a distance and thought it didn’t matter.  They were getting along well now, but there would be a chance later.

****

Note: If you enjoyed this story, you might also like my self published story, Don’t Be A Sally- Based on True Events- Which you can find on amazon and in your iBook store.

I’m currently editing ‘Colby and the Ravine’ and I find that writing short stories helps to keep my momentum going.  I’ll post these stories though out the editing process. Feedback is welcome.