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Unseeing #fridayflash #fiction #flashfiction



Thank you for stopping in to read my #fridayflash. I’m posting a little early this week since we have a lot going on this weekend. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community for more great flash fiction by outstanding authors! Unseeing is rated R by my standards.

Unseeing, by Roslyn Fain

He’d done it again. She knew he had, yet she could say nothing because, if she did, he’d know she knew. And he couldn’t know, it was too soon. He couldn’t know! But the rage that twisted its way from her gut to her head, where it spread in a tingling fit, could not be contained ….

“What are you doing?” she said, speed-walking from the bathroom to the bed where he lay propped against the headboard, his laptop barely sitting on his raised knees.

He glanced up at her, his face blanching, and furiously click-click-clicked the touchpad, but the computer wasn’t fast enough and so he sat up and closed the lid. She stood looking down at his hands, which gripped both sides of the laptop so tight his knuckles were white.

A drop of water dripped from her soaked head and splashed his bare knee. He looked her up and down then and raised his eyebrows as if to remind her why they were here, in this hotel thousands of miles from home, (thus thousands of miles from their problems) – to rekindle what was once burning with fever but now hadn’t even the faintest glow.

He reached up towards her breasts where she held the towel closed and she stood still, resigned to giving him what he wanted, or what it appeared he wanted, despite the anger pounding through her body. But when he emitted a low, throaty growl the bile rose up to her throat and threatened to spill. Just as he got hold of the towel she stepped backwards, away from him, the towel falling to the floor, and she clutched her stomach. She felt her lips curl up in disgust but she seemed to have no control over them. She continued to back slowly away.

“Where do you think you’re going, Kayla?” He wasn’t unkind, but neither was he teasing.

She stopped and stood naked and shaking before him. He didn’t move to pull her down to the bed. They stared straight through each other, trying to see what lay beyond.

It was a full minute before the contest was broken by the chirping of his phone, a ring tone she didn’t recall him using before. They both looked at it setting on the nightstand and looked back to each other. He picked the phone up and looked at the screen and jumped off the bed as if stung by a wasp. He walked around her, far around so that he didn’t touch her naked and dripping body, and opened the door to the hallway.

“Glen!” she said, irritated with herself for saying anything at all.

He stopped on the threshold and looked at his phone again. It had stopped ringing and now started again. “I’ve got to take this,” he said, and he walked out the door, not seeing his wife crumple to the floor, not seeing her pull the comforter off the bed and wrapping her shivering body in it, not seeing the tears slide down her pale face, not seeing her cover her head with the blanket. Not seeing her.


Unseeing is the story I see when I hear one of Bruce Springsteen‘s all-time greats, Trapped.

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  1. i got the sense that they weren’t that old even though this is commonly how relationships of a certain length end up with a complete disconnect from one another. I’m sort of exploring a similar theme in my next novel which came to me over the weekend after attending the funeral of my sister-in-law and the relayed memories of the married life of her & her husband.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your sister-in-law Marc. I hope working on the story will help to “place” those memories. It’s amazing how much of that comes rushing in when we lose someone, and it’s always comforting to know we have someone we can share them with.

      I believe you’re right about Glen and Kayla – they’re at a time in their life together when they’re well past the honeymoon, so to speak, and hurting because of it and not sure whether to blame themselves or each other, or both, and it’ll be quite a while before they realize there was no fault to begin with. At least that’s how I feel them. Sad, yes, but such an important part of many people’s lives, if for no other reason than to make it to the next phase.

  2. Steve Green says:

    Not good news for either of them here really, although it seems to me that Kayla is doing the biggest share of the hurting. This is the sort of situation that hardly anyone sees themselves in as they take their wedding vows.
    A bit of a heart breaker from you this week Roslyn. Nicely penned, and utterly believable.

    • Yea, this is one of those that I was tempted to list a “warning” for (not all stories end on a happy note) but I held back because I believe in surprising my readers….that said, considering some of my earlier work that specifically addresses relationships, maybe the sad ending isn’t so much of a surprise. Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it, thanks Steve!

  3. Oh this was sad in so many ways Deanna – how couples start out together and end up apart even when they still live with one another. Nice slice of life written in a very believable way. ^_^

  4. A.M. Harte says:

    That last line was a killer.

    • Thanks A.M.! Writing the ending, or the whole story for that matter, was a bit surprising to me. I didn’t know exactly where it was going but then I realized there was nowhere else for it to go, at least in this particular scene.

  5. This was a really great depiction of a really awful situation. Seems to me only one side is actually interested in doing the work to make things right — the other has already left and has energy going elsewhere.

    • That’s a wonderful compliment Katherine, considering that’s what I felt while transcribing. It’s always great to hear when my readers feel the same connection, (when reading), that I felt (when writing), thank you!

  6. richardbon says:

    She seems conflicted. Seems like he getss whatever he wants in spite of how she feels.

    • Wow Richard, you seem to have pierced their relationship with a laser eye and hit the nail on the head! Or at least that’s an aspect of their relationship that I felt too. Thanks!

  7. Stephen Book says:

    She’s really trying her hardest to make it work, even to the point of pushing back all her emotions, but he’s the same old, same old. I feel for her. To be in a relationship where you are nothing more valuable than a piece of furniture has to be one of the more difficult aspects of our human existence. So it begs the question: why do so many stay? Like this one, it must be some internal need to make it work. How sad.

    • I agree with you Stephen, it seems that, no matter how much of a chance there is that they’d both be miserable, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep them together just for the sake of not admitting the relationship is doomed, like she has a hard time admitting failure. I love the stories that make us think about the psychological depths of relationships. Thanks so much for your comments!

  8. The image that comes to mind in this is more a lover’s tryst. He is married and cheating on his wife. The tight grip on the laptop so she can’t see an email to his wife. The phone call from home that he steps away to take so his wife will not be suspicious. And his lover, feelings for him that she shouldn’t have, because it was all good fun in the beginning.

    • Interesting interpretation Jon, and I can see it working this way too, (if she were his lover instead of his wife). In fact, had I not used the word “wife” in the last paragraph, Kayla being his lover instead seems to me even more likely. What’s so interesting about the concept is that the two – his lover and his wife – seem to be interchangeable. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, and making me think even deeper.

  9. Thousands of miles away from home and thousands of miles away from each other. Such a strong deserted feeling about this piece. Great work.

    • Roslyn Fain says:

      Yes, it’s so sad how many couples who’ve lost touch with each other think going away together will fix it, but at least some do try. Thanks so much for your kind words Cindy!

  10. Miss Alister says:

    First I have to say I was sucked in immediately so the rest was easy, a reader’s dream. Immediately I thought AFFAIR! Along the lines of what Jon wrote, I got that Glen snapped his laptop shut so that his wife Kayla couldn’t see a chat or email to “the other woman,” and one with some serious nerve to phone him! Their speech and body language seemed to me to reek of old and, sadly, set patterns; especially Kayla who’s trapped in a wilting violet way of being. Definitely time to “walk out of here again”!

    • Roslyn Fain says:

      Wow, thank you for that wonderful comment Miss A.! And I love that you interpreted the story just as I saw it, (which, of course, is an even bigger compliment).

  11. I figured he was watching porn or looking at something inappropriate online because it was the only way he could get himself ‘in the mood’…in which case, why attempt to rekindle anything?

I love hearing from my readers so please do open your mind, open your heart and open your mouth!

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