Don’t Stop

It was late.

I cracked the window and a whip of Southern California’s hot summer air slashed across my face. I turned into it, welcoming the warmth after a steady blast of air conditioning had frozen my nose for the past handful of miles. I had been still to that point, not wanting to disrupt the cold flow coming out of the vents between us. The icy barrier gave me a sense of protection that I wished to preserve.

He was angry after dinner. He had been irritable all day, but throughout our meal, he was sullen and then sharply critical as the waiter dropped off the check.

“It’s about time,” he’d said under his breath, and I swallowed hard, accepting the disappointment that preceded a wave of fear. I knew what would come next. His utterance was the pivotal moment, the signal that his rage was ready to make its appearance. I saw the shift in color from across the table, a red glow around him deepening to almost black.

I shouldn’t have gotten into the car with him. I should have looked across the table and told him I wasn’t going home, that this wasn’t happening again. I shouldn’t have stood up from the booth and followed him out the door, trembling and senseless, doing what I’d always done.

These thoughts flashed like neon signs in my mind as the cinderblock wall, illuminated by the headlights of the truck, came closer and closer at an increasingly rapid pace.

To be perfectly honest, I knew this was coming.

Categories: Writing Warm-ups

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