Fiction: “Rising Action”



Floor One
Brian expected she would be in bed when he got home. Lying beneath their Egyptian cotton sheets, her body curled in a fetal position, her eyes open. She’d been having a rough day when he left that morning, but most days had been rough recently. He hated leaving her distressed. He hated knowing that, when he returned nine hours later, she wouldn’t have moved much at all. She wouldn’t have gotten dressed or brushed her hair or eaten. There’d be an almost full cup of oily black coffee sitting on the nightstand. Even the Chinese food Brian was holding wouldn’t pique his wife’s interest. She would refuse the crispy coconut chicken. The same chicken she once swore was the single greatest thing she had ever tasted. The scents of pan-fried dumplings and lo mein hovered in the 6 by 6 elevator. One of the lights was flickering. Brian leaned against the wall with his eyes closed and inhaled.

Photo by Sterling “Rip” Smith

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