Surprise – A Short Story

Another short exercise; no edits yet on this. Enjoy!

The text was short: “Surprise waiting for you at the house.” Not unusual- with the strange hours of a young artist who has not yet subjugated his muse and a natural hatred of deceptions, such had long been my wife’s way with me. Tell me of the surprise, to heighten the anticipation of an event of which my active mind could only wonder and imagine; invite me in and join with me in a sense of adventure. I was touched. The latest round of trips and galas and planes and alcohol-tinged deals and lawyers and promises and business cards and a pack of cigars I was unsure what to do with… I had not been home in over a month. She was busy too, and knew of the importance and cost of opportunity, though I never argued for the payout.

I looked around; the desk had papers and the computer emails; two unlistened to voicemails on the phone. I was not even making art, and it was passing eight. My jacket appeared in my hands, the light vanished, and my car spun it’s wheels on the highway. I unlocked the front door of an empty house and stood, a cold fear gripping my heart. I’d hid it, my terror; I don’t like surprises. The house was empty, the clocks ticking on the wall, the bed made up and the table bare. The coats hanging on the hooks were not disorderly and the studio was quiet.
“Surprise,” I whispered hoarsely in the dark hall, “but it isn’t. Not really.” I heard the voice echo off the bare walls, her voice weary and her eyes looking past me, off to the side.
I wept like a child. My toy had broken and the tragedy was too permanent for my mind to grasp. I wept like a child.

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