I wrote the following short story several months ago but only rediscovere and edited it today. It’s almost entirely based on a dream I had, with some logistical hole filling. I sometimes dream about getting mad at James (my amazing boyfriend). I think it’s because I don’t get mad at him very much in real life.
The story might be extremely offensive to some people, but know that it’s a product of random brain cells colliding into each other, not my actual opinions of things in real life.
The story has no ending because it ended when I woke up, and I haven’t thought of a satisfactory ending yet. I’ll just leave it like this for now.
This morning James told me he was going to an “apology party” for some girl at his high school. Her name was Madeleine Algory. As a sophomore, she was persecuted for getting pregnant and trying to keep the baby. Apparently, the PTA almost literally crucified her. Jesus Christ. James explained that this was back in the day when everyone in Southern California was a bigot. Nowadays only an annoyingly slight majority of them are bigots.
So, it’s the 10-year “anniversary” of the almost-crucifiction (again, Jesus!), and they were holding an apology party (I’ve never even heard of such a thing). Only alumni who were in school at the time were allowed, no guests. A very exclusive party. Typical So-Cal.
Before we left for work this morning, James asked me if I’d be willing to give one of my rings to this girl.
He said, “I feel like I should get her something, but I don’t have time to pick something up after work.”
“A ring would be a nice, small gesture,” he said.
Small? Maybe in size, but not definitely not in gesture. Jesus, James.
“Are you kidding me?” I said, “Look at my jewelry, James. It’s not like I have a lot. And do I wear them? No. Why? Because they’re all keepsakes. Okay, maybe I’d be willing to give away this skull and crossbones ring. I don’t even know where it came from, and it makes my skin turn blue. But I don’t think it would be appropriate, do you?”
“You’re not willing to give up any of these? I mean this one’s completely fake looking.” He held up a ring with a gold-colored band and a red heart.
I‘d had that ring since elementary school. It came in one of those capsules that popped out of a little gumball machine. That was back when those capsules were only one quarter instead of two.
“Here’s an idea,” I said, “Why don’t you buy her a ring on your way to work, and I’ll walk to work myself.
I stormed out of there. Ugh.
I had a great day at work and came home much earlier than planned. I wasn’t looking forward to having the apartment to myself until James got back from his party, but it turned out I needn’t have worried. I opened the door to my apartment to find James making out with some blonde.
Oh yeah, it was awkward.
“Um, Sonica, this is Madeleine Algory.”
Oh my fucking god, it was that girl. Wow. Just wow. That would explain the ring. I felt like such an idiot. But since when did James have the integrity of a Wall Street suit? The lies, the cheating, the shamelessness. I never would have believed he would do this. Ever.
As she was leaving, I looked around the room to figure out how to divvy up our stuff.
“The couch was about $900 plus tax,” I said. “We split it on two credit cards when we paid for it. So you can pay me $400 for it. I’m taking those shelves and the ones upstairs.”
Yeah, that’s right. That was the first thing I said to him. I’m still proud of that. Way to keep a level head at a time when other girls would have broken down and said things they regretted.
But I wasn’t level-headed enough.
I went upstairs to throw some clothes in my suitcase. My plan was to pack enough for a few days, take refuge in a nap pod at Google that evening, and find temporary housing on craigslist. As I lugged my biggest suitcase into my bedroom, my eyes fell on the jewelry stand. I paused for a second. Then I walked over. Skull and crossbones, check. Ring with small fake diamonds along the band, check. Platinum diamond ring that my dad gave me… Oh god, it wasn’t there. Did he really? Could he have, really really?
He walked upstairs.
“Did you take my diamond ring?”
“Yes,” he said to the carpet.
“Oh my god, James. My dad gave that to me. It’s platinum and real diamond. What the fuck were you thinking? Go and get it back right now, or I’m calling the cops.”
“Calm down, Sonica, there’s no need to call –”
He did not just tell me to calm down. I grabbed my phone. “You still haven’t left yet. I’m calling the cops right now.”
“Okay! I’m going!” He backed out and made sure I was putting my phone away, then ran out of the apartment. Fucking asshole.
I ripped hangers off the rack by the handfuls and dumped the clothes in the suitcase, hangers and all. I never understood why, in movies, people packed things with hangers still on them. It was so space-inefficient. But now I understood completely. It was time-efficient. When you just want to get the hell out of there, and you were coming back for the rest of your stuff later anyway, you didn’t bother taking the hangers off.