(Exercise, Short story by Eygló Daða, 1300 words. All comments and criticism welcomed.)
When Mr. Average’s wife died at the age of thirty-nine Mr. Average fell into a deep depression. He had been a quiet, orderly guy his entire life. He always wore blue suits to work. He always ironed his own shirts. He never walked over a street when the light was red and he always kept money in his wallet in case of emergency. He had loved his wife well and hardly ever even looked at another woman since the day they took their vows.
Then his wife, former Miss Amazing, died. He found Mrs. Average on the living room floor in their villa in the suburbs. She was wearing a white dress with green leaved pattern and her tongue was hanging out of her mouth. Her face was mildly green and her thin, perfect body was bloated beyond recognition. He didn’t hear the police men and paramedics claim that they had never seen anything like it. He only saw Mrs. Average being taken away by the coroner and not in an ambulance.
The house changed immediately. While his wife was alive it had always been free of dust and the rubbish seemed to stayed away as if by magic but suddenly every corner, ever inch of the house was layered with dust and litter. The house that had always been light, colorful and full of life, now became gray, dirty and dark in a matter of moments. The furniture were darker, the drapes hung heavily before the windows blocking out the sunlight and the decoration didn’t look modern anymore but Gothic and old. The shadows were long and everything smelled of decay and mildew.
Mr. Average handled the questions the police officers had to ask with quiet resolution. He looked at his environment change around him. He saw quiet transformation in the faces of the men in uniforms. Pity and compassion became disdain and suspicion. When they were gone he sighed a breath of relief and out of his mouth spewed fumes of sadness and rage. It was a thick, gray cloud that settled like a persistent fog over everything around him.
He still saw his wife wandering around the house wearing her white dress with the green leaved pattern which almost seemed color co-ordinated with her green complexion. He saw her tongue lulling out of her mouth in hideous manner as she stumbled into room after room as if she was looking for a way out of her miserable none existence. He tried his best to ignore her. He told himself that this version of his wife was not welcome in his life but he knew not of a way to get rid of her, to steer her out of his life and existence.
So he decided to pretend nothing ever happened, no matter how impossible the task seemed.
His colleges saw the change in him. They saw the storm cloud constantly floating above his head, showering him with bile and acid rain. And they saw the lines underneath his eyes deepen and darken. When he was approached with gentleness and kind words he hissed and the color of his eyes changed from true blue to volcanic red. They started to avoid him, approaching him only when the work required it with absolute necessity.
Mr. Average didn’t mind. He felt he was no longer living in the world he had been born in, instead he had been sucked into the gray, un-dead world of his wife where there were no antithesis’. There was no color, no happiness, no life and no hope.
The years went by and people forgot about Mr. Average fun loving, wonderful, sunny wife in a bright dress and with a kind smile. They forgot that he had ever been anything but Mr. Sour-Grapes. The children teased him in the street, cast rotten apples at his windows and told stories about his house being haunted by a ghastly green woman with her tongue lulling out of her mouth. His dark hair became gray and then white, his body looked like a skeleton and his fingernails were yellow, his eyes dark seeing little but the fog around him and the green face of Mrs. Average, former Miss Amazing.
Then one day a sound broke the dead silence of his house. It was a Sunday afternoon and in his world the clouds were raging havoc, the smell of death and decay was suffocating and the grayness of everything around him was even more miserable than it had been the day before. The sound that clung had become unfamiliar to him but he recognized it after a while as the tune from the doorbell. Mrs. Average had had a bell installed with a tune which sounded out of place and fundamentally out of character for the place he lived in now. None the less he stumbled out of the chair in the corner of the living room where he had been admiring the green corpse of his dead wife as she tried to swallow her tongue in the middle of the floor at the same time that she cackled at him like a hyena.
When he opened the door he noticed a breath of fresh air escape inside the house. In front of him stood a little girl wearing pig tails and a pink dress. She bore a box full of cookies and a pink backpack which seemed too big for such a small child.
“Hello Mr” said the child, “will you buy sunshine cookies? It’s for our school trip” she stumbled on her words, her face became bright red and a giggling smile escaped her lips.
Mr. Average looked at the child ready to spill some of his bile over the child but instead he hiccuped and coughed. Then he looked again at her red cheeks and her smiling face.
“I guess I will” he told the child and fetched his wallet. Inside he took out a few bills which he handed the child “This should do it?” he told the girl who happily handed him two boxes of cookies from the bigger box she was carrying.
“Thank you Mr. Average” the child said in a bright voice. “You should eat them all right away, they will make you feel like dancing”. Then she spun around and ran into the street with the pigtails following after her like two faithful puppies.
Mr. Average didn’t notice the breath of fresh air swirling around his house. He sat down in his chair and started to munch on the cookies. Noticing only after several mouthfuls that the face of Mrs. Average was fading slowly before him, it’s color changed slowly from green to white and her demeanor changed. She stopped lulling with her tongue and started to brush the dust of her dress.
“Well Mr. Average” he heard her say, “I guess it’s time for me to be gone” she said. “Will you be alright without me?”
Mr. Average looked at her with sorrowful eyes, a big blue tear escaped and fell down onto the carpet. The tear tainted the carpets color, the infection spread out painting the gray blue. He didn’t notice but saw only his wife who almost looked the way she had once upon a time oh so long ago.
“I don’t know” he said faithfully and truthfully.
Former Miss Amazing walked over to her living husband and touched his cheek with her silky white hands. “You will be fine” she said and smiled. The smile cleared the air and painted the walls white.
“You will be fine” she said again and then she turned around and walked out of the house, leaving him all alone with the breath of fresh air which cleared the remaining grayness away and swept some color back into Mr. Average’s life.